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I guess it’s high time I posted a review about this bourbon.  It has been one of my go-to whiskeys for the past year, and I’ve mentioned it more than once on the blog already, so it makes sense to give it a review all its own.

*EDIT:  This review is of the now defunct Single Barrel variation of this label.  Current bottlings are batched.

Vital Stats:

  • Age: 8-10 Years (no age statement on bottle)
  • ABV: 47% (94 Proof)
  • Distillery: Unknown/Rectified (Bottled by KBD/Willett)
  • Availability: Available
  • Price: $36
Photo Courtesy of KBD/Willett

Photo Courtesy of KBD/Willett

What it is:

Willett Pot Still Reserve clocks in at 94 proof.  It retails for around $36 for 750ML, and it’s a fine top-shelf bourbon at that price.  While not rare, you probably won’t find it at stores with only perfunctory bourbon selections, but most places who profess to a wide array of bourbon options should be carrying this at the moment.


Willett Pot Still Reserve is a fine addition to any bourbon collection for the bottle alone.  Some might call it a hookah, while others have mentioned a genie lamp.  The shape actually mimics an old-fashioned copper still, similar to the kind the distiller uses for this small batch bourbon.  On a liquor shelf, it quickly draws the eye and will be a conversation point for any gathering.   I’m sorry to say to some of you that you won’t be smoking anything out of this bottle, and rubbing it won’t grant you any wishes, unless you’re wishing for a smooth, imminently enjoyable bourbon.  But lucky for us all,  it’s simply the best packaging in the business.


The bourbon itself is a beautiful golden amber.


The aromas are complex.  There is definite citrus on the on the nose with lemon and orange hints.  A potpourri hint on the finish with syrup note makes for a great smelling bourbon.


The flavors start out light and buttery smooth, with vanilla, and caramel on the start, with spicy sweetness on the finish.  As usual, I poured a second tasting over an ice sphere, and this bourbon shined.  It more than held its own with the melting ice, and a sweet oak flavor became apparent quickly.


The finish was medium to long with a lack of bite.  This is neither particularly low nor high proof bourbon, and the folks at Willett have found the right balance on the finish.  There are some floral hints and a touch of spice to round it out.


Willett has hit all the boxes on this one.  It drinks excellently neat, and is even better with a splash of water.  It doesn’t need ice, but it isn’t overpowered by it, either.  It’s attractively priced, one of the most unique and impressive bottles on the market, and a ranks up there as one of my current favorites.

ModernThirst.com Score: 87 out of 100

What does that score mean?
If only I could give extra points for packaging…


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Willett Pot Still Reserve

87 Great Packaging

It drinks excellently neat, and is even better with a splash of water. It doesn’t need ice, but it isn’t overpowered by it, either. It’s attractively priced and is one of the most unique and impressive bottles on the market

About Author

Bill is the Co-Founder, Editor-in Chief, and official Bourbon-o-Phile for ModernThirst.com, and Founder and Chief Blending Officer for Four Gate Whiskey Company. He is a native of Louisville, KY in the heart of Bourbon Country. He attended the University of Kentucky in the mid to late 1990s. He has also been published on Liquor.com. He has conducted various bourbon and whiskey tastings in cities across the country, and consulted for multiple national labels. He is married with two daughters, and lives in east Louisville. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @BillStraub and email him at Bill@ModernThirst.com.


  1. Mike Egleston on

    I was given a bottle of Willett’s 94 proof recently as a gift from a good friend. Wow, this is an exceptional spirit that happens to very reasonably priced at less than $40 for 750ml. Tried it both neat and over a few cubes of ice ,and I find Bill’s review to be very accurate on my palate as well. It has a very soft and almost fruity initial hit on the taste buds, but the finish is so clean that you might think you are drinking something other than a bourbon. I have not tasted a better bourbon for the price, and will now keep it in my bar as a permanent selection for when I have guests over to the house. My wife has already claimed the empty bottle to make a lamp for our study.

  2. The bottle is enough to catch my interest. This is a smooth sipping bourbon that should be on every ones list of fine drink from the great state of Kentucky. Raylon Givins should have enjoyed this beautifully crafted drink. It is by far my new favorite in case you couldn’t tell.

  3. We were in Charleston for our honeymoon, for two weeks, and the first thing we bought was a bottle of Willett Reserve. We wanted to have something to sip on, or make Old Fashioneds with, before we went out at night. It is an outstanding bourbon, and I actually just bought another bottle online, last week. Can’t wait to relive some of the awesome memories from July.

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