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Friday, December 15, 2017

Willett Week One: 11 year old bourbon, barrel 268

And here's the last of the three Willett Family Estate Single Barrel bourbons that we tried last weekend. The first bourbon (a 7yo for TPS) was fine, short on character but otherwise decent. The second (an 11yo for Wine & Cheese Place) was almost great. They were certainly different than each other. And this third bourbon follows suit, playing its own tune.

BottlerKentucky Bourbon Distillers (also known as Willett Distilling Company)
Brand: Willett
Range: Family Estate Single Barrel (WFE)
Type: Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age11 years
MaturationNew American Oak
RegionBardstown, Kentucky (Distilled in/by ???)
Barrel: 268
Exclusive to: whomever bought a bottle
Alcohol by Volume62.6%
(Thanks to Florin for the sample, again.)

Okay... So, it's 62.6%abv. Kristen says it's "light". I say it's "kinda dead". It needs more than 20 minutes to arise. Before the nose opens, is just faint apples and honey. But then comes the orange peel, pumpkin pie spices and lots of vanilla bean. There is zero burn. Though the palate does open up with time, all I find are vague things. It's tangy, briny, peppery and a little savory. Some brown sugar. Picks up some verve with time, getting tarter and louder. The finish is mostly brine and lemon pepper. Tannic. Plenty of barrel char.

While none of these three bourbons were crap, this bourbon was the least good. If you're an impatient drinker, you may find yourself bored with the whiskey. But if you give it some time, at least the nose grows nicely. The palate is fine, no better, no worse. It's in this bourbon's finish where the oak factor overwhelms, for the lone time among the three whiskies.

Of the three bourbons, this one had the most rye character to it, but was probably still from a low-rye mashbill. Not that high-rye is must for me, but having more of that particular grain in play may have helped the first and third bourbons. The second bourbon, the 11yo for Wine and Cheese Place, would have been smashing if not for the questionable finish. Are any of these worth hundreds of dollars? No. But that's one man's opinion.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - Big bucks
Rating - 79