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wadewood

Willett's own distillate now in Rowan's, WPS, Johnny Drum

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wadewood

A month back I spotted that new bottles of Johnny Drum bourbon that now said Distilled by Willett. This should mean it's their distilled bourbon as compared to prior versions which said Bottled by and were sourced.
 

Today, I saw new versions of Rowan's Creek and Willett Pot Still that both clearly show Distilled by. The Noah's Mill still had the Bottled by language.
 

Any regular drinkers of these should save some from their prior bottle and then compare to what's in the bottles with new wording. Willett makes several different bourbon mashbills so I'm also curious if any of these are from a particular mashbill.

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Kyjd75
Posted (edited)

I participated in a Willett barrel selection several months ago that involved only their own distillate and I was very impressed by the quality of what they had produced so far.  Since then I've bought several bottles of their "new" Old Bardstown which is their own bourbon. and imho it is quite good.  Today I bought a bottle of Rowan's Creek distilled by Willett.  Excellent.  I think Willett really has something going with their own distilled bourbons, as they continue to age.  As to the different mashbills, we sampled at least three different ones during our barrel selection.  I preferred the high rye (as usual) but they were all very good.  I think Willett really has it going right now and in the years ahead, as their barrels continue to age, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the premium bourbon market.  Oh yes, one last note.  We also sampled their six year old rye.  Incredible is all I can say.

Edited by Kyjd75

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Clueby
2 hours ago, Kyjd75 said:

their "new" Old Bardstown which is their own bourbon. and imho it is quite good.

I bought a bottle of OB right after it became their own distillate a couple years ago. It was the 90pf, not the BIB. It remains the worst $20 I've ever spent. It was horrible, dreadful stuff.  I trust that their stuff has gotten better over time but I haven't been able to bring myself to try again. I did get a bottle of the OB Estate as a gift in December and it was barely "just ok". I would not be tempted to buy it.

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wadewood
Posted (edited)

10 years of aging is my sweet spot for most KY bourbon.  Willett to me just isn't there yet.  I've tried at least 15 different WFE bottles up to 6 years old and nothing so far has been great.  Most have been mediocre and 1 or 2 good.  I do think it will get there.

Edited by wadewood

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flahute
2 minutes ago, wadewood said:

10 years of aging is my sweet spot for most KY bourbon.  Willett to me just isn't there yet.  I've tried at least 15 different WFE bottles up to 6 years old and nothing so far has been great.  Most have been mediocre and 1 or 2 good.  I do think it will get there.

I'm with you on this. Most of their distillate has a distinct cinnamon red hots flavor. Gets masked in the ryes so those are better. Some bourbons don't have as much and those I like better.

It does seem to subside with age so I hope it gets there at higher ages. It also may just be that Willett is like Dickel in that you either love it or hate it. 

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fishnbowljoe

As I recall, Willett only has a few smaller sized rickhouses on their property. Does anyone know if they’re planning on building any more rickhouses? Do they rent rickhouse space elsewhere? If the answer to these questions is no, then there’s limited space available, and they’ll basically have to limit their production. To me, this means their prices will rise exponentially. How much for a 5 yr old Rye? <_<  I wonder.....🤔

 

Biba! Joe

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0895
28 minutes ago, fishnbowljoe said:

 How much for a 5 yr old Rye? <_<  I wonder.....🤔

 

Biba! Joe

The 6 year single barrel rye of their distillate was $150 last year.  I'm weak for good rye and I like their 3-4 year, so I caved and bought one bottle.  Need to try it sometime.

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smokinjoe
1 hour ago, wadewood said:

10 years of aging is my sweet spot for most KY bourbon.  Willett to me just isn't there yet.  I've tried at least 15 different WFE bottles up to 6 years old and nothing so far has been great.  Most have been mediocre and 1 or 2 good.  I do think it will get there.

I think/hope they’ll get there, too.  But, I’ve not seen the progress that I would want/expect, so far.  

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MikeF
7 hours ago, fishnbowljoe said:

As I recall, Willett only has a few smaller sized rickhouses on their property. Does anyone know if they’re planning on building any more rickhouses? Do they rent rickhouse space elsewhere? If the answer to these questions is no, then there’s limited space available, and they’ll basically have to limit their production. To me, this means their prices will rise exponentially. How much for a 5 yr old Rye? <_<  I wonder.....🤔

 

Biba! Joe

They have 8 rickhouses on the property, each holding 5-6,000 barrels.  They only produce 5,000 barrels a year, not sure if they have plans on increasing production?  I am one of those who is a fan of many of their products.

