QUICK Review from a bar… Willett XCF, what PHC 12 should have been

This is basically what PHC12 should have been… the notes are literally identical in terms of items, but the intensity is the difference.  The whiskey is both good, but the orange isn’t a bomb, it’s subtle and woven well.  PHC12 is barely drinkable, this is very delightful (still not worth the secondary price though).  91/100.



Jack Rose: Final Tasting of the Night: Noah’s Mill

Vintage Noah’s Mill
Drunk at this point and the uber is almost here. Great nose. Good mouthfeel. Not like the current NM. Finish is solid. 92/100.

And I’m out. Thanks Jack Rose! Brittany you have been great. Charlie is the bomb. Bill is amazing. Thanks!!


Jack Rose 3: Willett side by side

Willett 23yr Bourbon B78 black wax capsule 136.2 proof:
Dark golden hue. Big nose,  but not up the middle, it surrounds and envelopes with charcoal, French toast, butter and s’mores. Wow. This is what bourbon is supposed to taste like. It’s huge, but not too hot given the proof.  The mouthfeel is awesome, clearly not chill filtered. The finish just goes on and on. This is a three minute+ bourbon. All the flavors from the nose are on the palate and they don’t dissipate at all. If this was all I could drink for the rest of my life I would be ok with that. 97.5/100.  This was a charity bottle for the Bourbon Bonanza Benefit 2016. Bottle number 23/109.


Willett 24yr bourbon 121 proof Barrel No. 9956:
Nice dark golden color.  Nose is closed with hints of baking spices in the background. Great mouthfeel right off the bat, but the flavor isn’t following through. It’s enjoyable but it’s a shame I tried the B79 first, because this has more wood and tannins and just not as interesting. It’s still solid though–I’m not pouring it out. 92/100


Rowan’s Creek: Solid dram for the price

Clocking in at a proof of 100.1, this is another Willett product in disguise.  I still don’t know why all of Willett’s non-eponymous brands even exist, because they all are substantially lower priced compared to their Family Estate lines… I’m sure there is a reason, I just don’t know what it is. Rowan’s is apparently a batch bourbon and this batch is 16-81.

Rusty amber color in a nice tall bottle.

Very classic aroma, butterscotch, s’mores, gravel, ginger snaps, Twix and baking spices.

The taste has everything that the nose has following through with an enjoyable finish that tickles the tongue.  The mouthfeel is enjoyable but not overly complex.  It’s not as thick as I would like, but with a non-cask strength bourbon, it does pretty well with the tannins and a touch of oil.  Finish goes on for well over a minute and stays consistently fun.

This is a good value bourbon.  I think I paid $40 for this, but it’s readily available in the mid to high 30s, and for that price it’s absolutely worth it.  I’d be curious to see what the other batches taste like and when I go through this bottle I probably will check out another batch.  The funny thing is, if this was an eponymous Willett, it easily would command $100 or higher.  90/100.


3yr Rye Distilled, Aged & Bottled by The Willett Distillery

I’ve been drinking a lot of really great sourced whiskey from Willett over the past several years.  Their products contain some of the best juice in the world and bottled it at cask strength–just the way I like it.  My hope is that Drew & Co have taken the same skills in sourcing, blending and bottling into the distilling world for their rye.  It’s in the same beautiful Willett Family Estate bottle we all love, green capsule for the rye.

This bottle is bottled at 112.6 proof.

Medium light amber color.

Sweet candy nose, a bit hot with menthol but not overwhelming.  Cotton candy, rock candy, and a touch of peppermint are the stronger notes, with a hint of apples and cedar on the back.

The initial taste is ok, but not as good as I expected.  Some of the notes on the nose come through in the palate, but the mouthfeel is thin and the follow through lacks good flavor, only bitterness and heat.  The only enjoyment in this dram is the very first moment, because after that, it all goes away.

This rye is very disappointing.  For all the amazing products I’ve had from Willett, this is the worst one so far.  Maybe it’s because it’s only three years old?  I don’t know… I’ve had some very good 3yr ryes before and ones that I knew had a lot of potential, but I don’t know about this one.  I’m hoping this might have been a one-off occurence, but I won’t be trying any young Willett products for a while…  if anyone wants a sample, I’m happy to send one.  82/100.


Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon 12yr #9622

I bought this bottle when I was at the Willett Distillery a couple weeks ago. They have a beautiful facility and I highly recommend everyone visit; they are distilling amazing products there. While I was there I also picked up the 11yr bottle #438 (https://newbourbondrinker.wordpress.com/2016/01/27/willett-family-estate-single-barrel-bourbon-438-holy-moley/). When I first opened the bottles, 438 blew this one out of the water, but now that it has been a couple weeks I’m coming back to it and reviewing it–I’m glad I waited because it has really evolved.

Willett bottles always look great, this one was bottled at 118.8 proof. Dark amber.

When I opened this a couple weeks ago it was a little stale and rich mushroomy like a lesser Eagle Rare 10 aroma. Now that it has had the chance to open up there are more baking spices coming through and a very mild nose.

The palate is extremely enjoyable with nice oils and grip on the tongue with an enjoyable follow through. It is a complete and complex flavored bourbon.

This isn’t as good as bottle 438, but it’s very good in its own right, especially after being opened for a couple weeks. I love these Willett single barrels and wish I didn’t have to go to the gift shop or trade for them to be able to get them. Those who live nearby are very lucky indeed!  93/100.  I’m excited to see what it will be like in another month–probably will be even better!



Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon #438 Holy Moley!

Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Bourbon #438. Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey aged for 11 years and bottled at 119.8 proof.

Sorry for taking so long to write anything but I have been extremely busy at work. I got back from Kentucky almost two weeks ago–what an amazing trip. Lots of tours, lots of bourbon “research.”  Part of my trip took me to Willett and of course a stop in the gift shop. I picked this one up (and one for a friend) and just opened it tonight to try for my first post-Kentucky review.  I promise to write more soon!

Beautiful dark golden amber in the iconic Willett bottle.

Nose is sweet butterscotch, liquid caramel, maple syrup candies, cloves and orange peels.  After it has been open for several hours you get a little bit of mossy log and day after campfire residue–all in a good way. All in, it is a really inviting nose and doesn’t give away the near 60% abv.

The taste is even better than the nose. All the flavors on the nose are coming out on the tongue in addition to some wood notes that are incredibly well integrated. The mouthfeel is great, with some nice tannins reflecting most likely a non chill filtered bourbon. The heat comes later in a mild way–really well done and aged to perfection. The finish goes on for minutes.  So much going on here.

Barrel #438 is one special bottle and I’m very excited that it was available when I was at the gift shop. Sometimes you just get lucky. I think this was about $110 in the gift shop and trading for double that or more on bottle-spot. If you can snag one, it’s worth it.   96/100.  I hate to tell you… but only 127 bottles of this exist, and I bought two of them… good luck with the hunting…. if you want a sample, send me a DM on twitter and we’ll work it out.

P.S. I also own another Willett 11yr bourbon, this one is barrel #1631.  They are COMPLETELY different.  This one has much more of a Eagle Rare aspect to it, mushrooms, forest floor… doesn’t have the sweetness or pop that #438 has.  Barrel #1631 I rate a 88/100, very solid, but for the price, Eagle Rare is a better choice.  #438 just destroys the competition.  I didn’t want people to think that I just had a mancrush on Drew or something….