Willett Pot Still Reserve

Once a prominent English family in the pewter business, the Willetts took to whiskey making just after the Civil War. A long line of Willetts carried the tradition through Prohibition, both World Wars (four Willett brothers took a hiatus to serve in WWII), and on through the 1980s when Willett Distillery became Kentucky Bourbon Distillers.

One of the more unique bottles on the market, Willet Pot Still Reserve comes in a pot still shape, which is ironic because apparently a column still is used for much of the distilling process. Nonetheless, this single barrel product was introduced in 2008. Since they shut down distilling operations from the early ‘80s until 2012, KBD relied on neighboring distilleries for their distillate. Given that the age of each barrel is between 8 and 10 years, this Pot Still Reserve began elsewhere.

Until we can find the first Willett distilled Pot Still Reserve in 2020, let’s give this one a go…

Willett Pot Still Reserve

Kentucky Bourbon Distillers
94 proof
$40 at Burris Liquors in Charleston, SC
Bottle No. 176 of 281
Barrel No. 1,976

Color: Light marigold.

Nose: Citrus and maple sweetness. Lots of new wood, like beach house lumber.

Tasting notes: This bottle pops with rye spice- quite a heavy oak presence and just a hint of citrus to keep things pleasant. A short, dry finish.

Overall: B-. Three of us recently sipped this blind against Maker’s Mark 46 and Evan Williams Single Barrel (2004). We all agreed Willet Pot Still Reserve was our least favorite. It certainly wins the cool bottle award though.

Peer Reviews: