Willett Family Estate 4 Year Old Single Barrel Rye

I’ll cut to the chase – if you’re going to buy one rye, and you’re on a budget, this is the bottle for you. It’s a single barrel rye made by Kentucky Distillers, formerly known as Willett Distilling company. I’ll not go into too much detail about them, because they’ve got an enormous history from 17th Century England available on their website. (The link is here, if your Google-Fu is weak.)

Colour: sunset, about 7pm on a hot day. On the nose: very gentle at first. You have to tease this one out. A sweet metallic zing (checks the alcohol content again – 56.5% ABV for barrel #1298). This has some really nice, slick caramel – almost maple syrup coming through. It’s very classy. Once you lock on you get a whole bunch of lovely sweets, but mainly Werther’s Original!

In the mouth: oh sweet Jesus, that’s a heck of a mouth-watering whiskey. Oozing all manner of complex sweet notes there – caramel again, cherries, vanilla, sultanas, dates, cocoa – but it’s bound together by some cracking hot spiciness and that cracking rye graininess. Very chewy, plenty of oak, but in a truly wonderful way. The finish is very, very long and delightfully warming. A cold-weather whiskey if ever there was one.

A fine rye, this, and fairly cheap if you can get hold of a bottle. Superb value. The only thing that sucks is that it’s not so easy to get a hold of a bottle in the UK, though there are occasionally shipments over here. What is WRONG with the world?


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