...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Willett Family Estate 8 year old rye, barrel 1433

MGP's 95%-rye recipe is the best rye whiskey in the world. FIGHT ME. Actually don't fight me, I'm kinda scrawny and have no rotator cuffs to speak of. That's right, I'll never grow up to be the ambidextrous knuckleball-flinging middle reliever I dreamt of becoming. So here I am, medicating drinking booze on a school night during baseball season.

Long-long-longtime readers may remember that I absolutely adore Willett's single barrels of MGP rye. I dip into the stuff once every other year to make sure the quality remains sharp. This time, I thought I'd bring you with me. Wish I could share the whiskey with you, my one reader! Instead, here's my first Willett rye review in nearly six years.

Distillery: MGP's own Ross & Squibb Distillery
Bottler: Willett Distilling Company
Range: Family Estate Single Barrel (WFE)
RegionBardstown, Kentucky (Distilled in Lawrenceburg, Indiana)
Type: Straight Rye Whiskey
Age8 years
MaturationNew American Oak
Barrel: 1433
Alcohol by Volume57.4%
(from a bottle split)


Sure there's rye bread aplenty in the nose, but it's snuggled within layers of fresh apricots and plums, anise, flower blossoms, sour apple candy, brown sugar, and brine (more ocean than pickle).

It's very, very drinkable at this strength, with the palate balancing sea salt, sweet plums, tangy chiles, bitter raw cocoa, and hints of butterscotch hard candies. It gains mint, blackberry juice, and a little bit of pipe tobacco after 30+ minutes in the glass.

The finish holds onto many of the palate notes. Tangy chile peppers, tangy berries, sweet plums, and lots of salt. A little bit of wood smoke and mint leaf in the background too.


After this tasting, I feel very reassured that my senses haven't totally collapsed into cynicism. Willett's MGP rye still works wonders on my palate. Yum.

The word "balance" gets overused on this blog, but I rarely wield it when reviewing American whiskies, as those spirits tend to be almost entirely about oak extraction. And the enormity of rye spirit doesn't really offer symmetry as one of its features. But, damn, this 8 year old rye barrel's got it, from the nose to the palate to the finish. Grand spirit and stellar cask management meet again. And to think I complained when this stuff was $80.

Availability - Secondary market
Pricing - *looks, sighs, shrugs*
Rating - 90