The first time I noticed Noah’s Mill on the shelf, it struck me as something potentially elegant with an appropriate price tag to boot. The choice of bottle and label design feels like a crossover between quality wine and whiskey bottles, simultaneously feeling unique and comfortably rustic. But as stated in my Rowan’s Creek review, I never did buy a bottle. It was always something that had my curiosity, but never compelled me to physically hold and “get a feel for” the bottle (I can’t be the only one).
I recently got to find out for myself if Noah’s Mill could be worthy of a purchase after swapping collection samples with a fellow whiskey fan. One interesting aspect about Noah’s Mill is that it used to carry a 15-year age statement. This was around the time that Willett was a non-distilling producer. Since then, they’ve made a couple alterations, such as the use of their own distillate in products to include Noah’s Mill. Willett’s website (or at least, Bill Thomas) would have you believe this is among “the most lush and rich Whiskeys on the market.” Let’s see if that holds true.
Nose: Almond butter and mellow citrus upfront. Lightly browned butter, bread dough, oak, and butterscotch. Soft and sweet floral notes abound as well (orange blossom perhaps). Post-sip brings more walnut and praline, like nutty bread pudding with a bit of maple glaze.
Palate: Full and somewhat chewy. Brown butter upfront with cornmeal, mild waxy nut note, and a touch of vanilla follow to the mid and back palates. Some tart lemon as well.
Finish: Medium overall. Proof and youth combine here. Some impressions of oak, but there’s also grain. Dry vanilla and barely roasted walnuts.
Generally speaking, I find two-ounce samples to be sufficient for figuring out not only if you like a whiskey, but how much you like it. Noah’s Mill is something of an exception. Willett seem to have a distinct, craft-like profile to their whiskey that’s tough to describe in a way that does it justice. The first pour of my sample left me somewhat confused while the second pour piqued my interest, slowly growing on me until I had none left. That interest has moved a purchase of Noah’s Mill up into serious consideration, but more out of ongoing curiosity than outright enjoyment.
Noah’s Mill is absolutely a try before you buy type of whiskey, which shouldn’t be difficult for anyone near a bar with a solid bourbon selection. This goes doubly so for those don’t know what to expect out of Willett distillate. $55 for a high-proof bourbon that feels like it’s in-between the realms of young and just-developed isn’t what I’d necessarily call a great buy, but I also wouldn’t feel ripped off. I’d say Noah’s Mill treads the line between decent and solid, whether that’s worth the price of admission comes down to how adventurous you feel.