The Willett Family Estate bourbons have become quite the cult-classic amongst whiskey drinkers. These expressions occupy a special place in the hearts of many and often sell for hundreds of dollars per bottle.
They are also a lot easier to find than you might think - even at the most popular bourbon stores! The company has been around a long time and is owned by the Kulsveen family.
Currently Willett has four bourbons in their portfolio: Old Bardstown, Pot Still Reserve, Single Barrel and Kentucky Rye Whiskey (as well as a couple of unbranded ones). I sampled the Kentucky Rye recently and am pleased to say that it lives up to expectations!
This bourbon is a good example of the small batch products that Willett are so fond of. Willett’s small batches usually involve only about 12 barrels. This makes them an interesting alternative to the larger distillers that can use more than 200 barrels in a single small batch release.
Nose: Light, citrusy with a yeast essence upfront. Eventually gives way to a light approximation of nut cookies (either almond or macadamia), along with mild clove and perhaps star anise.
Palate: This is a very light bourbon that glides over your tongue like heavy cream, but it has plenty to offer. Honey, cinnamon, apple, and brown butter are all on hand.
The bourbon has a long, smooth finish that isn’t too short but is more than enough to keep you coming back for more. While this bourbon won’t win any awards for its taste, it is certainly an excellent addition to any bourbon collection.