Willett is one of my favorite distilleries. They have a pretty extensive line-up of whiskies which are all good-to-fantastic. Even though they are sourced, Willett’s medium-to-well-aged bourbons and ryes under the Family Estate label are some of the finest whiskies on the market. The Kulsveens are masters at picking distillate and aging it well.
While they mostly operate as a NDP (Non-Distiller Producer) they have begun to distill and age their own products. They have released a 2 year rye (which I reviewed here), they have a 3 year rye for sale at the distillery (which I have tried, have a bottle of, and will review soon), and they will soon be releasing a 4 year old bourbon (I will be headed to Kentucky when it becomes available).
The bottle we have before us today is a 10 year old single barrel bourbon from their Family Estate label. I picked this up during a visit to the distillery this past summer. You can check out more about my visit here and here. Now, let’s see what is inside this bottle of bourbon.
WILLETT FAMILY ESTATE 10 YEAR OLD SINGLE BARREL BOURBON
Distiller: Sourced (Unknown)
Owner: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. (KBD) or The Willett Distillery
Age: 10 Years Old
Mashbill: At Least 51% Corn
Light amber. This one is much lighter than most 10 year old bourbons I’ve had in the past. I’d guess cooler levels of the rickhouse on the interior. I don’t put a lot on color but this one had me a little worried.
Oak right at the forefront. Followed by loads of spices, some chocolate, and a tiny bit of caramel, vanilla, and cinnamon. A lot of alcohol heat played over-top of these notes. It took a bit of time to pull them out and while they were there they were all a bit thin. The bottle is about half empty and the nose is still a bit muddled and muted. A disappointing start.
Spice bomb! Pepper and cloves. These are followed by some dark fruits. It has quite a bit of burn but it is really pleasant and quite warming. I like it. All of the heat is in the mouth instead of the chest. Quite interesting. Pretty good balance of spice and fruit. I just wish it has some more dark sweets: toffee and caramel. Plus, it is still a little thin for the age.
Medium-long. Spice, dark fruits, and finally some dark sweets (mostly caramel). As it sat I also got some floral notes. This is my favorite part of this tipple.
The value is not great but not bad. Even though this particular bottle is a little thin and not completely balanced, I would pay $100 again for a different batch of Willett Family Estate Bourbon or Rye in this price range. Single barrels are always a gamble and while this hit was for a double the next could easily be a home run or grand slam.
This is good not great. I’ve enjoyed drinking it. Is it worth $100? Maybe to someone. Is it worth $100 in my case? No. Am I disappointed I bought it? No. I’ll be happy to slowly finish this bottle, enjoy what is there, and then move on the next bottle when it’s gone. Whiskey drinking is a journey. Cheers!
84/100 (A Solid Tipple)