Sunday, December 7, 2014

Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Straight Kentucky Bourbon 9 Year

- $70
- 123.2 Proof
- 9 years

While browsing the shelves the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, looking for the bottle I'd be enjoying during the long weekend, the purple wrapped Willett Family Private Single Barrels hand selected by Binny's were just screaming for me to give them a try. I had never had one of their private bottlings before, and this was just the kind of harder-to-find bottle I was hoping to get for the holiday. This particular barrel was aged for 9 years and bottled at 123.2 proof.

I cracked into the bottle the night before Thanksgiving, and the nose hit me with the alcohol burn of a higher proof bourbon, but also vanilla and leather.

The first thing I noted upon tasting it was the watery texture. I have found that more premium bourbons tend to be heavier, but that was not the case here. It did not detract from my enjoyment in any way, just something I wasn't expecting.

While enjoying my first glass, aside from the alcohol burn, I noticed the toffee and vanilla flavors, with an almost overly vanilla extract flavor that stuck in the back of my throat. It was good, but not as good as I expected.

The next day, though, after filling my belly with turkey and pie, I went back to the bottle, and it was a completely different whiskey. Even having been open for only one day, the sweetness exploded, serving as the perfect drink following a huge meal.

Not only was the corn sweetness now at the front, but the vanilla was less offensive, and now seemed to blend with a cereal flavored undertone, reminding me of frosted Cheerios (don't know how many of you have had this particular cereal, but it's one of my favorites!).

Oddly enough, that flavor then gave way to a bold Mexican chocolate flavor, with a mild cherry aftertaste. This dichotomy of flavors happened to go great with chocolate, particularly the fudge that my parents had sent me from Oregon a week prior for my birthday.

This was an excellent bourbon, and I look forward to the chance to try some of their other private bottlings.

Grade: B+

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