I closed out last week with a review of a batch of Noah’s Mill, a sourced bourbon put out by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, who also own the Willett brand name, and who recently restarted the Willett Distillery. Here now is a rye released under the Willett Family Estate name. Though this name might make you think otherwise, this is also sourced, and the odds are that it was sourced from MGP (if someone knows something definitive about this one way or the other please chime in below). This is a single barrel release but I’m not sure if it was just a regular single barrel release or if it was picked by someone (for some store) in particular. Why can’t I just ask whoever I got the sample from? Well, because I got it among one of many bottle splits and can’t remember who the source was. Getting older is so much fun! Anyway, this is not going to have to be very good to be better than the last rye I reviewed. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
I know nothing about this whiskey except that it was bottled by Willett/KBD but was not distilled by them—as it’s not possible for them to release a 8 yo whiskey distilled by them for a few more years yet. What the source is, I don’t know. Sku, the source of the unusually cleanly labeled sample, probably knows but he’s a surly sort, best not engaged unless you really have to, and a cursory search on Google did not turn anything up. The fact that it’s a wheated bourbon probably narrows the options but not for someone like me who knows very little about the ins and outs of the American whiskey industry. If you know more about this please chime in below.
Also please write in if you know what “1789b” refers to on the sample label. That I have seen listed on some other Willett labels too. Continue reading
The Willett distillery stopped production a few decades ago. What has been available under the Willett marque in recent years, in their eye-catching bottles, has been sourced whiskey (at least one of which I’ve really liked in the past). In 2012, however, they started distilling again and this 2 yo rye, released last year, was one of the most anticipated releases of recent years. And when it showed up it got fairly good reviews from people (such as Sku and the notorious Bourbon Truth) who are usually allergic to hype. Sku offered me some the last time we swapped samples and I couldn’t say no. After all, my experiences with other “craft” American whiskeys have been so positive, be they from Balcones, Koval, Corsair or Charbay….
My understanding is that this is a blend of two mash bills—one that’s 74% rye and one that’s 51% rye, with far more of the high rye mash bill in the blend.
I know nothing about Willett, but as it says “Stitzel” in parentheses on the label I’m pretty sure there are people who will say I don’t deserve to be drinking it. Whiskey from the extinct Stitzel-Weller distillery, you see, is one of the most prized (or hyped, depending on your point of view) commodities in the world of bourbon, and it’s quite possible that its charms are wasted on a bourbon neophyte like me. If it helps assuage these concerns let me reassure you that I only drank half of this sample as a shot with cherry Coke and Southern Comfort. And now I have my seersucker suit and my panama hat on and am sitting in a rocking chair on my front porch, drinking the rest, with my faithful hounds Ezra and Elijah at my feet. You have to forgive me–I don’t really know my bourbon stereotypes.