Willett Family Estate 4 Year Rye Review [In Depth]
Willett Family Estate 4 Year Rye Whiskey
Willett 4 Year Rye Review Details
Type & Region: Rye Whiskey, Kentucky, USA
Alcohol: 56.6%Composition: Not disclosed Aged: 4 years in virgin American white oak
Color: 1.3/2.0 on the color scale (russet muscat)
willett 4 year rye overview
What we have here is a homemade (at least I think so) 4 year old rye from Willett, a Kentucky distillery that’s been open for at least 10-15 years but didn’t start distilling and aging their own stocks till probably the early 2010’s. From what I’ve heard, their oldest homemade releases may be around 6-7 years old and everything older is sourced, but I could be wrong about that.
As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for everything (they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass Set of 6, Set of 4, Set of 2, or just one. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.
willett 4 year rye smell
Like many other rye whiskeys, Willett 4 Year Rye greets me by wafting me in licorice and honey with dark berries, anise, fennel, caraway seed, darker blood orange, hints of burnt bread crust and dry tea leaves, and some gin botanicals. Since it’s “only” 4 years old, it’s not too oaky or wood spicy (think cinnamon, nutmeg, clove); and the heat isn’t bad after 35 minutes in the glass.
willett 4 year rye taste & aftertaste
Willett 4 Year Rye Rating
Color me impressed with Willett Family Estate 4 Year Rye – it’s fantastic. It’s a very interesting, dense, and unique rye that hits all the right rye whiskey notes for me yet adds a unique twist with added lemon, fennel, caraway seed, and general darkness.
On the spectrum of rye whiskey character, it sits between MGP’s tropical 95%-rye and Buffalo Trace’s less herbal and more caramel-y and oak spicy (e.g., cinnamon) 51% rye, with a bias towards MGP rye. For me, it’s also far better than Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye, although it’s also more expensive.
This 4 year rye earning a “Top Shelf” rating again reinforces that rye whiskey tends to develop more quickly than bourbon usually does. Willett Family Estate 4 Year Rye still won’t convert anyone who dislikes herbal ryes, but it’s a fantastic one for those who enjoy its intense earthy, herbal, and citrusy qualities.
You can add this to the list of young, interesting, and delicious ryes such as Sagamore Spirit Barrel Select (6-7 years old) and One Eight District Made Single Barrel Rye (2 years). I can’t guarantee that every batch will be just as good as this one, but I hope they are.
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