In 1936 Thompson Willett founded Willett Distillery. Today, the tradition continues.
Nose: The first sniff had a pretty hearty cherry smell with a little bit of citrus too. A small amount of alcohol comes through on deeper sniffs. On a few sniffs, I got a little hint of graham cracker. Palate: The first sip had a little bit of heat that starts in the middle and continues through the finish, which is about medium to medium-long in length. For once, what I smelled is what I tasted. I picked up hints of dark cherry that almost reminded me of a cough syrup (in a good way, though). The mouthfeel is pretty oily and pleasant. On later sips, I picked up on a little bit of pepper, particularly in the finish. There’s also a bit of spiciness to it, but it doesn’t come across as traditional rye spiciness…..but I can’t quite put my finger on it. Overall, the flavor is decently complex and challenging. I found it interesting that each sip seemed to highlight a different flavor, so it made the sipping experience a lot of fun….even though I wasn’t able to pick out exactly WHAT I was tasting on some of the sips. On some sips, it comes across as sweet and on others, not so much. It even tasted “earthy” on a sip or two. Comments: When I first started drinking bourbon, Willett was one of my favorites. Over time, though, I tasted so many others, that it sat un-noticed, in the background, and I have to admit that I haven’t had Willett in quite some time. In fact, I didn’t have an open bottle of it in the saloon. Luckily, I had a bottle in the “reserve, over-flow closet”. It has been there for quite some time…probably at least 5 years. Because it was a newly opened bottle, I let it sit in my glencairn glass for a little bit longer than usual. And….it paid off. I still really like this. I like that it confounds me and challenges me in trying to figure out what is going on. And, all in a really good way. I like that they make their bottle look like a pot still….even though it is seriously impractical, shelf-wise. If you have the room, the large bottle of this is just stunning and will catch the attention of anyone sitting at the bar. This clocks in at 94 proof…..which is a good proof for this. Although they have their own distillery and MAY (?) be bottling their own stuff now, this bottle is old enough that it is definitely from when they were sourcing their whiskey. It isn’t known from who, but the fact that Willett is located in Bardstown makes it likely that they sourced locally from Bardstown.