The Willett Company also know as Kentucky Bourbon Distillers(KBD) is a family owned and operated business. They are an independent bottling company and they don’t produce but rather source all their whiskey for their various labels. Brands under the KBD umbrella include: Noah’s Hill, Rowan’s Creek, Johnny Drum, Kentucky Vintage, Pure Kentucky XO, Old Bardstown, Vintage Bourbon, Willett Pot Still and Willett Family Estate. KBD is very tight-lipped about where they source their bourbon from and no one really knows but all I can say is that they do make fine products. The good news is that last year the Willett Distillery started to produce and age it’s bourbon and rye. The bad news is it’ll be a long time until we see those products.
Anyways on to the review. I’ll be reviewing the 5 year-old Willett from the Family Estate Line. It’s a 119.4 proof and bottled from barrel no. 4328.
Appearance: light copper with slow legs
Nose: Right away the alcohol fumes rise from this uncut, un-chillfiltered bourbon. Behind those fumes notes of vanilla and dark chocolate arise. Hints of rye are floating around. The scent of maple syrup becomes more apparent with time. There is some corn in there as well and dried fruits like raisins too. There really isn’t one dominating note but rather a mesh a different scents being push up by the intense alcohol.
Palate: On the front of the palate there is that maple syrup flavor along with a nice caramel note. The mouth feel is very viscous, almost syrup-like. Mid palate we pick up some corn, peppery spices and rye. There is A LOT of heat to this one and it’s apparent in the finish which is very warm and long-lasting leaving behind some corn and nutty flavors along with a bit of rye.
Overall: A well-rounded bourbon. Great flavors and aromas and high-proof fans will love the kick it brings. Nit picking I’d say I like to see a little more balance and control with the intense alcohol but really I was impressed with this and my only regret was not getting the more aged Willetts in the Family Estate line.
Rating: 87 / * * * *