Sour Mash Manifesto

Bourbon and American Whiskey

Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel, (aka Buttered Popcorn) Bottle 145/Barrel 4799

Willett Pot Still Reserve Single Barrel, Bottle 145/Barrel 4799, 47% Abv/94 Proof, $38-45

This is a very interesting bourbon and somewhat unique. First sniff opens up tightly and takes time to evolve and deepen. It offers whiffs of vanilla, lightly toasted oak, and very faint spice notes. Some maple and burned sugar peeks through as well. All very restrained and light, this is not a “flooding” nose and requires a bit more patience to fully open up. On the sip this bourbon shines a lot more with flavors of maple and caramel, light spice, and a fairly intense blast of salted, buttered popcorn – a very nice arrangement. The finish is moderate in length with some oaky dryness, vanilla, and corn. Well done.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.5 (Excellent)


  1. Most definately got the buttered popcorn! I think this one might take a bit getting used to.

  2. Really enjoy this bourbon. I’ve gotten the bourbon bug and started to do a lot of tasting recently. I brought this home with a new bottle of elijah 12 year and compared them back to back. To my palate I got strong mint, spearmint, and a very subtle banana flavor from the willet. Without telling my wife which was which I had her nose each bourbon and I asked her did she notice any difference. She pointed to the willet and said it’s sweeter. I had already decided that of course but I wanted another unbiased opinion. Overall in terms of ratings on your site I would rate the willet a bit higher. I like it more than most of the four roses products, better then buffalo trace, and I think it’s on par with elijah craig 12 year, and depending on my mood maybe better then the elijah craig on a given day. I find my palate concurs with you on most of the bourbons you’ve rated, excepting the willet. I really think it deserves more of an 8.8-8.9 rating. Of course this is a single barrel product so maybe I just got a better barrel, who “nose.” Very flavorful, very approachable, really unique flavors, and very well done. An excellent sipping whiskey in my mind and I have to rate it above just good, it’s excellent in my opinion. It doesn’t reach the level of epic like a pappy 15, though I dare say I would put this at a level approaching a pappy 20 year. Great site, love the reviews, just my 2 cents.

  3. Did a tour of the Willett distillery today. So far I’ve done 5- Woodford, Four Roses, Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, and Willett was my favorite by far. It’s definitely one to see, much smaller than the others, more intimate and thorough. Even got to stick my finger in some of the fermenter tanks and try the distillers beer at different stages. Really educational. I also really liked Four Roses, and Woodford when I went years ago. Anyway, I tried this bourbon there today, and I didn’t love it. Had a lot of corn in the palate, the white dog flavor was strong. My brother did like it however. I will say that the Willett Family Estate bottlings are fantastic. I recently tried a 21 year old Willett Estate bourbon and it was awesome. Lots of spice and richness on the palate, just enough sweetness to balance it all out, with a very nice, easy, but longish finish. It was a very fine spirit. (Had to grab a bottle.)

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