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Saturday, September 29, 2018

Wakey Whiskey: Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon

By Eric Ducote

Good morning everyone, and welcome to another #Gameday edition of #WakeyWhiskey as LSU takes on (Go To Hell) Ole Miss late tonight and maybe into tomorrow morning.  A few days ago I was looking through my liquor collection and looking through some previous wakey whiskey posts and realized that I've never featured this Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon.  I've had this bottle for years, I believe it was actually a Christmas present from Jay, but due to its large size and unusual shape it always ended up on the "top shelf" of the liquor cabinet and rarely found its way down.  Rather than keep that trend continuing I decided to pull the bottle down and make it this week's featured whiskey.

Willet Pot Still Reserve is produced by the Willett Distillery, which is also known as the Kentucky Bourbon Distillers.  It's still an independent distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky, and in addition to the Willett brand they produce Noah's Mill, Rowan's Creek, Pure Kentucky, and more labels.  The bottle that I have is actually a 1.75l bottle styled after a pot still, and is a single barrel version of the Pot Still Reserve.  Around 2015 Willett switched from a single barrel labeling to a small batch labeling, but like I said, this is one of the older bottles in my collection, obviously pre-dating that switch.  It even says on the neck label that this is bottle no. 91 of 117 from single barrel no. 870.  (I think it's 870... the last number is cut off, but it's something round so either 870 or maybe 876... doesn't really matter...)  


Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon

Upon pouring and taking the picture, I noticed that the bourbon left in the bottle has a reddish tint to it while the bourbon in my glass is more of a traditional brown.  That's just the light playing tricks though, I can promise it's all the same and I wasn't pouring koolaid back into the bottle.  This is bottled at 94 proof (47% abv) and the aroma is a very pleasant combination of oak, vanilla, and a hint of citrus.  The taste is a smooth note of vanilla, with some charred oak coming through as well as a bit of sweeter caramel, all balanced well by the alcohol.  I think this 94 proof bourbon is right in the sweet spot between the standard 80 proof bourbons and the high proof barrel-strength offerings.  It makes for an interesting complex bourbon without being so strong that it takes away from the flavors.

I know you won't likely be able to find this single barrel version, but if you see some Willett Pot Still Reserve out in the wild, I would definitely recommend giving it a try.  Cheers, and Geaux Tigers!