We are going to keep the Willett train rolling today! I had enough of a break for my palate to reset for this review. I mentioned in my previous OG mash bill review that high corn has not typically been my jam... I'll try my best to put that preconception away as I walk into this one so I can give it a fair shake. I will be tasting this out of a Willett taster glass (kenzie style).
Anyway - this is another great pour courtesy of Matt - appreciate you sharing my friend. Let's review!
Company on Label: Willett
Whiskey Type: Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: 79% Corn, 7% Rye, 14% Malted Barley
Age: 7 years
Further identification: This is a Bob's Lake City Liquors single barrel #2015 that was sample swapped to me from @rarewhiskeynomad; Based on the Blake's Willett mash bill breakdown this is a high corn + high entry proof mash; this barrel yielded 213 bottles
Nose: Upfront I find a lot of breadiness and a touch of caramel on the nose. Soft hints of cherry are there but barely perceptible. Longer inhales start to build floral spices in waves. It comes off very bright without any of the nose-sting that usually comes with spices. I get an old warship metal aroma that reminds me of Battleship Cove (a maritime museum and war memorial in MA). Light white chocolate and oak bark aromas are nice here but I get the feeling like there almost isn't even any alcohol in this glass with how light the nose is. The most consistent aroma I find is a dark rye bread. Time for a sip - I'm hoping for some more intensity here!
The nose feels relatively unchanged from the first sip aside from perhaps a little bit of the orange sweetness now being apparent atop the bready base. I certainly like the nose, I just wish it had a volume knob I could turn up past the manufacturers recommended settings. The empty glass smells of vanilla frosting.
Palate: My first sip shows off a nice burst of flavor with sweet orange peel backdropped by a minty caramel concoction. Another sip shows off Angostura bitters, grape skins and tart, tannic raisins. The mouth feel is thick and sticky with a long linger of that dark red berry characteristic with a nutty undertone. I am surprised with how fruit forward the palate is with how muted the early nose felt. Small flashes of peanut butter can be drummed up from the depths of this glass. Cherry hots and peach preserves sitting atop Thanksgiving herbs and spices give this a really unique profile that I am really digging. Sage, rosemary and black pepper are the few that come to mind from that experience. Yum. I get a lot of old fashioned cocktail vibes from this on the palate now. I love a neat pour that can do that. The linger is long yet nondescript, but overall incredibly satisfying. The fruitiness continues to stick around as the syrupy cherry sweetness fades into an array of almonds, dates and pie crust. My last sip is just the right amount of sweet balanced by very light oak and a black pepper laden molasses. When I think about where this barrel takes me I envision it is one that was stored peacefully on a low floor of one of the Willett rick houses.
This was so much less funky than the other high corn bourbon I have and it was such a welcome change! I am willing to look past a very lackluster nosing experience because of how good the palate was. I was skeptical on my first sip when the minty note came out, but I am glad to have tried this one for sure, but also I'm not kicking myself for not having the rest of a bottle to enjoy personally. Remember to share the good stuff when you can! Cheers.
Oh also... I found a really interesting read about the smell of warships if you'd care to hear a much better story than my visit to a maritime museum.