...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's Willett Week! -- Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Rye 4 years old, Barrel #82

With the equinox behind us, and the temperature climbing to 88 92 today, I've decided to welcome in (or encourage the arrival of) Autumn with five days of Willett single barrel straight rye.  LDI/MGP's 95% rye mashbill is at the heart of the whisky of preference in my household, thus Kristen also lent her nose to all five of these ryes.

Please note: These are not the fancy premium Willetts of lore.  No "Doug" or "Iron Fist" or "Velvet Glove".  Those whiskies are very rare and very expensive.  The ryes I'm weighing in on this week are the ones we can often find at our favorite retailers for prices in the double digits, hopefully not more than $45.  I'll go in age and barrel order.



BottlerKentucky Bourbon Distillers (formerly Willett Distilling Company)
Brand: Willett Family Estate Single Barrel
Age: 4 years

Maturation: New American Oak
Region: Bardstown, Kentucky (spirit distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana)
Barrel: 82
Alcohol by Volume: 55%

(thanks to Florin for the sample!)

The color stays pretty consistent amongst these ryes, almost always of a maple syrup hue.  The nose is loaded with brown baking spices -- a loaf of cinnamon, cloves, and brown sugar. Oh, and some sticky gooey bread pudding. Tons of vanilla as well, along with mint and milk chocolate.  It's also a little briney and there's some toasted rye bread in the mix too.  Confectioner's sugar meets leather shoes. Lots of oak, from bark to pulp. Finally......let's do the time warp......I'm back in Hebrew School (specifically, second grade on Tuesday and Thursday nights) when they brought in Israeli carob bark and dates. I wasn't crazy about that stuff then, but its flavor is in this rye's nose.  Less time travel necessary for the palate. Smoky oak. Salted cucumbers and caramel sauce. Vanilla beans and bread pudding. It's sweeter and fruitier than I remember Willett rye to usually be.  But there's still the black cherry soda syrup and Robotussin (the good kind with the alcohol in the '80s) notes.  Big oak and big spirit in the finish.  Salt and sweets, along with peppery spices, linger long. After a little while, caramel candies and orange zest arise.

Kristen says it smells like vanilla and nice warm things.

That probably sells it better than my tl;dr notes above.

Compared to the rye I'll post about tomorrow, this one is much oakier and mellower.  It puts up less of a fight, less of a headbutt to the mouth, than other Willett ryes.  While I like (probably more than is healthy) the Willett wallop, barrel #82's silky delivery is very welcoming.  Approved.

Availability - Many US liquor specialists
Pricing - $35-$40 (East Coast, Midwest), $40-$45 (West Coast)
Rating - 92