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Kyjd75

When we were doing the previously mentioned barrel selection at Willett, one of their reps mentioned that they did have plans to build some additional rickhouses on site.  They have also been rebuilding a couple of existing rickhouses that I assume needed repair.  Not a bad idea considering what has happened to other rickhouses in the area!  Last time I was at Willett was March 15, and did not see any signs of new construction of rickhouses going on.  Wife and I will be there July 11 and we will take a good look around to see if thee are any signs of new construction.

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fishnbowljoe

Thanks for the responses.  I know they’ve been busy there over the last few years. They’ve done an amazing amount of work on the grounds, and the visitor center/bar/tasting room. How are things coming along at the B&B (?) down by the pond? 
 

I have to admit I was being a bit sarcastic in my previous post. Sadly, most of my experiences with the Kulsveens and at the distillery haven’t been what could be called pleasant ones. I’ve been lied to, sandbagged, and basically called a liar. Long stories.... Yeah, you might say I hold a grudge. <_<

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0895
19 minutes ago, fishnbowljoe said:


 

I have to admit I was being a bit sarcastic in my previous post. Sadly, most of my experiences with the Kulsveens and at the distillery haven’t been what could be called pleasant ones. I’ve been lied to, sandbagged, and basically called a liar. Long stories.... Yeah, you might say I hold a grudge. <_<


You’re supposed to pay your money, keep your mouth shut,  follow along, and drink your sample of pot still.  Truth seeking will only get you into trouble, Fox Mulder. 😉

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fishnbowljoe
30 minutes ago, 0895 said:


You’re supposed to pay your money, keep your mouth shut,  follow along, and drink your sample of pot still.  Truth seeking will only get you into trouble, Fox Mulder. 😉

Thanks for helping me keep things in perspective. I think.🤪

 

Biba! Joe

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0895
2 hours ago, fishnbowljoe said:

Thanks for helping me keep things in perspective. I think.🤪

 

Biba! Joe

Happy to help.

😂

I don’t really bother going there myself anymore, unless Im really bored and want to visit the cats.

 

Ill gladly listen to your stories though, if I ever make it to the gazebo get together.

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smokinjoe
1 minute ago, 0895 said:

 

Ill gladly listen to your stories though, if I ever make it to the gazebo get together.


😂🤣😂🤣😂. Man, you have no idea what you just got yourself in to....😬

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fishnbowljoe
43 minutes ago, smokinjoe said:


😂🤣😂🤣😂. Man, you have no idea what you just got yourself in to....😬

Heee heee heee.......😈

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FacePlant
7 hours ago, MikeF said:

They have 8 rickhouses on the property, each holding 5-6,000 barrels.  They only produce 5,000 barrels a year, not sure if they have plans on increasing production?  I am one of those who is a fan of many of their products.

I think when MikeF has something to say it's important. 9 posts in 15yrs? NOW THAT'S A RECORD

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Vosgar
4 hours ago, 0895 said:

Ill gladly listen to your stories though, if I ever make it to the gazebo get together.

Oh Eric........... 🤣🤣🤣

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0895
4 hours ago, smokinjoe said:


😂🤣😂🤣😂. Man, you have no idea what you just got yourself in to....😬

 

4 hours ago, fishnbowljoe said:

Heee heee heee.......😈

 

21 minutes ago, Vosgar said:

Oh Eric........... 🤣🤣🤣


🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️🤦🏻‍♂️

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Bob_Loblaw

I am with @flahute that all of the Willett FE distillate has a very distinct red hot cinnamon flavor that to me is overpowering.  It was better, but still present in the 6yr bottle I got last year.  At this point, I have completely lost interest as by the time the juice is in the 8-10 year range I predict it will be $180-240 per bottle price range, so even if it gets significantly better it is still an easy pass.    

 

I was at Willett last year and if I recall correctly (it was after a 4R tasting) they choose to make something like 25 barrels/day.  It's interesting how Buff Trace gets all sorts of flack for being unable to keep any allocated items on the shelf, people are now complaining about unreasonably low MSRPs (because it incentivises flippers to hunt) , AND is in the midst of a 10 year 1.2 Billion dollar expansion.  Yet, there is Willett, a very small distillery making much less than current capacity, and charging exorbitant prices for just ok bourbon and people FLOCK to pay those prices.  As someone mentioned in a different thread, that's some damn good marketing!  I am not that market.  

