Willett 4yr old Family Estate bottled Rye 56.4% ABV.

willett 4yr old rye
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This straight rye whisky is mid gold with a touch of amber in colour, it has a medium thick swirl line that beads up straight away and drops lovely thick legs.


The higher ABV is instantly apparent, but it doesn’t slap me, which is quite nice to be honest.

My first impression is one of black cherry sweetness, hazel nuts, a light gherkin juice aroma and spicy aromatic wood, it’s quite the nose so far.

For a few minutes there is a menthol note, which slowly gives way to botanicals and an evergreen bough, something akin to conifer limbs. It also has a dusty old room vine, along with wood varnish.


Super syrupy thick mouthfeel, and if the ABV is a little evident in the nose it certainly lets you know on the palate, it is a spice bomb, ooooooph.

There’s buckets full of cinnamon, ginger root, cardamom, anise, and black liquorice initially, it’s a tsunami of wonderful spices.

More time in the glass and it’s still all spice, and really warming. I’m thinking cherry strudel with vanilla custard with light dusting of nutmeg.

The longer I’ve left this whiskey the more it has calmed down, and eventually the spices become chest warming rather than a slap, and rolling tobacco aromas are coming forth.


We have a medium long finish here. And it gets into some espresso bitterness with blood oranges and possibly cranberries too, I’ll add pomelo also, not quite grapefruit bitter though. Then all of a sudden it just kind of disappears, and takes the spices with it, leaving tobacco leaves, brown sugar and the hazel nuts I first found on the palate.

My thoughts

As The Whiskey Chaps we’ve tasted a few American whiskies/Bourbons lately, and it’s been a mix of entry level and higher ABV bottlings. My partner in the Whiskey Chaps is rather into these whiskies, and it’s been awesome to try what he has, as there is definitely a difference.

He very kindly sent me this sample some time ago, sadly his bottle is well and truly long gone. I’d forgotten i had this in all honesty, and i’m so pleased he sent it as it’s a super Kentucky Rye whiskey. The ABV is perfect for me, and it starts with a super syrupy mouthfeel, bearing in mind it’s only 4 years old and i have to say it’s a cracking drop. There’s no doubt when i say i’d gladly have a bottle in my cupboard, i could enjoy this on a regular basis.

images courtesy of Harvey Nichols and kentuckybourbonwhiskey.com (Willett).

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