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The Willett family owned the Willett Distilling Company until they sold it to Even Kulsveen in 1984. The company was renamed Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. in order to make the company name more recognisable as being associated with Kentucky whiskey for the purpose of international marketing. Willett label is used for premium bourbons of various ages, and for some premium rye whiskeys. KBD has not operated the Willett distillery to make whiskey since it acquired the facilities, but instead has acquired and labeled whiskeys produced at other unnamed distilleries. The reviewed whiskey was from barrel #8065, distilled March 28, 1996
Nose: brown sugar, like an aged rum, black cherry, plum, rye spices, subtantial oak, with just hints of vanilla and caramel
Taste: the spices explode all over the palate--this is spicy like the spiciest rye whiskey. The alcohol taste reinforces the spicy effect. The wood is very strong here as well. This is a bourbon of enormous flavour, able to keep company with George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller, and Old Potrero. Vanilla, caramel, oak, black pepper, cherry and plum dance and crackle all about the mouth. A spicy beginning gives way to developing sweetness, which becomes all-encompassing
Finish: these enormous flavours just last and last, doing a slow fade together. The sweetness remains strong in the mouth throughout the finish
Balance: Lovely, lovely, lovely! I have had other Willett Bourbons, and have loved them all. This bourbon is quite delicious and quite balanced, for all of its enormous powerful flavour. Even though this premium product sells at a premium price, I have never once heard anyone complain about being dissatisfied with a Willett Bourbon.