...where distraction is the main attraction.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Willett Week: Willett Family Estate Single Barrel Rye 4 years old, Barrel #85

Continuing within Autumn's Willett Welcome Wagon, I present my current open bottle of Willett Rye, another four year old, this time from Barrel number 85.  I tried this one alongside yesterday's 4yo from Barrel 82, a silky oaky take on the LDI/MGP good stuff.

BottlerKentucky Bourbon Distillers (formerly Willett Distilling Company)
Brand: Willett Family Estate Single Barrel
Age4 years
MaturationNew American Oak
RegionBardstown, Kentucky (spirit distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana)
Barrel: 85
Bottle: 160/228
Alcohol by Volume55%

The color is the same as yesterday's rye: maple syrup (pronounced "sih-ruhp", "sih-rip", or "surp" depending on where you're from).  Woo! the nose is peppy. Much more spirity than Barrel 82. Black pepper, cherries, and a slight yeasty pretzel-like note.  There's cantaloupe, toffee, mint chocolate chip ice cream, mint Listerine, and spicy basil. From the oak there's a little vanilla, a little salted caramel, and some pencils.  The heat does cool off with some time, revealing something that reminds me of the GlenDronach single casks, like dense chocolatey sherry.  The palate holds lots of spicy zip.  LOTS of anise. Cherry liqueur, mint leaves, baking chocolate, and sweet black licorice.  There's also something a little grassy in there, floating along in sweet brandy.  The finish gets a little salty and savory. Beyond that lies plenty of peppery spice, more anise and mint leaves.  It has that old Robotussin thing, like black cherry meets anise (again).  The finish seems slightly shorter than #82 without the sticky oak.

Kristen says this one is a little fruitier with more subtle vanilla, and a much hotter nose.

Yesterday's (#82) and today's (#85) barrels appeal in different ways to different temperaments and different moods.  The oak was much more reserved in #85, allowing the rye distillate to run loose.  The spirit isn't overbearing, but it does like to tussle.  I guess I'm comparing whiskey to dogs now.  While Barrel #82 is a heavy lapdog that'll chew through the couch from time to time, Barrel #85 will poop in the refrigerator and eat the whole wheel of cheese. "Actually, I’m not even mad. That’s amazing.”

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