NAS, rumored 7-10 years
Price $55 (2022)
History – Through a long family history in whiskey dating back to the mid 1800’s, distilling runs in the veins of the Willett family. Fast forward to 1936, Aloysius Lambert Thompson WIllett (founder and president of Willett Distillery), breaks ground on their family farm in Bardstown, KY. One year later, the Willetts put their first barrel of bourbon into storage which will later be known as Old Bardstown Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Over the years, WIllett Distillery will release many products including Johnny Drum Bourbon, Rowan’s Creek, Noah’s Mill, Kentucky Vintage, Pure Kentucky, Willett Family Estate Bourbon, Willett Family Estate Rye, Willett Pot Still Reserve, Willett Wheated Bourbon, and Willett Exploratory Cask Finished Whiskey.
Willett Pot Still Reserve is a small batch bourbon believed to be batched with no more than 12 barrels. Unfortunately, much of its information is proprietary including its mash bill.
Value – This bourbon is offered anywhere from $40-$60. I think it’s priced just fine in the $40 range if you can find it for that. You’re getting a pretty decent product with an awesome bottle. I would buy it again.
Appearance – This bottle is awesome. It really stands out on the shelf and is shaped exactly as the Pot Still it is distilled in. Each bottle is sealed with a quality wooden cork sealed with a paper labeling strip. This bottle has actually won awards for its “packaging design”. The bottle is filled with a gold colored bourbon.
Nose – Oak / Light Cherry / Medium Alcohol Fumes / Citrus / Vanilla. The nose on this is nice. It has a medium level of alcohol fumes followed by a strong oak and cherry note. There is also a clean and bright citrus note followed by some vanilla. It is very light, so any note outside of the oak is faint, except the citrus of course. It’s a well balanced nose. Keep smelling and thinking about the notes, you’ll find them all.
Palate – Light Body / Oak / Creamy / Medium Heat / Caramel / Cinnamon. On the initial sip, I noticed how creamy it was right away. However, despite the creaminess, I was a little disappointed by the thinness of the body. Normally when you have an oily/creamy feel, it’s full bodied. It delivers notes of sweet caramel, cinnamon and of course oak. There is also a faint lingering citrus at the end. This sip maintains a medium heat level. The creaminess is the real winner here. I recommend really paying attention to this. It will enhance your tasting experience.
Finish – Heavy Oak Tannins / Light Heat / Leather / Caramel / Dry. The finish is probably the least appealing part of this tasting. It’s very heavy on the oak tannins. This creates a long and lingering finish. You’ll notice a caramel and light spice note, but outside of this, it’s all oak tannin leaving a dry and leathery feel to your mouth. It does maintain a light heat level which is appreciated.
Summary – This bourbon gets a lot of negative talk on social media. I’m not sure why, unless people are taking a small sip and judging from that. To me, it gets better and better the more you drink it. It’s not the best bourbon out there, but for the price, it’s great. The heat level is just right and the oils are impressive. I find it very pleasant to drink, just not a big fan of the finish. But with that being said, a lot of bourbons have this same effect. Overall, I’m not disappointed at all, contrary to most opinions I’ve read online. I’ll buy this bottle again.
“This is a bourbon that will surprise you. It’s creamy and has an interesting combination of oak and caramel notes that keep getting better the more you drink it. Don’t listen to all the garbage people say about this online. Give it a chance and see for yourself. I enjoy it and will drink it again.“
– John McGowan
Uniqueness – 1-10 – 8
Appearance- 1-10 – 9
Nose- 1-20 – 11
Palate- 1-20 – 10
Finish- 1-20 – 8
Value- 1-20 – 11
John McGowan on 2/26/2023
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