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FasterHorses

Willett

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FasterHorses

Where did their yeast originate for their current own distillate? Rye and Bourbon? 

 

Im not up to speed on their complete  history. Im under the impression that for quite some time they bottled MGP rye and  bourbon. But before that did they have their own yeast strains etc? If so, are they using yeast from that era? Like SAOS and BM, are they running out of MGP or do they still contract some with MGP.  

 

And if anyone has time.. what is their historical tie-in with other Bardstown distilleries? 

 

My MGP question could be moot if my understanding is incorrect. Thanks in advance. I just finished the 4 year small batch rye at 107 proof and am very impressed even though I didnt want to be. 

 

 

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0895

Yeast information is usually proprietary and closely guarded with every distillery. 

 

Willett for many years have been sourcing bourbon from various places and selling it either in blends or as single barrel products.   Some of it seemingly came from mgp in IN.  Some of it also seemingly came from KY.  This is just my interpretation from how some of the bottles are labeled.  I have no insider information. 

 

In 2012 I believe is when they started distilling on their own again, and that is likely where anything “house distilled” has come from.  Examples include family estate bourbon and rye(2-6yrs labeled as distilled & aged by Willett) and old Bardstown 90 tan label & 100p white label BiB (square bottles, also labeled “distilled by Willett”). 

They are still currently selling sourced products as well (older aged family estate, pot still, Johnny drum, etc).

 

Since you genuinely seem interested, I would recommend you go down there and take a tour.  They are usually very willing to share information and history that’s not proprietary. 

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flahute

Yes, as noted by 0895 they sourced from both MGP and virtually all of the major KY distilleries.

I don't know if their current yeast was saved from when they stopped distilling a few decades ago. That's a good question. 

What I can tell you is that they are no longer buying bulk whiskey from anyone and haven't for a couple years. It got too expensive.

This is why they've slowed way down in releasing those at the gift shop. You will continue to see those releases wane while their own product releases become more frequent. 

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FasterHorses

Flahute..do you know at what point in the process that yeast strains can be captured and then propagated? This is probably a basic chemistry question but i guess they could have endless supplies of their old distillate but without the yeast spores it would be impossible to recreate? 

 

Is there a consensus in the community as to which bottlings were better products? Ie the MGP vs the old Willett distillate vs HH distillate (mentioned on wikipedia)? And so far does their newer distillate seem to hold up to the old stuff? Is there more hope that this will be higher quality distillate than what we’re tasting from SAOS AND  even HW now that theyre bottling their own? ( not sure what people are saying about the HW products now).

Edited by FasterHorses

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wadewood

As others noted they sourced from many.  Primary source was the distillery they could throw a stone and hit - HH.  Drew once told me he had sourced from every major distillery except for MM.  As far as yeast strains, I suspect they are using what 99% of distillers use these days - bulk dried yeast purchased from companies that specialize in that.  These yeast companies have many many different strains of yeast applicable to making whiskey, depending on your conditions and desired outcome.

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PaulO

The MGP sourced will all be labeled "distilled in Indiana".  They have to list state of origin if different than where it's bottled.

As to Wade's comment, that's interesting.  In the past, I recall Willett had sourced from all major KY distilleries, except one.  Truly the KBD brands I tried tasted like HH.

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kevinbrink

I would think the KBD Brands are a blend of whiskey from multiple KY sources especially in recent years as they are not very consistent, some batches of Noah's Mill in recent years have (to me) had a distinctly BF vibe to them, which is to say I didn't care for them.

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flahute
1 hour ago, kevinbrink said:

I would think the KBD Brands are a blend of whiskey from multiple KY sources especially in recent years as they are not very consistent, some batches of Noah's Mill in recent years have (to me) had a distinctly BF vibe to them, which is to say I didn't care for them.

This is correct and they are also mixing in their own distillate now.

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ThirstyinOhio
On ‎2‎/‎3‎/‎2019 at 1:51 PM, wadewood said:

As others noted they sourced from many.  Primary source was the distillery they could throw a stone and hit - HH.  Drew once told me he had sourced from every major distillery except for MM.  As far as yeast strains, I suspect they are using what 99% of distillers use these days - bulk dried yeast purchased from companies that specialize in that.  These yeast companies have many many different strains of yeast applicable to making whiskey, depending on your conditions and desired outcome.

According to Drew*, Wade is correct.  They are just using a sourced yeast from some company that specializes in yeast.  I don't believe they are throwing it in dry like some of the others guys do as I'm pretty sure that I've seen a yeast incubator system onsite, but that doesn't really make much difference. 

 

*I asked Drew where his yeast came from a few years ago during a private tour.  I assume that hasn't changed but who knows.

Edited by ThirstyinOhio
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PaulO

I should add, it's been years since I tried any of the KBD brands.

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FasterHorses
5 minutes ago, PaulO said:

I should add, it's been years since I tried any of the KBD brands.

The Willet 4 yr rye small batch is worth a purchase. 

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flahute
39 minutes ago, FasterHorses said:

The Willet 4 yr rye small batch is worth a purchase. 

This admittedly pedantic, but I believe there's a difference between KBD brands and WFE which is what the four year rye falls under. KBD brands are "every day" so to speak while the WFE bottles are supposed to be the best of the best. The lines do get blurred for sure but I've always separated the two in terms of intent.

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watchdog49
19 hours ago, FasterHorses said:

The Willet 4 yr rye small batch is worth a purchase. 

I second this.  Was able to pick up two bottles of this Family Reserve while in Bardstown last fall and I have been sipping judiciously....it is quite good to my taste; better than the 3 yr (although come to think of it, that was really good too).

Edited by watchdog49

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wadewood
On 2/4/2019 at 9:22 PM, flahute said:

This admittedly pedantic, but I believe there's a difference between KBD brands and WFE which is what the four year rye falls under. KBD brands are "every day" so to speak while the WFE bottles are supposed to be the best of the best. The lines do get blurred for sure but I've always separated the two in terms of intent.

Most of the KBD stuff is still sourced.  The Old Bardstown square bottles is their own whiskey and there is nothing less special other than age/proof than their own juice in WFE bottles.  Well of course the price.

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wadewood
On 2/4/2019 at 2:14 PM, ThirstyinOhio said:

Wade is correct. 

My 3 favorite words that I like to hear from my wife usually, but I'll take here as well, lol.  Cheers

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