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Willett Straight Rye - Now a 5 year version!


humchan2k
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Hi SBers,

I just found a new iteration of the Willett straight rye series - 5 year, 110 proof....they have slowly been upping the age statement...first 2, then 3, then 4, now 5...wonder what the thought process was behind all of this LDI rye release? So far I've had the 3, 4, and have yet to open the 5...has anyone else tried it yet?

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bad_scientist
Hi SBers,

I just found a new iteration of the Willett straight rye series - 5 year, 110 proof....they have slowly been upping the age statement...first 2, then 3, then 4, now 5...wonder what the thought process was behind all of this LDI rye release? So far I've had the 3, 4, and have yet to open the 5...has anyone else tried it yet?

I bought one on Thursday and will get it in the mail tomorrow. I'll post tasting notes.

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This is a post I made in January in the What Rye are you enjoying thread. I'm about 1/2 through this bottle and really enjoying it. Only other note I would add is a sweet herbal note, which is quite nice with the dry finish. I really like this bottle. Let me know your thoughts.

Bill.

"Willett Single Barrell: 5 year, 110 proof.

Just opened this bottle.

Color: honey

Nose: minty, oaky

Taste: Dry, oaky with a long deep minty-rye finish

I'm really enjoying this. Very high quality rye. Nice price also."

__________________

"Civilization begins with distillation."

William Faulkner

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bad_scientist

Okay, tasting notes for the first pour. It scarcely needs mentioning that it will change over time after opening.

Nose: Not that much, surprisingly. I've got it in a Glencairn, which should concentrate the nose. More than anything, I get a sweetness and slightly underripe orange, like when you get a nice deeply colored orange and bit into a slice, but it's sharp and acidic instead of juicy and sweet. Not so much fun to eat, but pretty nice to smell. I imagine orange bitters are like this.

Palate: Mint and ginger along with the slightly underripe orange again. This is serious orange, like eating a piece with a lot of the white stuff on it. Vegetal, a bit bitter, sharp and acidic. There is some very welcome cinnamon, not something I usually get in young ryes. A sweetness and sort of blunted roundness keeps this from being too sharp. It's pretty even-keeled, actually. There is very little of the pickle juice flavor I usually get from LDI stuff. No cherries, either.

Finish: a bit softer and with plenty barrel char, and a bit of vanilla. This is where the age shows up most. A bit of the sharper LDI flavor, but it's just mixed in with the other flavors.

To sum up, it's almost as though a young LDI was blended with OWA. The cinnamon, sweetness, and char of the OWA turn up here and there, more in the finish than on the palate, but it's a nice counterpoint to the rye. The rye has a family resemblence to the other LDIs, but there is little of the sharpness I've come to associate with LDI. It's not exactly a super-complex whiskey, but I'm really into it. I think it's about as complex as Ritt BiB, but there's more rye and the finish is a bit longer and holds together better.

EDIT: as time goes by, it has changed in the glass. Lots more of the typical LDI flavors. It gave me an idea, though, to mix maybe 4 parts rye to 1 part OWA. Pretty good! I think I'll vat some more.

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...very little of the pickle juice flavor I usually get from LDI stuff.

Sorry to post off topic, but I got a pickle juice flavor in a recent bottle of 4R SB. I tasted it two nights in a row. After sitting on the shelf for a few weeks, I no longer got this character. Any idea what's causing this character? Are there any whiskeys (other than LDI ryes) that you've noticed it in?

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bad_scientist

Just an update on the taste of the one I got on Monday (possibly the very last whiskey I'll ever get online).

All the barrel flavors are gone, and now it's all the traditional LDI flavor. I'm happy it's higher proof than the others that are readily available, but it's not exactly special in its profile. I did, however, find that it makes for a really, really good old-fashioned, much more distinctive than most.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I get the pickle juice flavor also with the 4 year old, if I don't add water. It goes away with a splash of water. The sales guy at Spec's says he think the Willet 4 year was the best rye they had including the Handy. I am inclined to agree. Fantastic stuff!

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If you want a 5-6 year old Willett rye.... buy a bottle of Bulleit Rye. Same juice, albeit at a different bottling ABV, at a much better price,

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If you want a 5-6 year old Willett rye.... buy a bottle of Bulleit Rye. Same juice, albeit at a different bottling ABV, at a much better price,

How do you figure?

