Here is another Willett. This one was bottled in 2013, not for a double secret society but for a liquor store in Missouri. It’s a bit older than Wednesday’s Willett and not at a ludicrous strength, and not, as far as I know, wheated. That’s as much as I (sort of) know. So let’s get right to it.
Willett 11 (58.55%; barrel 2364 for the Wine and Cheese Place; from a sample received in a swap).
Careful observers will note that while I have the abv at 58.55% the sample label says 58.6. 58.55% is the correct strength. The source of the sample, Florin, is a statistician and therefore opposed to mere accuracy: he rounded up.
Nose: Caramel, a bit of honey, some lemon peel, a touch of apricot. Quite nice. With time there’s some polished oak, some cinnamon, and the caramel moves in the direction of maple syrup. With more time corn sweetness comes more to the fore and there’s more of a rye note too. A few drops of water bring out more of the fruit.
Palate: More rye and more spice on the palate which has quite a bite. The bite is all spicy—it’s not particularly woody/tannic. More citrus on the second sip (lemon). Seems to get more acidic with every sip. The acid aside this is quite drinkable neat—no major alcohol burn. With time the acid calms down and some of the richer notes from the nose emerge; it does get woodier too though now. Water pushes back the wood and brings the spice and the brighter fruit back out—not as acidic now.
Finish: Long. The spicy bite takes a bit to abate and then there’s lasting menthol coolness and some pepper. As on the palate with water.
Comments: Again, I liked the nose more than the palate and finish. This seems to be a common thread in many of my bourbon reviews. Probably an artifact of the fact that as a single malt drinker I’m more sensitive to oak, which is more palpable on the tongue than in the nose. I did like the palate more with water. Anyway, not sure how much this went for back in 2013 but I would have been happy to have got a bottle. Anyone know where this was distilled?
Rating: 87 points.
Thanks to Florin for the sample!