Review: Willett Family Estate 3yr Rye

Willett Family Estate Small Batch 3yr Rye

American Rye - Bardstown, KY

56.3% ABV

Willett Family Estate 3 Yr Rye 

What makes for a solid American rye whiskey? Sure it’s easy to say that the bold and spicy character of rye itself serves a strong backbone. Thats a given… But how about qualities like depth, texture and balance? If you were ever under the impression that all rye whiskies were brash, hot and too reminiscent of spiced jet fuel then let me please be the one to shift your preconceptions in that all ryes were not created equal. Rinse out a fresh glencairn and get yourself a pour of Willett’s Family Estate Cask Strength Rye. 

Willett, the area of Bardstown, and Kentucky as a whole may be better known for its many top shelf bourbons, but this rye is truly one to set the standards for. Take a few swirls in your glass and let a beautiful medley of spice, dried fruits, grain and soft oak fill your nose as this whiskey dances. Take your time with it, this one just keeps getting better as it breathes. The high ABV may give your sinuses a bit of a prickle if you get yourself right in there, but don’t let that stop you from enjoying this amazing aroma. Once you are ready for your first sip you’ll find that the bite of the alcohol is not nearly as prominent as its bark. Soft rye and dark spices give way to way to bitter cocoa and candied orange leaving a glorious syrupy finish that will take you all the way through the rest of your evening. This whiskey can most definitely take water well. With two small drops the heated nose will become much softer while the citrus and oak characteristics come out a bit more while still extremely well balanced. No matter which way you take this whiskey I guarantee you will learn to love a rye, even if you thought you never could again. 

Jay ColeComment