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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Willett Week One: 11 year old bourbon, barrel 2364 for Wine and Cheese Place

Since I spent two paragraphs musing on the secondary market prices of the Willett Family Estate single barrel bourbons on Monday, I shan't waste any words on it today. Instead, here are my notes on the second of the three WFE bourbons that my wife and I sampled this past weekend.

BottlerKentucky Bourbon Distillers (also known as Willett Distilling Company)
Brand: Willett
Range: Family Estate Single Barrel (WFE)
Type: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: 11 years
MaturationNew American Oak
RegionBardstown, Kentucky (Distilled in/by ???)
Barrel: 2364
Exclusive to: Wine and Cheese Place
Alcohol by Volume58.55%
(Thanks to Florin for the sample!)

The nose is plum gorgeous. It mixes tropical fruit and flower notes, with raspberry jam and wood smoke. After 20+ minutes comes the vanilla and toffee. This sets up an expectation of a rich dessert whiskey on the palate. But that doesn't turn out to be the case. While there are some sweet tropical and salted caramel notes, it has some nuts, wood smoke and sharp limey citrus (Kristen went with lemon). It's also the hottest of the three bourbons. The finish is a little odd, with a fizzy, salty, tart burn to it. There's some smoke and mint too.

It smells fabulous and the palate has more complexity than the 7yo I reviewed on Monday. The only thing that keeps me from raving about this is the strange sensation left behind by the finish. Kristen experienced this same thing and found it to be a bit hot overall. Still, it's the most enjoyable of this week's three bourbons and dishes out less oaky violence than other bourbons its age.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - Big bucks
Rating - 85 (lost a few points on the finish)