This is the first we have tried Willett Family Estate, Small Batch, Straight Rye Whiskey. They have ages running from 2 to 8 years, the bottle we are sampling was aged 2 years. Willett Rye comes in the same ordinary looking bottle that all Willett comes in, except the previously mentioned Pot Still. It is bottled at 107.7 proof, sells for around $38 for the 750 ML and can be found at most places that sell higher end spirits.
Todd: My first thought was Irish Whiskey. I don’t think I ever smelled a Rye like this and I don’t necessarily say that in a good way. Going beyond the Irish Whiskey I picked up some almonds, honey, malt and a slight banana scent. Just okay.
Ron: Strong hot nose that actually tickled my nose hairs. Ignoring that I picked up aromas of spice, cedar, and anise. Also got hints of yeast and leather. All in all a decent nose.
Todd: Very hot neat, needs water or melted ice. Got pretty much what I got on the nose with almonds, malt and that crazy Irish whiskey thing leading the way. I got a slight taste of some kind of grain or toast lingering in the back ground.
Ron: Like Todd, I found the tastes very similar to the smells. Getting cedar, anise and spice along with citrus and tobacco as the dominant tastes. Coming in behind that was honey and that same toast like taste that Todd got. And while I hate to keep agreeing with Todd, if I didn’t know better I would swear I was drinking an Irish Whiskey.
Todd: A nutty medium long finish.
Ron: Medium long with not much change in the taste.
Todd: I want to say that I love Irish Whiskey. Now having said that, when I buy a Rye I want it to taste like a Rye not like a bottle of Jamison’s. In fact, I like Jamison’s better than this. Anyway, I wasn’t blown away by the nose or the finish. The taste had some complexity but still lacked something.
Ron: I liked it better than Todd, even though it does remind one of Irish Whiskey. Not sure I would buy it again.
Nose 3.25 out of 5
Taste 7.5 out of 10
Finish 3.25 out of 5
Total score 14 out of 20 Barrels
Some final thoughts on our review of Willett Rye, First, $38 is way too much to pay for a 2 year old Whiskey. Second, if you are going to charge that amount you better have an outstanding product which this is not. And third, a straight Rye should taste like Rye!