Willet Family Estate
Hand Selected by Colonial Spirits
Willet is one of those bourbons that everyone is looking for and no one can find. There is a long line of restaurants and stores trying to get barrels of Willet’s gold. Colonial Spirits in Acton, MA received the last barrel from Willet before they ran dry. It is interesting as Willet hand selects barrels from many distilleries, and markets it as their own. Then, they sell the barrels to other stores who break it down even further.
Colonial Spirits chose this as a 10 year bourbon initially. Because of the backlogs and sellouts, it stayed in the barrel an extra year. I was initially concerned if it would be over oaked, or not as good as it previously was, given that it was not tasted again by Colonial Spirits before being bottled as an 11 year bourbon.
First off, toss in a splash of water. This needs some water to be drinkable at 63%. Normally, I am against this, but there is a good amount of heat in this drink that needs to open up.
The nose: This bourbon has will instantly hit you with heat. The alcohol takes over the nose a bit. You will find oak, caramel and some pepper and raisin in the nose.
Initial taste: The first taste is a nice, smooth oak flavor with caramel and brown sugar. It reminds me of the Elijah Craig Barrel proof initially. Then, you will get a bit of grapefruit citrus notes that are different from many other bourbons that I have had.
Back Palate: The lighter notes turn into burnt caramel and currants as the taste is finishing. The heat takes the the flavors away quickly and leaves a burnt char aftertaste. After it has been opened for at least a month, the burnt char has changed more into a molasses and oak with a hint or orange leaving a nicer finish.
There is a medium viscosity to this WFE 11y. I love a good chew to bourbon, but this one was initially not my favorite. As it has opened up, the aftertaste has mellowed and it less harsh.
Overall, its a decent bourbon. I would give it a 8.5/10
Value: 7.5/10 This is what hurts this. At $100 a bottle, there are better choices. There are more affordable bourbons available at a cheaper cost.