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"A Sticking Point" Head to Head - Willett, Barrell, and Barton 1792 Blind Reviews

These Barrell single barrel picks have been discussed rather thoroughly in MA circles. My previous review put the Kappy Endings pick solidly into Willett distillate territory based on my palate experiences. Some fine folks were persuasive and adamant they thought it was Barton though. In the name of science, I asked some further questions and was told the 1792 Full Proof picks would be my best bet at tasting something close. I unfortunately only had one pick on hand, but I threw it into this blind line up to see if I could draw any parallels between each of the glasses. Included in this line is:

  • A Willett distillate purple top sample from Alan Starr: 7 year wheated bourbon, cask 3247

  • A Willett distillate purple top sample also from Alan Starr: 7 year high corn bourbon, cask 2071

  • A Willett distillate 6 year rye I won in a raffle in 2020

  • A 1792 Full Proof store pick from Julio's (The Loch & K(e)y Society)

  • A Barrell Single Barrel 7 year bourbon pick from Gordon's, barrel # Z1D7

  • A Barrell Single Barrel 7 year bourbon pick from Kappy's, barrel # Z1F4

I have had more than 1 pour of all these bottles prior to this review. @AmongstTheFerns helped pour and blinded me to what was in each glass. I have to thank Alan for giving me the samples in order to broaden my horizons in this space. His kindness is what truly makes the whiskey community great. Now let's get tasting! I wonder if you would find the same things as me below? Scroll slow if you don't want spoilers, but I will try to also make this as concise and digestible as possible. Cheers!


Nose: Dusty cherry. Musty, deeply buried citrus pine. Approachable proof. Copper metallic. Slightly funky. Hmm, still very interesting back at the other end; some bitter raisin notes evolving. Warm, chocolatey oak aromas dance well. Faint WFE-esque vibes. I think I'll know more on the palate. White pepper. More intensity to the pepper post-sip. Hmm - kind of subtle all around on the nose late in the glass (and compared to this lineup). Empty glass smells like raisins.

Palate: Yum! Cherry bomb with huge citrus zest behind it. While I let my first sip settle, vanilla and oak are the longest lingering notes. Caramel and airy high flying pine are really attacking my palate here; very robust, intense flavors throughout. A thinner mouth feel than I expected, but all the right flavors. Very molasses and metallic (dark copper) forward on the linger. Intense on the palate, even after a lot of air; cherry & cinnamon being the dominant flavors now. Very close to glass 5 (blank).


Glass 2 Saxy Bourbon Glencairn Review:

Nose: Boom. Pinesol. High flying citrus zest. Oaky with an old antique paper smell. Slightly chocolatey, but the rich oak & paper make me feel like I'm in a library. Creamy yoghurt and pie crust now on a swirl. A slight rubber note is also present now, not in a bad way as I might otherwise describe, but definitely sets this one apart a bit. Peppery. Post sip vanilla bean tries to level things off. Mellow late in the glass with a light Cow Tale caramel & cream. Empty glass has sweet perfume florals.

Palate: Very vanilla forward on first sip, with rich pine wood inlayed with oak. Citrusy lemon lingers dark in the corners of my mouth. Again heavy vanilla with cloves tying in the lemon peel zest well. Ohh, there's the cinnamon wave... Solid! Molasses linger. Mellow creamy caramel with some herbal spices subtly lingering on the back end.


Glass 3 Lost Nemo Glencairn Review:

Nose: Syrupy nose-feel. Mellow, not much going on compared to the other 2 prior at this point. On a deep dig there is a rich plum revealed. Bits of clove & allspice bubble to the surface. Rich marmalade sweetness. Wow, very peppery on a swirl. Intensely spiced now. Feels like the highest proof. A bit smoky late in the glass. Empty glass smells like intense chocolate covered cherries.

Palate: Explosive. Light pine settles into a super creamy base. I thought more was coming but it kind of fell flat on the palate here. Vanilla is a nice intense wave followed by eddy currents of intensely spiced pepper, clove and parsley. Dark tea notes on the linger. Late in the glass things are finally very level, but still presents with a very heavy rye profile. Hot & spicy.


Glass 4 Bourbon Thieves Glencairn Review:

Nose: Ehh.. Something really musty and dry just entered my nose on the first inhale & it was not pleasant. Chalky smells. Dried red fruit now coming together. Very dry herbals that feel like they belong in a soup. Standout difference than the previous 3 glasses. Swirl still keeps this pour very different from the rest, some kind of wheat pasta going on here. This is the strangest thing I've nosed in a while. Muted plum is trying to break through. Wow post-sip the nose just burned my sinus and eyes out. Hot! Potpourri spices mingle subtly now; I'd definitely rank this "most improved" nose. Still kind of chalky at times, but turning more malty late in the glass. Apples. Empty glass was not reached/achieved on this pour for evaluation.

Palate: Hmm, caramel forward; much more traditional bourbon profile than the rest. Slightly nutty with cherry. Spearmint and menthol tobacco suddenly evolving all over each other. That was a completely unique experience to me. Approachable proof, until the wave of heat rolls over with a tiny bit of the chalkiness of the nose. I can't say I'm crazy for the mouth feel or the linger on this. There's a bit too much malt here for me.


