...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Willett Family Estate 24 year old 1984 Single Barrel Rye, barrel 637

This is one of my Apocalypse Pours. My family is safe and healthy but I know of other families that are not. So what the hell.

Here's one of the old Willett gems some American fellows speak of in whispers or flip for thousands of bones. This barrel was selected by Bonili, a Japanese distributor, during Willett's early wax top years. I've heard it referred to as 24/110. It may have been distilled at Old Bardstown Distillery, or perhaps on the surface of Ganymede. In either case, this stuff ain't bein' distilled no more.

BottlerKentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. (a.k.a. Willett)
Range: Family Estate Single Barrel (WFE)
Distillery: Old Bardstown?
Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Age24 years
MaturationWhite Oak
Barrel: 637
Outturn: 264
Selected by: Bonili Japan Co., Ltid.
Alcohol by Volume55%
(888 thank yous to Secret Agent Man for sharing!)

The nose begins with rye bread, Irish soda bread, fennel seed, cherry shisha and antique shop (the big furniture room). A caramel sauce-laden ice cream sundae. Old armagnac spilled on old newspapers. It reads very dusty, as if it were from the '50s or '60s rather than the '80s.

On the palate, the oak has travelled far beyond the boring bitterness of Diageo's 15-25 year old Orphan Barrels, and into a dense medicinal realm. Eucalyptus, mint and arugula leaves. Its earthiness is balanced by a Dr. Brown's cherry soda sweetness. After 45 minutes it tilts savory and picks up some curry-like spices.

The finish ditches the sweetness for medicine and earth. More eucalyptus and mint leaves. Hints of cigarette smoke in the back ground.

There's always a sparring whisky on hand for every tasting here. But this time I had nothing to compare this to. I pulled wee pours of 8 and 12 year old Willett single bourbon casks, but those knelt sheepishly in the shadow of this 24yo. As per notes above, this had such a romantic dusty edge that it felt like it was distilled one or two generations earlier than it actually was. Its syrup-thick concentrated texture may have been the rye's loveliest element. If one could hold time in a glass...

Availability - ???
Pricing - ???
Rating - 91