I have to be honest I have not been a regular Willett tippler. I dug deep into a bottle of Willett Pot Still Bourbon a few summers ago and passed out on a raft on a lake. It was a delicious and relaxing time. I had a pour of their 8 year rye when I was at Jack Rose in Washington, D.C. earlier this year. It was smooth, spicy, and delicious. But, it failed to live up to the likes of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof and E.H. Taylor Barrel Proof (which I had the same evening). Outside of those events I have had very few experiences with Willett whiskeys.
That is until they released their Family Estate 2 Year Rye. For a long time Willett has been a NDP. Meaning they have purchase whiskeys from other sources and bottled them under the Willett name. I don’t have a problem with this at all. MGP ryes are delicious. Smooth Ambler and High West do a great job of sourcing and bottling (and are honest about their process and products). But, it is also nice to see a highly respected NDP, like Willett, work through the distilling and aging process and begin to bottle their own product. This is their first self-produced product, in many, many years, and I was so excited to partake I bought two bottles. One to drink now and one to put aside so I can do a side-by-side with their many self-produced ryes to come. So, with this one being so young, how good can it really be? Let’s find out.
WILLETT FAMILY ESTATE 2 YEAR RYE
Distiller: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd. or The Willett Distillery
Age: 2 Years Old
ABV: 53.85% (This came out in various batches with different ABVs)
I find this whiskey beautiful. It is very floral. It is also loaded with cinnamon red hots. The more it sits and opens up I began to find mint, orange zest, all-spice, and a little oak (even for its age). The burn was not overwhelming. UPDATE – Tons of golden raisins have revealed themselves on the nose as this has progressed!
This is a very tasty tipple. There is a lot of citrus up front with orange and grapefruit dominating the front of the palate. Some vanilla comes through. The cinnamon red hots and mint notes are still there but they take a back seat on the taste. Florals move in at the end and jump back-and-forth across the palate. This one has some depth and character for its age. Some people have found new make flavors with this tipple but they were not present in my bottle. UPDATE – Tons of golden raisins have revealed themselves on the palate as well as this has progressed!
Medium-long. Spicy and sugary. The orange note lingers on through the end.
I feel like I must address the matter of value. In a whiskey world inundated with over-hyped, over-aged products, value has been lost and must be redeemed. There are still some good whiskeys at prices which are easy on the wallet. You don’t have to take out a second mortgage on your home to buy a tasty tipple. This is one of those tipples. While it is 2 years old, with its depth, character, and price around the mid thirties you cannot go wrong. This is a great tipple at a great price. Lets just hope it remains affordable as it ages.
This is truly a great tipple. While it is young, it is bold, deep, and truly tasty. I am excited to experience this one as it ages over the years.
91/100 (An Excellent Tipple)