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Newest Bourbon Review: Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

January 21, 2012

Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon

I know that I have been doing a lot of reviews on Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. but, there expressions are superb. Of course, this one comes from the Willett Family of bourbons. This is their staple Single Barrel Bourbon expression that is normally on the market. This is handmade, well-aged bourbon that is prepared and bottled by the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. Again, some of the best, most flavorful and most complex bourbons in the world come from under the roof this distilleries barrel houses.

Yet, this bourbon is very different and I don’t just mean the Pot Still shaped glass bottle.

To the bourbon:

94 Proof Single Barrel

Age: 8-10 years

Bottle Statements:

Distilled, Aged and Bottled in Kentucky

Bottle No. 149 out of 275 (picked for this reason-It is said that some of the best bottles come from the middle of the batch)

Barrel No. 5535

First notes:

The presentation of this bottle of bourbon is extremely elaborate. The bottle itself is worth having on your shelf. It has a very nice cork topper and the bottle is supposed to show off their pride a bit but, they may have over done it. Yet, there is a beautiful golden-copper wax stamp on the breast of the bottle with an axiom of, “Willett Pot Still Reserve”.


The color is almost a true amber color with a hint of blood orange.

First nose:

The first nose right out of the bottle is of sweet corn.

Nose in a glass:

Some barrel char is the first to present itself with just a slight hint of nuttiness and rye at the back.


It has an extremely Low palate intensity and flavor. Hints of nut, earth, dry oak and char are in the final stages but, there is not much to speak of the front. After the glass gasps for a bit, it opens up and the palate intensity increases slightly. A bit of unwanted pungency presents itself toward the end. Only a hint of intensity leaves itself on the top of your throat and on the back of your tongue.


To be honest, this is the first Willett family bourbon that I have been disappointed in. Being mellow is normally a great aspect of a bourbon (this one certainly is mellow) but, it is not a good thing when there is not much to speak of in the way of flavor. The most predominate thing about this expression is the bit of pungency in the end. At times, I cringed.

I have tried to enjoy this bourbon for a while. Mainly, because I could not believe that this was a Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. expression and I did not want it to be a let down. But, I have been let down and there is nothing I can do about it. Of course this may be a bourbon that others really do enjoy and it could be a “Love It” or “Leave It” kind of thing but, I am going to leave it. I am not sure why this expression is not something that I really enjoy? But, I think the bottle is trying to, as they say, over compensate for something!

Please Note: If you want a very good to great expression from the same distillery (for the same price); I would suggest Pure Kentucky XO Single Barrel (12 years old; which has slightly more char and corn than Rowans Creek) or Rowans Creek Single Barrel (12 years old; Seems to be on the same Mash Bill as Noah’s Mill (one of my favorite expressions) and is slightly more oily and oaky than Pure Kentucky XO).

Outsider review:

From a single barrel 8 to 10 years old, and bottled in a pot still decanter replicated from the pot still used by the distiller. On the nose, there are notes of honey, butterscotch, and some char. Smooth and creamy sensations of mild butterscotch and char, with some sweet cherry and citrus tartness before fading into a long, lingering, oaky finish.

There will be a new review about every week. Stay tuned in for future reviews. Please write if you have a specific bourbon you would like a review on next!

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