I love Noah's Mill. This and Rowan's Creek were a few of the first bourbons I ever tried and since then I've never had a batch I didn't like. I will be resetting my expectations of this bottle a bit here and seeing if it has stood the test of time as I've explored hundreds if not thousands of other whiskeys since those early days of learning.
Question: Would you consider this bottle a 'shelfer' due to its availability, or is it just out of the price range for that qualification? Let me know in the comments.
Now it's review time. Let's go!
Company on Label: Willett
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed, but I assume it to be a majority OG mash (by taste): 72% Corn, 13% Rye, 15% Malted Barley
Further identification: This is one of the flagship products of Willett distillery that they work hard to blend into quantities that can satisfy the huge demand for Willett bourbon; it is the slightly higher in proof and cost sister label of Rowan's Creek
Nose: Mmm. Punchy cherry upfront with a hint of cola. Big funky barrel influence all throughout; it smells old, rich and inviting. Cinnamon hots tickle the nostrils as the air rushes through. Plum, raisin and incredibly dusty pepper jump into the glass in an explosion of proofy heft. Soft leather and cooking oil aromas rise to the surface. There's a ton of citrus zest bursting at the seams but not taking center stage just yet. The richness of the caramel and molasses is definitely not to be understated here - it comes across almost savory. Impressively powerful in all regards for aroma with no sharp edges. This noses like an incredibly well crafted whiskey. On deep inhales there is a sugary tiramisu characteristic. Time for a sip!
Mmm. It has that Willett magic on the nose - usually attributable to the rye side of their profile for me. I find star fruit, juicy pear and lychee that borders on a tannic quality without the bitter characteristic. The nose is distinctly dusty layered on the oak aromas like most 10+ year bourbons will deliver. Beautiful floral sweetness bubbles up on deep inhales. The blend here (assuming it is a blend) is coherent and incredibly well crafted; I don't find any messy layers, flavors or aromas that don't wholeheartedly jive. The empty glass smells of hibiscus, honeysuckle and faint campfire ash.
Palate: Oh wow. That is delicious. Cherry hots definitely hit first. It's followed by a nutmeg spiced hot chocolate and tiramisu creaminess that balances the initial flash of heat well. On a follow up sip that beautiful citrus pop I love drops in for a visit; yum! Raspberry sherbert, plum and cherry skins bring in just the right amount of fruit sweetness here. Light jackfruit gives off a slightly tropical vibe. The fruit bombardment does not let up as I find blood orange, blackcurrant and grapefruit. Cherry continues to be the shining beacon of homely comfort all throughout. Blackberry peach cobbler comes across dark and delicious. There's just a hint of the smoke that the cast iron Dutch oven protected the dessert from. My last sip is well worth savoring as dark cherries, plum, black raspberries and figgy jam sit atop a strip of well oiled leather. The finish is delectable as it fades into a long linger of breakfast jam on rye toast.
This bottle rekindles the feeling you get when you're just starting to explore the wide world of whiskey... The baffling volume of new flavors & aromas and finding that certain profile that just matches your palate perfectly. Whatever Willett was doing in 2020 with this release I hope has been the norm for the subsequent years because this is one of my favorite profiles. Cheers!