- 128.6 Proof
- 5.5 Years
- Barrel #4759
It had been a long time since I had seen a Willett Family Estate store pick hit the shelves. In fact, the last one that I saw was an 8-year single barrel rye that I picked up at Binny's back in April 2015--almost a four-year dry spell. So, when word got out that Binny's got in two bourbons (this one and a 6-year) and a rye, I knew I would be doing all I could to get my hands on any of them.
Luckily for me, I was able to get my hands on a bottle of the 6-year rye as well as this 5-year bourbon (which I was told was actually 5 1/2 years), and my buddy managed to get the 6-year bourbon. So I got the chance to try all three! That was a few months ago that these went on sale, and the demand after such a long hiatus was incredible, and I felt very lucky.
The nose to this one was just soft and pillowy and very inviting in that sense. It had aromas of light baking spices and also a creamy nougat note to it. I also got somewhat of a fruity characteristic to it, like slightly under-ripe strawberries as well as a crisp pear note. Interestingly, I got almost zero alcohol on the nose. It smelled amazing, and the flavor followed suit!
This tasted far older than its 5 1/2 years. I got warm baking spices on the tongue immediately, along with a bit of a bready, yeast quality. The fruit notes were present as well. Although I didn't get the strawberry (I really wanted to find it but it just wasn't there), I still got the pear. However, it was more of a baked pear note, paired with sweet cinnamon. And yet, I still somehow got a refreshing and crisp quality out of this that I associate more with those fresh fruit notes.
The alcohol was certainly more noticeable on the palate than it was on the nose. However, it didn't seem to last long enough to get in the way of any of the other flavors. Along with the baked pear, I also got some earthy notes that I've always seemed to notice in Willett products, something a bit malt-like to them. Here, it worked very well with everything else that was going on.
This had a super buttery texture to it, and that coating left behind a lingering pepper and cinnamon spice that seemed to last forever. It wasn't all spice, though, as there was also a distinct sweet note that lingered for a long time on the finish as well, kind of a hard candy quality that carried that pear and pepper.
I absolutely loved this bottle! And, I liked it significantly more than I did the 6-year that my friend picked up. As said above, it seemed like a much older whiskey, with a lot of complexity and an incredible mouthfeel that really emphasized all the delicious notes going on. I'm sure most of these bottles are long gone at this point, but I'm very glad I was able to scoop this one up. I miss it already!