Willett Family Estate Small Batch Rye 4 Year

American Whiskey Review #39: Willett Family Estate Small Batch Rye 4 Year

Distillery: Willett

Region: Kentucky

Price: Many thanks to /u/GoatFester

for letting me try this one!

ABV: 54.5%

Age: 4 Year

Color: 1.2, Chestnut/Oloroso Sherry.


Nose: (according to the wife) It’s like opening up a can of pineapples. You get the ultra sugary pineapple juice smell that only comes from a can. There’s a little bit of maraschino cherry as well.

Palate: Pretty smooth. There’s a lot of cherry up front, it’s a mix of the maraschino cherries and some fresh ones. Some vanilla comes along afterwards and the combination of the two reminds me of cherry cream soda or cherry vanilla bit of cherry vanilla coke. The rye is a bit shy in this one, I didn’t start to taste any of it until about halfway through my glass. It’s a very doughy rye note, not quite rye bread but not the full baking spice rye either.

Finish: Medium in length. The cherry cream soda dominates here again. It does burn a bit as it goes down, which water didn’t seem to fix.

Conclusion: A friend of mine shared a bit of this once before and, while I can’t say I remember a whole lot about that night, I do remember enjoying this whisky. It’s definitely enjoyable, the sugary fruity notes in the nose and palate along with that bit of vanilla make sure of it. The doughy rye note is really interesting and not one I’ve had before. My two complaints about this whisky are that it lacks complexity and that it burns a bit more than I’d like. Not a bad one though and one I wouldn’t mind keeping around!

Final Score: 77.

American Whiskey Review #39, Rye Review #9, Whisky Network Review #252


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.

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