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fishnbowljoe
1 minute ago, Bob_Loblaw said:

I am with @flahute that all of the Willett FE distillate has a very distinct red hot cinnamon flavor that to me is overpowering.  It was better, but still present in the 6yr bottle I got last year.  At this point, I have completely lost interest as by the time the juice is in the 8-10 year range I predict it will be $180-240 per bottle price range, so even if it gets significantly better it is still an easy pass.    

 

I was at Willett last year and if I recall correctly (it was after a 4R tasting) they choose to make something like 25 barrels/day.  It's interesting how Buff Trace gets all sorts of flack for being unable to keep any allocated items on the shelf, people are now complaining about unreasonably low MSRPs (because it incentivises flippers to hunt) , AND is in the midst of a 10 year 1.2 Billion dollar expansion.  Yet, there is Willett, a very small distillery making much less than current capacity, and charging exorbitant prices for just ok bourbon and people FLOCK to pay those prices.  As someone mentioned in a different thread, that's some damn good marketing!  I am not that market.  

Thank you sir, may I have another?! 👍 :D

 

Biba! Joe

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PaulO

I'm not flocking there.

The sourced OB 90, and 101 I brought back from KY years ago were both awful.

As stated above, by the time their own distillate has matured enough, price will be way out of line.

It reminds me of the stock character in movies - the condescending French waiter.

Also, reminds me of the fable about the Emperor's New Clothes. 

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flahute
13 minutes ago, Bob_Loblaw said:

I am with @flahute that all of the Willett FE distillate has a very distinct red hot cinnamon flavor that to me is overpowering.  It was better, but still present in the 6yr bottle I got last year.  At this point, I have completely lost interest as by the time the juice is in the 8-10 year range I predict it will be $180-240 per bottle price range, so even if it gets significantly better it is still an easy pass.    

 

I was at Willett last year and if I recall correctly (it was after a 4R tasting) they choose to make something like 25 barrels/day.  It's interesting how Buff Trace gets all sorts of flack for being unable to keep any allocated items on the shelf, people are now complaining about unreasonably low MSRPs (because it incentivises flippers to hunt) , AND is in the midst of a 10 year 1.2 Billion dollar expansion.  Yet, there is Willett, a very small distillery making much less than current capacity, and charging exorbitant prices for just ok bourbon and people FLOCK to pay those prices.  As someone mentioned in a different thread, that's some damn good marketing!  I am not that market.  

The people complaining about BT's low MSRP enabling flippers don't realize that higher MSRP's just mean higher flipping prices. Exhibit A for this is Willett. Drew saw the people flipping right from the parking lot and made a decision to capture that profit for himself. The result is even higher secondary prices and I've watched it creep up even more year after year. There are always newbies to the hobby who want "only the best" and who don't realize what prices used to be because they weren't there at the time. Those people are willing to pay up. Next year there will be a new crop who will pay even more. It has to top out at some point but none of us know when that point will be met.

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parksmart
1 hour ago, flahute said:

The people complaining about BT's low MSRP enabling flippers don't realize that higher MSRP's just mean higher flipping prices. Exhibit A for this is Willett. Drew saw the people flipping right from the parking lot and made a decision to capture that profit for himself. The result is even higher secondary prices and I've watched it creep up even more year after year. There are always newbies to the hobby who want "only the best" and who don't realize what prices used to be because they weren't there at the time. Those people are willing to pay up. Next year there will be a new crop who will pay even more. It has to top out at some point but none of us know when that point will be met.

And when that point is eventually met, we’re not going to suddenly see a dramatic free fall in prices back to the “good ol’ days” (whether each person's perspective on when that was is many years, or even many decades, ago).  
 

I used to have a similar conversation with folks who claimed they were waiting for the next real estate meltdown a la what transpired in 2008-2010, and they were going to swoop in and buy up properties in the San Francisco Bay Area for a fraction off of current prices.  When I asked them at what discount level they’d  wait for prices to descend to before swooping in, every single person hadn’t thought about that.  Answers were in the 33% to 50% off current levels. I laughed and said every real estate crash is not the same, and you’re not the only smart guy/gal who would have money ready should such an occurrence ever happen again.  The economic turbulence from the pandemic and civil unrest for much of 2020 have done little to discount housing prices here.  By the time the next correction of the market happens, prices will be so high that even a major haircut will not get prices even close to their lows in 2008-2010.

 

Until another beverage gains traction as a tastier and cooler (social reputation, not temperature) alternative to bourbon & rye, I predict we’re never going to see a massive decline of folks looking to expand their bourbon/rye horizons.......

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wadewood

I also question if they have enough of their own distillate aged at least 4 years that are going in these brands.  The Pot Still bottle is a big seller at least here in Texas.  

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