Friday, January 24, 2020

Willett Family Estate 4 Year Small Batch Rye - 112.6 Proof

- $55
- 112.6 Proof
- 4 years
- Kentucky

My love for Willett Family Estate ryes is no secret, at least not to any of my friends or the one guy who actually reads this blog on the regular.  Oh, and also my local liquor store manager who always makes sure I get one whenever the newest batch comes in, such as the case here. It may not be super-allocated, but the gesture sure is appreciated!

Of course, I had to crack it open the second I got home. I've always got a bottle open, but that didn't stop me from seeing how this one fared against earlier batches.  The nose on this one was dominated by pine and cinnamon, more than I recall getting from earlier batches. It also had some notes of unsweetened vanilla, as well as a kind of nutmeg note. There was definitely something woody about the smell, kind of like walnuts. I did not, however, get that fruit-forward character that I'm used to.

The flavor of this batch was bold and really punched me in the face. It had a heavy pine note to match the nose, as well as a healthy dose of cinnamon spice. As was the case with the nose, these two flavors dominated throughout each sip, overwhelming most of the other flavors.

The other flavors, though, all where characteristic of ryes. I got a bit of a dill note, and on the back end even a bit of a mint note.  It's like the flavors that tend to separate rye from bourbon were all packed into this bottle. Even the cinnamon seemed to take on more of a cloves flavor as I made my way towards the bottom of the bottle.

The texture was thick and sticky, almost syrup-like. I don't know if it got in my head because of the texture, but at times I was getting a light maple syrup flavor. It wasn't a strong flavor by any means, but it did provide hints of sweetness from time to time in an otherwise spice-bomb.

However, as was the case with the nose, missing was the fruit forward notes that I've always gotten in the past from these Willett Family Estate Small Batch Ryes.  I didn't get any dark cherry, plum or red wine notes that I've loved in previous bottles.  While this was a really good rye, bold and spicy and full of flavor, it just wasn't my favorite batch.  Of course, given the track record, I will continue to buy them any chance I get, and I've already got the next batch lined up and ready to go. Hopefully that one will revert to the mean.

Grade: B+

1 comment:

  1. Had this rye for the first time. My first and subsequent tastes were sweet tea. Never had a rye like this before. I had to double-check the label and try it two more times just to make sure this was what I thought I got. I like it, but it's definitely not rye-like to me.