Willet’s Pot Still Reserve

Review 2017-070 «Specifics»  Straight bourbon whiskey • Undisclosed mash bill • 45.0% Alcohol • Matured for 8-10 years in new charred-American oak barrels • Chill filtered • Caramel-coloured • Willet Distillery (also known as Kentucky Bourbon Distillers) • Bardstown • Kentucky • U.S.A. • Widely available • Price ±€48 • Whiskybase #53637

STORY. Small-batch bourbon from Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, but as the owners have just begun distilling themselves, the liquid is supposedly from Heaven Hill. Their packaging, a bottles shaped as an old-fashioned copper still, is instantly attractive.


APPEARANCE. The shape of the bottle, yeah, really cool! Would probably only buy it just for that… Colour of the liquid is a tad too brownish (so coloured probably).

NOSE. This has a very sweet start with lots of toffee, brown sugar, butter scotch, sweet vanilla ice cream, chocolate brownies, and coffee. Surely all right. But then the wood starts to talk, bringing up large chunks of bitter dark chocolate. Luckily a light citrus freshness can partially offer some counterbalance. It develops with water into a more bitter, stringent and even a bit acidic undercurrent, while the alcohol stays a bit overpowering.

TASTE. Loads of toffee, brown sugar, and butterscotch, are present as in the nose, along with cream and vanilla. Again a bitter current runs underneath. Water makes it more fruity, adds even some sweet white wine notes, making it slightly floral, and adds more vanilla ice cream. Finishes with spicy notes and more of the wood-extracted vanilla.

VERDICT. Quite good bourbon with several features that I like, but for the bitter notes. Also a bit too sweet for my taste. More balance and depth, and it would have been a really good bourbon. Would they also sell the bottle without the contents?

Recommended for collector of cool whiskey bottles.

A sample of this was purchased from Whiskyhuis.be.

«What others say»

  • @Whiskybase: Mean score of 80.00 (3 votes)
  • @whiskeyreviewer: “Altogether, a very high quality bourbon with a lot to offer and a few unique streaks in there, and you get a great keeper of a decanter, too. Win-win” Score: A-
  • @sourmashmanifesto: “This is a very interesting bourbon and somewhat unique” Score: 8.5/10
  • @newcomerwhisky: “I am definitely going to be picking up another one before too long!” Score: 87/100
  • @whiskeypost: “Willett’s an overpriced bourbon. I cringe a bit when I drink it neat or on the rocks. Probably the best way to consume it is in a complex cocktail or with a strong, sugary mixer” Score: C-
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