After a Hiatus, Round Two in the Single Barrel Showdown Begins

The single barrel showdown has made it into round 2.  After a lengthier than anticipated break in the action I have finally gotten back to the showdown!  This match up pits the last of my Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit against a Willitt special barrel purchase.  These are two heavy weights indeed with the Wild Turkey weighing in at 101 proof, and the Willett Special Barrel weighing in at a whopping 130 proof!

I’ve already described these bourbons at length, but as a reminder the Willett was sent to me by Greg from and he and several enthusiasts went to Kentucky and purchased an entire barrel of Bourbon.  So this gives this bourbon a couple of advantages, first it is barrel proof at 65% Alcohol By Volume, and they were able to sample the barrel they wanted before they made their purchase, so It is sure to be great.

That said, the Wild Turkey is a great bourbon too.  It wouldn’t have made it this far beating out a very strong Henry McKenna to get into round two, if it weren’t.  That said, although I completely killed the bottle of the Kentucky Spirit (Due to it being a fantastic bourbon!) it was no match for the Willett Barrel purchase.  The finish on the Willett is amazing.  Flavor wise the Kentucky Spirit stands up nicely, as it is a very flavorful and engaging whiskey, but the finish on the Willett is masterful.  Perhaps it is the high proof, or maybe it is the honey barrel nature of a special purchase, but the finish on the Willett is very rewarding, lasting well into the two minute range, with a very warming sensation.  It is a force to be reckoned with.

So we have our first contender into the championship round.  The Bracket now looks like this:

Next up will be Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve v. Evan Williams Single Barrel.  The best part about this is I get to drink them all! And that makes me very happy! 😉


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Categories: review, Whiskey

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7 Comments on “After a Hiatus, Round Two in the Single Barrel Showdown Begins”

  1. September 27, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    I would love to see a Willett vs Booker’s showdown. I’ve had Booker’s on a few occasions this year and It’s a fabulous bourbon with a great flavor and the longest finish I’ve ever had. You can feel it warming all the way into your stomach. Awesome stuff.

    • Don
      September 27, 2011 at 5:13 pm #

      I too love Bookers. I discovered it quite by accident one evening at the Salt Lake City airport. Didn’t know what to have so I just decided to give it a try without ever having heard of it before. Well lots of whiskey has been over my lips since then, and I agree Bookers is top flight. However it isn’t single barrel, and I can say with confidence that the Willett is better. I’d love to find more Willett! 🙂

  2. September 28, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    Don – Looks like you’re having fun with this one. Keep in mind that the Willett cuts a broad path across the American whiskey spectrum. You’ll find bottles of Willett Rye as well as bourbon’s that cover both wheat and rye mashbils. The particular Willett you are using in your showdown has sibling bottles that are 6 an 8 year old. Anyone going on the hunt for a Willett bottling will find a wide range of ages. I’ve had Willett selections that range in age from 3 to 23 years.

  3. Brandon
    October 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    I’m a Spirit fanboy so this whole thing sucks. 😉 Haha, what a rough job you have, Don!

  4. October 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    I was at Total Wine the other day and remembered the Evan Williams was in your SB showdown. It was relatively inexpensive and I want to start to get into whiskey so I bought the bottle. I haven’t popped it yet.

    I have a question, Groupon has a deal on whiskey stones. I like the concept, chill the drink without watering it down, but I don’t know if it’s even desirable to chill whiskey down. Thoughts?

    • Don
      October 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

      If I chill my whiskey I just put the bottle into the freezer for about 30 minutes. It chills it and no ice needed. I know what you mean about those stones, but I just don’t trust that they won’t somehow impact the flavor of the whiskey. The Evan Williams is a good starter, because it is good, but mild. As you get further into it you might find that you want more robust and challenging flavors. When you hit that let me know and I can offer some suggestions.

      • October 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

        Thanks, Don! The weather just turned out here in California so I will finally get some cooler evenings to pour a glass of bourbon and light the fire.

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