Monday, January 16, 2017

Old Bardstown Bottled in Bond Review

My name is Ryan and I am a Willett fanboy. These days some might consider that a bad thing and that's cool, I get it. The hype and demand around their Family Estate bottles has gone so full on stupid that a lot of people are sick of them. I don't blame them and I'm not silly enough to pay the going rate or chase after it either. But for me, I'll always remember Willett Family Estate as that mysterious cask strength single barrel sitting on the shelves back when I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend *gasp* $50 on a bottle of bourbon. But one day I did and my love of cask strength bourbon was born.
But enough about old shit. Fast forward to today and we are just now starting to see Willett release bourbon distilled in house. I recently acquired a 4 year single barrel distilled by them and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. Though that product is thus far very limited and only available at the gift shop, Willett also relaunched the Old Bardstown brand as self distilled product. What I like about it is that it's bottled in bond so that guarantees a minimum of 4 years and will come in at a healthy 100 proof. Even better they appear to be staying true to the general pricing point of bottled in bond whiskey which usually means a great bang for your buck.
No Age Statement; 50% ABV; $22
Nose: Smells like a nice, simple bourbon. Not as much new-make grainy corn as I get in some other young, bottled in bond products. It's all caramel and other wood sugars here as well as some young oak. 
Taste: Again, just a simple, clean bourbon. The proof is respectable but it's not hot. It's a little thin on flavors as there isn't a lot of oak depth and the wood notes that are present have a bit of a green quality to them. The forward profile is mostly sugary sweet flavors like butterscotch and in that way it kind of reminds of a young National Distillers bourbon. The finish has some rye spice kick that rounds out for a nice sweet spicy combo.
Thoughts: A straight up, pure, no frills bourbon. It's as good some other (but not all) no age statement, bottled in bond bourbons I've had and that right there is the beauty of this product to me. It's a real achievement that a small craft distillery like Willett can put out the same level of quality as a big time distillery like Heaven Hill, Beam, etc. But then again, that might just be the Willett fanboy in me talking.
Rating: B- / C+
Note that price is not considered when assigning a rating. 


  1. Great news. Can't wait to try it - at the price that you paid, of course.

    I hope they can keep their prices reasonable as production ages. It's sickening how much 9 year old WFEs go for in today's overheated marketplace.

    1. Yes I hope their prices stay reasonable as well. It was super limited but their own 4 year that came out last year was only $45. I stopped being interested in the older gift shop bottlings when they increased beyond the $10 a year mark.