If you adjust it for proof, they're almost the same price, although the Willett is a little more expensive (just over a buck).

That's using Party Source prices for both ($31.99 and $24.99 respectively). I know you can get good deals on Bulleit when it's on sale but I think the Willett is really great regardless of price. And remember, it is a single barrel, so one assumes that there had to be some level of discrimination in the selection.

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If you want a 5-6 year old Willett rye.... buy a bottle of Bulleit Rye. Same juice, albeit at a different bottling ABV, at a much better price,

The bottle of 3yo Willet Rye I had was unfiltered; Bulleit is chill-filtered. The makes a huge difference IMO.

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If you want a 5-6 year old Willett rye.... buy a bottle of Bulleit Rye. Same juice, albeit at a different bottling ABV, at a much better price,

I am awful new around here to be disagreeing I guess, but I just don't think they are equivalent. For one thing the Willett is a single barrel, also the higher proof makes a huge difference. Don't get me wrong I love Bulleit as an everyday rye, but at least with the 4 year Willett I have it doesn't come close. Now..if the Bulleit folks would consider a 100 proof or cask strength version...

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The bottle of 3yo Willet Rye I had was unfiltered; Bulleit is chill-filtered. The makes a huge difference IMO.

Agreed. I like both, but my nod goes to Wilett.

B

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The bottle of 3yo Willet Rye I had was unfiltered; Bulleit is chill-filtered. The makes a huge difference IMO.

I agree. I have Bulleit at home, along with Willett 3 and 4yr. While it's all LDI, the uncut/unfiltered aspect leaves Bulleit in the dust.

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Restaurant man

Anyone ever dropped the proof on the willett to see if the can pick em out blind?

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I have come close to the Bulleit Proof although did not measure exactly. To me, the Willett has a better mouthfeel and is spicier. Not as watery as the Bulleit.

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I picked a couple of Willett 4 and now 5 yo ryes at Total Wine and did a blind side by side. Just about identical to my palate. I really couldn't tell them apart. The abv is the same, 55%

Today sipping on some WT 101 rye that I found at a local store. Not nearly as bold and flavorful as the LDI rye but also lacked the minty taste of the LDI which is a good thing. The WT is an easy sipper. I don't even want to think about an 81 pf rye

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  • 3 months later...

Picked up a bottle of the 5 year the other day from Party Source. I get much less mint and more sweetness than others have tasted. Reminds me a little of Ritt BiB. Highly recommend and will likely buy another bottle next time in Cincy, hopefully a couple of bottles will still be on the shelves.

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  • 2 months later...

Okay, I want to get this right - most of you are saying that buying the Willett 5 yr 110pf @ say $33.99 is a better idea than buying the Bulleit Rye @ say $27.99, eh?

I haven't been able to pull the trigger on Bulleit Rye 'cause the price seems too high, but as soon as I saw the Willett, BANG! Had to have it. I think I made a mistake, tho. I only got one (along with 2 RittBIB). Both were my 1st sightings of these expressions.

Edited by MauiSon
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Okay, I want to get this right - most of you are saying that buying the Willett 5 yr 110pf @ say $33.99 is a better idea than buying the Bulleit Rye @ say $27.99, eh?

YES, YES, YES!!!!

From my perspective, this isn't a case about dollars to proof, but dollars to drinking enjoyment.

Hands down, the Willett Rye's in the 3-5+yr range some of, if not the best rye on the market for that age bracket. Wonderful rye flavor, perfect neat, holds up with water wonderfully, and great in a cocktail. That is something that most cannot do. They may do one or two at a stretch, but not the trifecta.

And the price is great for what you get, IMHO.

I just hope that they have some more stashed away aging gracefully, I'd love to have some as they get older.

B

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Okay, I want to get this right - most of you are saying that buying the Willett 5 yr 110pf @ say $33.99 is a better idea than buying the Bulleit Rye @ say $27.99, eh?

I haven't been able to pull the trigger on Bulleit Rye 'cause the price seems too high, but as soon as I saw the Willett, BANG! Had to have it. I think I made a mistake, tho. I only got one (along with 2 RittBIB). Both were my 1st sightings of these expressions.

At the very least the Willet is higher proof, more than 20% higher so in terms of proof/$ it's about the same value

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