Monday, September 5, 2016

Willett Family Estate Bourbon Barrel No. 770 Review

I've reviewed a lot of Willett Family Estate bourbons but up to this point all of them have been a sourced product from various non-disclosed distilleries in Kentucky. Like many other startup distilleries, Willett is on the "sell someone else's product until yours comes of age" plan but as of this year we are starting to see bourbons released under this line that were actually distilled in-house.
The guys over in the Willett Bourbon Facebook group say this is from a mash of 72% corn, 15% malt and 13% rye, with a barrel entry proof of either 110 or 125, and aged on a rickhouse first floor. Supposedly this is some of the earliest distillate Willett produced while they were still getting things dialed in so successive products down the line should be even better.
Aged 4 years; 53.2% ABV; Bottle 9 of 212; $42
Nose: All the typical wood sweets you expect from a lowish rye bourbon. This bottle has been open about 2 months and the grain forward new make notes are surprisingly diminished now.
Taste: Tastes like a classic, slightly young bourbon. The higher proof is helping give it some very forward vanilla, caramel, and cocoa sweets that I think mask the green new-make notes. There is a little rye spice bite in there but overall this lands on the sweet end of the spectrum. Again like the nose the young notes have died down the longer this has been open.
Thoughts: I came into this not expecting much but it is better than I anticipated. On the negative side, it doesn't have a lot of depth and drinks a touch hotter than it should for the proof but other than that it's pretty tasty. Granted, there's only so much you can get from a 4 year old bourbon but this shows a lot of promise. At 6, 8, or 10 years I think Willett's products are going to be great.
Rating: B / B-

Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating.

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