Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Willett Family Estate 4 Year Small Batch Rye - 112.2 Proof

- $60
- 112.2 Proof
- 4 Years
- Kentucky

I've said it before and I'll say it again.  I love the Willett Family Estate ryes! I feel like I need to preface each review with that statement, because I'm clearly going into this with a bias. Of course this is going to get a really good review, it's one of my personal favorite whiskeys.  And that is why reviews are dumb--at least from the perspective of determining for yourself whether you should buy or try a particular whiskey.  It's all just so subjective.

So, here I go with my dumb review where I'm going to tell you how I really enjoy this particular whiskey which I always really enjoy.  This is one of three batches of WFE that I happened to find on the shelf at a local liquor store. They had a stockpile of the stuff, and I eventually went back to buy three more to mule for a buddy of mine. At $60, they're only slightly marked up, and certainly not marked up to a point where I'm going to pass on them.

On the nose I got a lot of alcohol right away, but once that burned off, I got a lot of dark, rich fruit notes. I got a bit of tart plum. I also got a lot of brandy notes, with some wine grape and even pear notes. All of that was on top of a thick layer of pine and cinnamon, though, keeping it right in the realm of ryes. It also had a thick, syrupy type sweetness to the nose, smelling somewhere in between molasses and maple syrup.

I think my favorite part of this batch was its texture. Right away I noticed how thick and oily it was -- almost chewy. I absolutely loved the way it just coated my mouth in flavor and spice. The pine and molasses notes from the nose were what immediately presented themselves up front. It had a rich and dark sweetness to it, kind of like a gingerbread cookie, but it also had a healthy amount of woody pine flavor to it as well. The cinnamon from the nose was likewise prominent.

The plum from the nose was also readily apparent, providing that sweet tartness. I also got some dark cherry notes, adding just the slightest sour component. This was full of these rich fruit notes that all worked really well with the pine and molasses flavors. At times I was even getting some amaretto liqueur notes.

I also got a sweet, graham crackery flavor from time to time. That note was a bit more fleeting, but I was noticing it both at the beginning of the bottle and even on my last pour, and it added just another layer of flavor.

All in all, this is a bold whiskey packed full of flavor and punch, and it seemed to hit all corners of the flavor wheel (yes, I know that makes no sense), providing spicey, sweet, earthy and fruity notes all at once, and they all seemed to work together really well.  This was one of my vacation whiskeys, and it didn't survive that vacation. Once opened, it was one that we just kept going back to.

Grade: A

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