It’s no surprise that I like to try new things. Like today, I tried both acupuncture and massage therapy for the first time. One of them seems to have worked to ease a pain in my neck. But in either case it was an interesting experience.
But we can’t just plow forward into the great unknown all the time. Sometimes we need to stop and take stock of where we’ve been. And since I’ve been exploring some of the Willett brands lately and I happen to have a bottle of both Willett Rye and Bourbon this seems like a nice time to look back at a couple bottles I haven’t evaluated in a while.
Willett Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel Bourbon
Purchase Info: $118 for a 750 mL at Willett Distillery, Bardstown, KY
Details: 12 years old. Barrel# 1270. 59.2% ABV
Nose: Toffee, cocoa and oak.
Mouth: Hot and spicy but sweet as well. Starts similar to the nose with nice sweet notes of cocoa and toffee playing with a spicy note that is similar to ginger on a solid foundation of oak.
Finish: Sweet and spicy. Numbs the mouth. Very long.
Willett Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel Rye
Purchase info: You know how when you are on vacation and having fun you don’t always think of keeping the paperwork? That happened this time. All I know is it was bought in September in Kentucky for some money.
Details: 7 years old. Barrel# 94. 57.8% ABV.
Nose: Mint, black pepper, oak and a slight fruitiness.
Mouth: Spicy, though not overly hot, with notes of mint, cloves and pickle juice.
Finish: Long and sweet. Numbs the mouth. Lingering warmth in the chest.
Thoughts: Both of these are great examples of why you want someone with a great palate choosing your single barrel whiskies. A 12 year old bourbon could easily be over-oaked. Not this one. It’s got a solid oak presence but is sweet and rich instead of woody and tannic. Same with the rye. A 7 year old MGP is often nothing special. This one however is rich and delicious.
It’s been a while since I evaluated a Willett Single Barrel instead of just enjoying them. My advice hasn’t changed though. Have a budget and stick to it. At the gift shop, have a budget and buy the oldest one inside of it. You won’t be disappointed at any level so don’t feel like you need to bust your budget to get the best. At a store, if you are lucky enough to have this in your local, have a budget and stick to it. If this is inside your budget, buy it. I’ve yet to find one of any age that wasn’t quite tasty.
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