Posts tagged ‘Kentucky Vintage’

Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel Review

Today, I am reviewing Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel Bourbon.  The name is quite a mouthful, and the bottle is quite a sight.  I ranked it as one of my favorite bottle designs, and you can see why.  The bourbon in the bottle is a single barrel bourbon bottled at 94 proof.  It is distributed by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, who also distribute Rowan’s Creek, Noah’s Mill, and Kentucky Vintage, just to name a few.

On the nose, Willett is a real treat.  It is light, elegant, and sweet.  There are notes of freshly cut flowers, caramel popcorn, vanilla, herbs, herbal tea, and some light wood spices.  The palate is light-bodied, giving way to flavors of caramel apples, maple syrup, toasted coconut, some light herbal spices, and some floral notes.  The finish is not especially long, but it does taste very nice.  The finish reminds me a lot of caramel popcorn, but there is are also some light herbal and wood spices that come through.

Overall, Willett is a very unique bourbon, a bit reminiscent of some of the Four Roses products I’ve reviewed. My only complaint is that it does not have a lot of body, even when bottled at 94 proof.  I think that it could be bottled at an even higher proof, with a lot of benefits.  As it stands, Willett is not a great value buy as it is relatively pricey, but it is a fantastic whiskey.  It makes a great gift (especially because of the bottle design), and it should be savored slowly and responsibly.  It is easy to drink a bit too much of this one… My grade: B-.  Price: $40-45/750ml.  This is a very enjoyable whiskey to keep around, but there are better (in my opinion) bourbons on the market for less money.

Advertisements

Bourbon Rankings (Taste)

I have had several people ask me to provide a ranking of the bourbons I have reviewed based solely on the bourbon.  Well, here are my bourbon grades.  Check out my grading scale here.

1.  Booker’s (A)

2. Four Roses Single Barrel (A-)

3. Russell’s Reserve 10 Year (B+)

4. Jefferson’s 18 yr. Presidential Select (B+)

5. Noah’s Mill (B+)

6. Rowan’s Creek (B+)

7. Maker’s 46 (B+)

8. Rock Hill Farms (B+/B)

9. Wild Turkey 101 (B+/B)

10. Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2002 (B)

11. Woodford Reserve (B)

12. Eagle Rare 10 Year Single Barrel (B)

13. Blanton’s Original (B)

14. Wild Turkey Rare Breed (B)

15. Four Roses Small Batch (B)

16. Knob Creek 9 Year Single Barrel Reserve (B/B-)

17. Elmer T. Lee (B/B-)

18. Basil Hayden’s (B-)

19. Buffalo Trace (B-)

20. Jim Beam Devil’s Cut (B-)

21. Elijah Craig 12 Year (B-)

22. W.L. Weller 12 Year (B-)

23. Willett Pot Still Single Barrel Family Reserve (B-)

24. Jefferson’s (B-)

25. Four Roses Yellow Label (C+)

26. Wild Turkey 81 (C+)

27. Old Forester (C/C+)

28. Knob Creek 9 Year Small Batch (C)

29. Old Grand-Dad Bonded (C)

30. Old Weller Antique (C)

31. Jim Beam Black Label (C)

32. Evan Williams Black Label (C)

33. Bulliet Frontier (C)

34. Berkshire Bourbon (C)

35.  Fighting Cock 6 Year (C-)

36. Kentucky Vintage (C-)

37. John E. Fitzgerald Larceny (C-)

38. Maker’s Mark (C-)

39. Wild Turkey 80 (C-)

40. Jim Beam White Label (C-)

41. Jesse James (D+)

Those are my bourbon rankings ranked solely on my tastes.  That’s the fun of bourbon, you might rank these completely different.  Which ones would you change?

Kentucky Vintage Bourbon Review

Kentucky Vintage is the third product that I have reviewed by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (the other two being Noah’s Mill and Rowan’s Creek).  Kentucky Vintage is a small batch bourbon bottled at 90 proof.  There is no age statement on this whiskey, but I suspect that it is between 6-10 years old, and probably a batching of whiskeys of different ages.  This is an interesting whiskey to review on this site because I have seen Kentucky Vintage at many different prices depending on where you get it.  I have seen it sold for as little as $22 a bottle, but I have also seen it sold for as much $45.  Therefore, take where you live and where you are buying it if you are interested in picking up a bottle of Kentucky Vintage.

On the nose, Kentucky Vintage is a quite shy.  It takes a few drops of water to open it up to big whiffs of caramel and charred oak.  On the palate, Kentucky Vintage has a good, full body to it, and it is very sweet.  The biggest flavors are brown sugar and caramel, with some oak coming through towards the back of the palate.  The finish gives off strong oak, some tannin, and a slight whiff of caramel after a while.  When drank neat, the finish is long and warming, but with a few drops of water to open the nose up, the finish is drastically shortened.

Overall, Kentucky Vintage falls short of my expectations of KBD’s small batch bourbons.  Noah’s Mill and Rowan’s Creek both leave Kentucky Vintage in the dust in my opinion.  Kentucky Vintage is not very complex, and the oak is not integrated very well.  However, I do think the sweet character of Kentucky Vintage would make a great mixer for certain whiskey-based mixed drinks, so if you find a bottle for cheap, it might be worth the buy.  My grade: C-.  Price: $25-30/750ml.  This is a good mixing bourbon, but not much of a sipper.