...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Willett Week Two: 6 year old rye, barrel 124

Willett's MGP-distilled rye is my favorite American whiskey. The single barrels vary, but they always deliver a tremendous and nuanced experience. Last week, I did a whole schpiel about the crazy pricing of Willett's single barrel bourbons. I won't do the same for the ryes because I already covered that territory here and here. Needless to say, they ain't selling for $40 a pop anymore.

Because they're scarce and because they ain't $40, we no longer open two Willett ryes each year here. Maybe one every two years at this rate. But I was able to align three samples of the current era of WFE single barrels to compare and contrast in one sitting. And, hey, it's even a verticale this time!

BottlerKentucky Bourbon Distillers (also known as Willett Distilling Company)
Brand: Willett
Range: Family Estate Single Barrel (WFE)
Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Age6 years
MaturationNew American Oak
RegionBardstown, Kentucky (Distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana)
Barrel: 124
Alcohol by Volume58.7%
(From a purchased sample)

The nose begins with saline and candied fennel seed (which is a thing). Then black licorice and peach candy. It also has a dirtier side that moves to the forefront with time. It strikes of industrial grease and drywall dust. It's the most expressive nose of the three ryes. The happily not-hot palate is full of Luxardo cherries, clementines, smoked whole cloves (a thing?), mint leaves, brown sugar, and charred chiles. This runs along a bass rumble of rye power, a robust bundle of peppers and dry spices that almost reads smoky at times. It finishes with spicy cherries, chiles, molasses, salt and a burst of rye spirit. And it's so long...

I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel a burst of melancholy on the last sip. Of the three ryes, this one was most reminiscent of what once was.......those $40-$50 4-6yos we were much spoiled to have four years ago.

I'm going to set those romantic memories right over here, so I can continue this post.

This is an excellent rye. Each new characteristic, spun out by the grain, merges perfectly with every element that came before. The oak has done its subtle work without intruding. And then finish is right on pitch and unending. Damn.

Availability - Secondary market?
Pricing - ???
Rating - 90

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