Review: Willett 2 Year Rye

If you read other reviews I write, you know that I generally nerd out on history stuff and want to talk about the business details of some of these distilleries that I love, but its kind of late as I’m writing this, I’m kind of tired, and I honestly just want to drink this whiskey and enjoy it and not stress about writing the history of Willett. I’m sure I’ll write up another one down the road, so I’ll nerd it up then. For now I’ll just mention that this bottle is cool since it’s actually distilled at Willett, which hasn’t been a thing for decades. Glad to see they are rocking their own juice, and it’ll be great to see older releases as time goes on. Alright, it’s sippin’ time.

Company: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (KBD)

Distillery: Willett Distillery

Location: Bardstown, CA

Mash Bill: Unverified, but is likely a blend of 74% rye, 11% corn, 15% barley and 51% rye, 35% corn, 15% barley mash bills.

Age: 2 years

ABV: 54.9% (109.8 proof)

Released: Ongoing

Price: $42

Color: Golden honey

Nose: On first whiff I was really impressed by the sweetness on the aroma, it reminded me of roasted marshmallows. It’s obvious that this is a young whiskey, but I don’t care, it smells great. Great grain spice, green apple, and pine keep things light but really well balanced. I handed this to Kate and the first thing she said was “golden raisins”, so there’s that.

Taste: Super fruity with green apples, watermelon, and honey sweetness. My brain kept trying to identify which flavor of Jolly Rancher this tasted like (for some reason I get Jolly Ranchers a lot with ryes) and it kind of tastes like all of them. Like the aroma, you can tell it’s young, but who the shit cares, there is enough complexity and balance here it doesn’t matter. Pine, those golden raisins Kate mentioned, and mint also round out the palate.

Finish: The rye spice returns a bit here bringing some black pepper and cinnamon, and is accompanied by the first glimpse of oak. The sweetness from the taste remains and results in an incredibly complex finish that I would not have expected.

Overall: I’ve had this bottle sitting sealed on my shelf for a couple months now and have been scared to open it as I thought it would be a disappointment given its age. I was stupid and I’ll never get those two months back now. This stuff is bright and fruity and is a perfect representation of what a young whiskey can be. I can’t wait for the coming years when Willett releases this juice with more time in the barrel. I feel like the finish on this is a sneak peek into what the extra time will lend to this sauce, it’s going to be killer.

Rating:  4.5/5


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