Saturday, December 29, 2018

Willett Family Estate 15 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon - Barrel No. 2371

VITALS:
- $225
- 118.8 Proof
- 15 Years
- Barrel No. 2371
- Region: Kentucky

As far as bourbon hunting goes, I've never been an "active" bourbon hunter. Rather, I've been more of an opportunistic bourbon hunter, making sure to take advantage of opportunities to purchase those rare and special bottles when they present themselves. While I haven't had hauls of BTAC or Pappy, I've managed to land some very nice bottles over the years, and luck had everything to do with it.

As for this bottle, that couldn't be more true. I have purchased bottles on the secondary market two times, once as a straight up purchase, and once as the via an online raffle. Thanks to that online raffle, I was able to purchase this incredible bottle, #32/104 from this barrel, at only a fraction of the price.

Knowing how fortunate I was, not to mention wanting to savor every drop, it took me quite some time to eventually make my way through it, well over a year, tapping into it only on special occasions or when I had good friends over to share it with. Plus, I love the look of these bottles and simply enjoyed looking at it on my whiskey shelf!

The nose is sweet and subtle, with almost no burn despite its high proof. Though not very strong, the aromas are a nice blend of vanilla, caramel, and a light dryness from the oak. These flavors all seemed to be sweetened by a bit of burnt sugar and even a bit of almond.

The flavor hits you immediately with caramel and vanilla. A light spice tickles the tongue up front, and the wood tones add just a touch of bitterness, but not enough to really dry it out. This is an excellent balance of sweet, spicy and dry.

That sweetness seems to linger a bit, almost transforming to some dark sherry notes to go with the rich caramel and even dark chocolate notes, giving it a very decadent flavor. On later pours I even started to get other notes, including a light peanut flavor and even a light saltiness, just enough to keep it well balanced and intriguing.

Interestingly, the peppery spice on the front end didn't linger on the back end like so many spicy whiskeys do. Rather, a thick, oily caramel coating stuck around, seemingly forever. I couldn't help but enjoy that lingering flavor for a while between each sip.

Again, I was lucky to be able to get this bottle, and I couldn't be happier to have had the benefit of enjoying such a fine whiskey. This is certainly one of the best I've ever had, with a flavor profile that matches my tastes nearly to perfection. I miss this one already!

Grade: A+

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