Glass 5 Blank/Plain Glencairn Review:

Nose: Yum, smells like what I love from Willett family estate here. Rich cherry and Pinesol citrus candy. Yummy nose. Swirl makes things kind of muted, with too much light, bright oak taking over. Post-sip still very traditional WFE unique citrus that I couldn't mistake anywhere. Dusty & chocolatey now; some hot chocolate vibes building. Caramel and saw dust late in the glass. Empty glass smells like a wool sweater.

Palate: Sweetness; powerful candied cherry with some cereal undertones. Like corn flakes now with a lemon peel zest on top. Thick, syrupy mouth coating that just screams WFE. Soo zesty. Just that awesome punchy flavor I've never better described than a Pinesol you're allowed to drink! Might be the sweetest & easiest of them all.


Glass 6 Stellum Glencairn Review:

Nose: Hmm oakiest... but also still similar to glass 5, 3, 2 & 1. Very dusty and more of the citrus sweetness, but this one doesn't come with the piney note of the others. Candied lemon & oak. Swirling my way back down the line now, this stays mellow with just some new vanilla and proofier apricot & raisin. Yum. Minty. More dusty later in the glass. Still intense citrus zest forward. End of glass is super floral. Empty glass is an earthy raspberry.

Palate: Powww! Maybe most intense citrus pop of all these glasses. That was a wild sip; almost too powerful & a bit drying. This citrus is tinged with quite a bit of ethanol on the back end and some nice subtle stone fruit throughout as well. Tough, but lovely.


Final Ranking:

  1. Tie Between Glass 1, 2, 5 & 6 (Amongst, Saxy, Blank & Stellum)

  2. Glass 3 (Lost Nemo)

  3. Glass 4 (Bourbon Thieves)


Glass 1 (Amongst the Whiskey Glencairn): Barrell Bourbon "Kappy Endings" (Guessed correct)

Glass 2 (Saxy Bourbon): Willett 7 Year Wheated Bourbon (Guessed incorrect, guessed Gordon's)

Glass 3 (Lost Nemo): Willett 7 Year High Corn Bourbon (Guessed incorrect, guessed 6 year rye)

Glass 4 (Bourbon Thieves): 1792 Full Proof SP (Guessed correct)

Glass 5 (Blank): Barrell Bourbon Gordon's Pick (Guessed incorrect, guessed Willett high corn)

Glass 6 (Stellum): Willett 6 Year Rye (Guessed incorrect, guessed Willett wheated)

Clarified Ranking:

#1 (Tie): Barrell Bourbon "Kappy Endings" Pick

#1 (Tie): Willett 7 Year Wheated Bourbon

#1 (Tie): Barrell Bourbon Gordon's Pick

#1 (Tie): Willett 6 Year Rye

#2: Willett 7 Year High Corn Bourbon

#3: 1792 Full Proof L&K Store Pick


I think I learned everything I needed to learn here. The Barton 1792 stood out as completely different compared to the rest. My notes really started to feel like a broken record on 5 different glasses, but they really all had very similar profiles with only just slight nuances between them. I was really surprised I mis-guessed the rye out of all these pours; looking back at the notes it seems that was my own foolish folly, as all the tell-tale signs were there! Also the high corn standing out as what I thought was the rye was strange... Altogether an incredible fun tasting that took me far too long to type up. Hope it helps you!


Barrell Single Barrel Bourbon

Company on Label: Barrell Craft Spirits

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed

Proof: 119.54°

Age: 7 years

Further identification: Barrel Z1F4, Bottle 161; this single barrel is a store pick from Kappy's, the 1940 Barrel Society "Kappy Endings"

Willett Wheated Bourbon

Company on Label: Willett

Whiskey Type: Wheated Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 65% Corn, 20% Wheat, 15% Barley

Proof: 123.2°

Age: 7 years

Further identification: Cask 3247; "Purple Foil 147"

Willett High Corn Bourbon

Company on Label: Willett

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 79% Corn, 7% Rye, 14% Barley

Proof: 124.8°

Age: 7 years

Further identification: Cask 2071; "Purple Foil 167"; this high corn mash bill also goes in with a high barrel entry proof

1792 Full Proof Single Barrel

Company on Label: Barton 1792

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: 74% Corn, 18% Rye, 8% Barley

Proof: 125°

Age: 7 years

Further identification: This single barrel is a store pick from Julio's Liquors, the Loch & K(e)y Society; it was purchased in 2021

Barrell Single Barrel Bourbon

Company on Label: Barrell Craft Spirits

Whiskey Type: Bourbon

Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed

Proof: 121.58°

Age: 7 years

Further identification: Barrel Z1D7, Bottle 094; this single barrel is a store pick from Gordon's

Willett 6 Year Rye

Company on Label: Willett

Whiskey Type: Straight Rye Whiskey

Mash Bill Percentages: 11% Corn, 74% Rye, 15% Barley

Proof: 126.6°

Age: 6 years

Further identification: Barrel 6061, 115/182

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