Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon

Our quest to fill our shelves with the most interesting and compelling spirits in the world has led us to Willett Distillery, which produces a line of outstanding bourbons and rye whiskies. Here we feature the Pot Still Reserve Bourbon, which, as the name indicates, undergoes its second distillation in a traditional copper pot still. This type of still is not as efficient as the more common column still (which is used for the first distillation), but it produces spirits with layers of complexity and a rich, full texture.

The 94-proof bourbon is bottled from a single barrel, and bottles are numbered. Each barrel produces roughly 250-270 bottles. The whiskey pours a light amber hue and offers a crisp nose with apple, oak, and some lingering pepper. It’s woody on the tongue. Six to seven years of barrel aging impart apple, cherry, oak, buttered corn, and toast flavors. This bourbon is made in a fairly delicate style, but the flavors are assertive and there is real substance here. A splash of water will soften the wood and toast a bit, bringing out the fruit.

The Willett family has deep roots in bourbon country, although the family’s first venture into distilling was brandy-making, with some recipes dating back to the 1800’s. After moving to Kentucky, the Willett’s began distilling the bourbon for which the region was famous. Willett also makes two rye whiskies, as well as the Rowan’s Creek and Noah’s Mill bourbons.

Prichard’s Single Malt Whiskey

Distiller Phil Prichard’s from Prichard’s Distillery of Kelso, TN has created a richer style Irish Whiskey using a single malt recipe.  Like Irish whiskey Mr. Prichards whiskey uses a single malt, barley.  Keeping with Irish tradition, the whiskey is distilled in traditional copper pot stills giving it a characteristically richer, more viscous texture on the palate.  Perhaps Phil’s whiskey though is a touch bit richer than your traditional Irish whiskey which creates a sweeter maltiness by using a combination of malted and unmalted barley.  It is unknown whether Phil uses the same combination but on the palate the whiskey seems to be 100 percent malted whiskey, producing a richer more powerful malt flavor.  The whiskey has a more noticeable oak presence than your traditional Irish whiskey.  On the nose Prichard’s Single Malt whiskey elicits notes of honey, caramel, with soft toffee, and butterscotch.  After adding a drop of water to help open the bouquet, aromas of spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla add to the lingering finish.  With it’s pleasant, rounded finish, this Single Malt Whiskey is best enjoyed neat or with a splash of water.

Balvenie Doublewood 17 Year

Like the famous 12 year old expression this Balvenie has been matured in two types of cask, but has aged for an additional 5 years, adding to its already rich texture obtained by the secondary aging in Sherry Casks.  On the nose you will get pleasant honey and green apple aromas followed by warm winter spices.  Vanilla, and honeysuckle round out the palate and leads to a lingering finish.  This whiskey has an extremely long finish.

 

Martin Miller’s Westbourne Strength Gin

Martin Miller’s is the quintessential English gin distillery, producing premium gins in two expressions, including the critically-acclaimed Westbourne Strength. This neutral spirit is distilled in a three-story-high pot still (named Angela, incidentally), after which the vapor passes gently through a basket containing botanicals sourced from all over the world. Interestingly, following distillation, the spirit is shipped to a facility in Iceland, where it is cut with glacial water and blended to its final form from multiple batches. Martin Miller’s shows a purity of botanical expression that is not achieved by any other commercial gin.

 

Cuestion Anejo Tequila

Cuestion (“Question”) is a charming new label in premium tequila. The packaging plays on the upside-down question mark that begins a question in the Spanish language, which creates a whimsical impression. The spirit shows an interesting balance between sweet and spicy agave flavors. A minimum of six months in used Jack Daniel’s barrels contributes a lavish, rich texture and also imparts clove, nutmeg, and allspice flavors. The non-traditional barrel regimen sets Cuestion apart from other offerings in the category, and makes this a fine choice for one who appreciates all styles of premium tequila.