This bottling, which I bought in 2014 is finally empty. I opened it ages ago, and then it got forgotten. As in, it just sat there on the shelf waiting to be tasted, reviewed and emptied. A recent sample request from a friend reminded me I should go ahead and drink the last 10-ish centiliters.
Of course, a fresh bottle is different than an almost empty one, but generally it gets a bit better with a bit of time. I don’t know if six years of air counts, but I’ve seen people take 20 years to finish some special bottles, so it shouldn’t be bad.
Some years ago I really had Willett on my radar, and even did a massive bottle share with it when I found a slew of their bottlings at The Old Pipe. They even had the XCF, which has become some kind of rarity that goes for ridiculous amounts in the meantime. I had fun with that share, although it was a rather expensive one, compared to hooch-quality (that’s an official term).
At some point, some years before 2014 Willett changed from Family Estate Bottled to Distilled, since their own distillery came on steam. Before that they were mainly a bottler with a very old brand name. Nothing wrong with that, they were always very straight forward with that information.
A very crisp rye whisky, with menthol and a lot of oaky spices. It gets a bit dusty withdry autunn leaves, cigars and sawdust.
The palate is dry and rather hot as a first dram. It quickly mellows enough, with toast, marmalade with a pithy edge. It gets slightly jammy with a bit of time.
A medium long finish, with gentle flavors. Some spices, but syrupy oak flavors and a bit of orange marmalade, but sweeter than before.
So, this is a bit of a weird one. Not in regards to flavor, though. The flavors are very straight forward and very typical of a rye whisky. It’s even a tad predictable. What I’m trying to say is that this is very drinkable, but it will not blow you away and you’ll probably not remember it a year later.