Thursday, September 10, 2020

Willett Family Estate 10 Year Small Batch Rye


VITALS:
- $200
- 115 Proof
- 10 Years
- Indiana

This bottle really needs no introduction by me. After all, Willett has been releasing ryes under their Willett Family Estate label for some time, now, and their older single barrel ryes fetch a lot of money on the secondary market. Relatively recently Willett started releasing younger, small batch ryes under their Willett Family Estate Ryes, starting with a two year old and most recently four year old batches. I have absolutely fallen in love with their small batch ryes and I grab them any chance I get.

But, in the middle of their periodic releases of their small batch ryes, which is their own distillate, Willett released a 10-year small batch rye. This was not their own distillate, as it's clearly labeled it was distilled in Indiana. Apparently Willett was still sitting on some aged MGP rye, the same rye they frequently used in their single barrel releases, and they chose to release it as a limited and very pricey small batch. Of course, I, being a sucker for all things WFE rye, had to get my hands on a bottle, and so here we are.

On the nose I got a lot of mint and vanilla, almost like a vanilla/spearmint chewing gum type note. I also got some oak notes as well as a light note of sawdust. It had a little bit of cinnamon spice as well. At times the flavors all mixed to make a sort of mint tea note, and at other times I got more of a root beer note. Either way, it always smelled delicious.

On the palate I got a lot of the traditional rye notes, particularly MGP rye. I got pine and an herbal dill note. I also got a some of the mint that I was getting on the nose. The vanilla was present as well, which really seemed to compliment that mint note. It reminded me a bit of spearmint lifesavers (are those the ones that would spark when you ate them in the dark as a kid?).

It also had some richer and more non-traditional notes to it. I got a bit of a dark cocoa note to it to add some richness and a teaser of some sweetness. However, additional sweetness came along in the form of a maple syrup flavor that seemed to come into play after having the bottle open for a bit. A bit of a toffee note also came through.

On the finish I got a lot of that spearmint and vanilla, and it was also the toffee note that really seemed to stick around. I also got the cinnamon spice in the back of my throat after each swallow. Surprisingly, despite being 115 proof, I got almost no alcohol burn from this rye. It really seemed to drink less than its proof.  Sometimes that would be a good thing and other times a bad thing. Here it was good, because I felt like added heat would have taken away from the otherwise great mix of flavors going on here. 

This one certainly hurt the wallet a bit, but I'm nonetheless glad to have had the chance to enjoy this bottle, as I loved every sip of it.

Grade: A

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