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Every Willett Family Estate Bourbon Mashbill Reviewed [2021]

Last updated Mar 18, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Willett describes their Family Estate bourbon by saying,

Willett Family Estate Bottled Bourbon is a very unusual whiskey in many regards. The Bourbon label exists for the sole purpose of our family’s Private Barrel Selection program and is the only label of its kind in existence. It is an un-chill filtered [more commonly non-chill filtered or NCF], barrel proof, straight Bourbon Whiskey of unusual depth and complexity.

Willett Family Estate bourbon has reached cult status in the bourbon community. Partly because they exemplify craftsmanship and the spirit of the golden age of bourbon. Pappy’s well-known motto was “always fine bourbon” and Willett always makes fine bourbon.

And partly because not unlike many premium bourbon brands back in the early days, you could find Willett bourbon 20 plus years old for under $100. That endeared this craft distillery to the bourbon community and the continued quality kept them even in the midst of the bourbon market skyrocketing. That’s why you have niche bourbon groups just for lovers of Willett. That’s why there is Willett barrel decoder app. That’s why bourbon nerds show them unconditional love.

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Willett Family Estate Bourbon Mashbills

Willett Distillery

Willett Family Estate Mashbills
Willett MashbillCornRyeWheatBarleyBarrel Entry Proof
Original Bourbon72%13%N/A15%125
High Corn Bourbon79%7%N/A14%103
Wheated Bourbon65N/A2015115
High Rye Bourbon5238N/A10125
Rye - High Rye1174N/A15110
Rye - Low Rye3451N/A15110

Willett Barrel Decoder

Willett Distillery Visitor Center

John Sinclair started a Google doc for every Willett Family Estate single barrel bottle compiled by lovers of Willett bourbon. You can also check out the WFE Pocket app for iPhone and Android for a Willett barrel decoder. Email whiskeyidrops@gmail.com to add a WFE to the list.

Willett Family Estate Barrels & Mashbills
Barrel NumberMash Bill
9X-12XLow Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
18X-20XOriginal Bourbon Mash Bill
22X-23XLow Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
40XOriginal Bourbon Mash Bill
42XHigh Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
60X-63XLow Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
65X-72XHigh Corn Bourbon Mash Bill + High Entry Proof
98XHigh Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
14XXLow Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
19XX-21XXHigh Corn Bourbon Mash Bill + High Entry Proof
22XX-24XXHigh Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
26XX-28XXOriginal Bourbon Mash Bill
30XXOriginal Bourbon Mash Bill
31XXHigh Rye Bourbon Mash Bill
32XX-33XXWheated Bourbon Mash Bill
36XXHigh Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
42XXOriginal Bourbon Mash Bill
47XX-48XXHigh Rye Bourbon Mash Bill
52XXHigh Corn Bourbon Mash Bill + High Entry Proof
60XXHigh Rye Rye Whiskey Mash Bill
11243Experimental Wheated Bourbon Mash Bill
Originally compiled by Scott Hanson for the Willett Facebook community.

Willett Family Estate Bourbon 11-Years-Old Review

Willett Family Estate Bourbon 11-Years-Old Review

Willett Family Estate Bourbon
Willett Family Estate BourbonDetails
Mashbill72% Corn, 13% Malted Barley, and 15% Rye
Mashbill TypeOriginal Bourbon
Barrel1640
Bottle Yield134 Bottles
Entry Proof125 Proof
In the Bottle122.2 Proof
ABV61.1%
Age11 Years
Release TypeWillett Gift Shop
Size750 mL
DistilleryWillett Distillery
Bardstown, KY
ProsComplex, Full Flavor Finish
ConsNo Glaring Weaknesses
RatingGold 95 Points
InventoryWFE Bourbon Is a Must Buy

Think Jurassic Park mosquitos preserved in dark amber. Plus this WFE bourbon glimmers like honey in my glass. It completely coats my Glencairn whiskey glass with oily, rich bourbon. That’s always a good sign in my book.

