Willett is one of those American whiskey projects that blends products from elsewhere while they build their distillery. The big difference is that Willett has been around for ages and gathered lots of fame with their very old rye whiskeys in the past.
I have to admit that I’ve not kept track of their most recent endeavours (the last three years or so), but before that I read a little bit about them and did a bottle-share.
It ended up being one of those bottle-shares that should have made me more wary of organizing bottle-shares of random stuff like American Rye Whiskey, with one of them having undergone a Curacao finish. Of course, as happens with these things, it didn’t fill up and I ended up with my fair share of expenses covering for that.
Of course, what I should have done is cancel the order and just get one bottle for myself instead of five with 30cl gone.
Anyway, water under the bridge, money down the drain. It happens and keeps happening since I am very bad at keeping money in my pocket.
Tasting notes then! An eight year old single cask from bought stock, if I’m not mistaken. Back when I bought this their own distillate was about two years old.
Dry oak, quite fiery with lots of spices. Grain, dry thyme and old mint. A hint of sweetness, some coffee powder.
Quite gentle for the percentage, but it gets more fiery fast. A lot of spices, and very, very dry. Very similar to the nose. Pink peppercorns, chili heat. Dry thyme and old mint.
The finish is a bit more ‘normal’. Quite gentle again, more chili heat too. A very long and herbaceous finish.
So, a rather typical rye whiskey, but made very, very well. It ticks the typical rye whiskey boxes with there being some crisp herbaceous notes, some spicy and hot notes, and a lot of dry grain, along with the sweetness of the American oak. Great stuff.
As with everything good, the price has gone over the top. If I’m not mistaken, this was already €100 when I bought it, and now it’s about three times that. And yes, American whiskey in Europe is ridiculously priced.
Willett 8yo, Family Estate Bottled Single Barrel Rye, Cask 1408, 58.8%