Update: in 2015 Willett quietly transitioned
Willett Pot Still Reserve from Single
Barrel to Small Batch
The Willett Distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky is an assumed name adopted by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. (“KBD”) in 2005 (The Willett Distilling Company was originally incorporated in September 1936). Well-known for bottling many different brands, its most recognizable brand on the shelf is its namesake Post Still Reserve, due in part to its unique bottle.
Willett Pot Still Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Proof: 94 proof
Bottle No. 212 of 280 from Barrel No. 6477
Brown side of amber.
Not hot. Woody, toffee, citrus, caramel, and plum flavors, and not particularly complex. The caramel increased with air or a splash of water.
The flavors focused on the front of the tongue. There wasn’t any real heat at all, but there was certainly very nice warmth. Similarly, there was none of the common spicy pepper; and while it was very smooth, I wish that it showed me some bite.
Incredibly warm (not hot) and medium finish. Flavors of oak and caramel dominated.
I totally missed out on an epic tour and tasting last month because of work demands. So I knew that I had to try to make up for it with a bottle of Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel. After a series of tastings, I realized that I should have bought this a long time ago.
This is also the second straight $37.99 bourbon that I’ve reviewed (see Rare Breed Review). So I feel compelled to compare this to Wild Turkey Rare Breed, although they are really two different styles of bourbon. Rare Breed packs more heat and has complex rye flavors which are missing in the Willett Pot Still Reserve, and in some respects I really missed the rye and the heat. But the Willett was so drinkable, and the warm finish really won me over. I rate both this Willett and the Rare Breed at 3.5 out of 5, but if I had to choose between the two, I’d choose Willett.
This is a great buy that I recommend drinking neat, but go elsewhere if you really want “the burn.”
Score on The Sipp’n Corn Scale: 3.5
The Sipp’n Corn Scale:
1 – Wouldn’t even accept a free drink of it.
2 – Would gladly drink it if someone else was buying.
3 – Glad to include this in my bar.
4 – Excellent bourbon. Worth the price and I’m sure to always have it in my bar.
5 – Wow. I’ll search high and low to get another bottle of this.