Nose Dive – 96 Points

As I was examining this bourbon in my glass, I was picking up distinct notes of caramel, overripe berries, and musty leather-bound books. Now to put my nose in this glass. All the notes above show up. But I also get rye and hints of ethanol. The 122.2 proof shows up to the party.

Taste – 93 Points

The front palate is creamy and caramelly. The mid-palate is brown sugar and oak then you get the red peppercorn that fills the mouth and tingles the tongue.

Finish – 97 Points

The finish is lllooonnngggg. There’s an overarching oak note that’s a lush bouquet (versus a sharp single oak note s/o to Chris for helping me put a finger on the flavor). It offers just a hint of caramel at the start then it’s baking spice and black pepper and it just sticks to your bones.

Verdict – Gold 95 out of 100 Points

The aged Willett Family Estate bourbons I’ve tasted share something with the great Booker’s batches I’ve loved. They’re big and bold. They’re consistent from nose to finish. This single barrel doesn’t disappoint.

The WFE Bourbon 11-years-old reviewed was provided by Brad McKay from my local bourbon group. Thank you.

Willett 6-Year-Old High Rye Bourbon Review

Willett 6 Year Old High Rye Bourbon

Willett High Rye Bourbon 6 Years (Pursuit Spirits)
Willett High Rye Bourbon 6 YearsDetails
Mashbill52% Corn, 10% Malted Barley, and 38% Rye
Mashbill TypeHigh Rye
BarrelUnknown
Bottle Yield186 Bottles
Entry Proof125 Proof
In the Bottle130.5 Proof
ABV65.25%
Age6 Years
Release TypePursuit Spirits Episode 017
ReleasedOct. 2019
Size750 mL
DistilleryWillett Distillery
1869 Loretto Rd.
Bardstown, KY 40004
ProsComplex Baking Spice Bomb
ConsLacks Counterbalancing Sweetness
RatingGold 93.4 out of 100 Points
InventoryStock

OK, don’t throw stones. Technically, this Willett high rye bourbon isn’t a family estate label. It’s a Pursuit Spirits Single Barrel private label, but my goal is to review each of the Willett mashbills, so here we go. First thing I notice? The color is dark for a 6-year bourbon. It’s dark rust. It’s also got good viscosity with long legs.

Nose – 94 out of 100 Points

The nose presents some alcohol followed by warming baking spice. This Willett High Rye bourbon reminds me of a warm cinnamon bun with raisin, walnuts, and cinnamon glaze. I also pick up just a hint of orange zest.

Taste – 95 out of 100 Points

This drinks like a high rye bourbon. The entire palate warms like an easy bake oven. I pick up charred cinnamon, walnuts, toasted oak, and clove. This is a baking spice bomb.

Finish – 93 out of 100 Points

This finish is long. It’s surprisingly not hot but as with the nose and palate baking spice is the star.

Complexity – 92 out of 100 Points

It’s a high rye bourbon so the baking spice is expected but I did find myself longing for more deep, rich caramel. That would have taken this high rye Willett bourbon out of the atmosphere.

Value – 93 out of 100 Points

This was $114.99. Overall, high for a 6-year-old bourbon but reasonable for a Willett bourbon.

Verdict – Gold 93.4 out of 100 Points

At the 4 to 6 year range, you start to tell those playing for a World Series from those who just playing the game. Some distilleries struggle to produce great gold-rated whiskey in the 4 to 6-year range and others are hitting dingers over the Green Monster. Willett hits dingers all day long.

Willett Family Estate High Corn Bourbon Review

Full Review Coming Soon

Willett Family Estate Wheated Bourbon Review

Full Review Coming Soon

Chef Sean Brock and Master Distiller of Willett Distillery Drew Kulsveen

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Why trust The Bourbon Bard?

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys.
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Comments

1 Comment

  1. Mike Beyersdoerfer

    I cant wait to try your Wheat Bourbon

    I really like the 4 year old Rye

    When will it be available?

    Reply

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