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Willett Pot Still Reserve

Posted on by Eric Burke

I'm still periodically working my way through the line-up of Willett bourbons. This time it is the one with their name right on the very distinctive bottle. Willett Pot Still Reserve. 

You've seen it. It's the one that looks like the squat pot still with a long straight neck. It is a very distinctive bottle. And one that drew my eye as a bourbon novice. I first had this in the Old Talbot Tavern in Bardstown, Kentucky. It was my first time in Kentucky, and I was enjoying my first bourbon flight. As it was a build-your-own flight, I was excited to choose the one in the fancy bottle. 

Aaaand...I didn't like it. 

Or at least I didn't like it as much as I expected to. And like so many of the non-Family Estate line, I gave up on it. I liked it enough to give it as a gift to those people who would be impressed by an ok bourbon in a pretty bottle, but I didn't buy any more for myself. And that kinda drove my wife crazy since she wanted to try it.

When I decided to explore the Willett line, I decided early on that I was going to wait on this one. I really didn't want to plunk down the cash for a pretty bottle when I could be giving their other brands a chance instead. 

But, here's the thing...this is not a bad whiskey. I initially made a judgment on it early on in my bourbon journey. A night that featured it tried as part of a heavily poured five bourbon flight. Not fair at all. 

So let's see how it stands up on its own in an appropriate setting. 

Willett Pot Still Reserve

Purchase info: $37.99 for a 750 mL bottle at Viking Liquor Barrel, Prior Lake, MN

Details: 47% ABV. Batch 16C13.

Nose: Nutty and minty with brown sugar and a note that reminds me of a sweetened fruit-flavored breakfast cereal, think Trix or Fruit Loops.

Mouth: Mint, black pepper, brown sugar and malty cereal notes. 

Finish: Fairly short with malty cereal and black pepper. 

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Thoughts: Well, here it is. I like this bourbon. I really do. I'm happy to have a pour of it if my wife brings me a glass of it on her turn to grab us a drink. But, to be honest, I still don't consider this a good value. At almost $40 a bottle, I want something more than what this presents. There are a lot of other bottles at the price point that I would purchase first. So it ends up where it started with me. It's good enough that I will still buy it for people who are more impressed with an ok whiskey in a beautiful bottle than a fantastic whiskey in a plain one, but I will drop my money on a different bourbon for myself. 

This is recommended for people who enjoy bourbons with a more grain and cereal forward flavor profile. People who, I will admit, are normally not me.


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