Review #120 Willett Family Estate 4 Year Rye Whiskey

Distillery: Willett Distillery

Proof: 111.2

Age: 4 Years

Mashbill: Blend of Willett high rye mashbill (74% rye, 11% corn, 15% malted barley) and the Willett low rye mashbill (51% rye, 34% corn, 15% malted barley)

BACKGROUND: Willett distillery has one of the most unique histories of all American Whiskey distilleries. Willett Distillery has and continues to source whiskey and distill their own whiskey depending on the product. Willett Distillery operates under the name Kentucky Bourbon Distillers. Willett produces the Family Estate Bourbon (Purple Top), Family Estate Rye (Green Top), Willett Pot Still Bourbon, Noah's Mill, Rowan's Creek, Old Bardstown, and Pure Kentucky. In 2010, Willett began distilling and producing their own whiskey again for the first time since 1980. To celebrate this rebirth, in 2014, Willett released a 2 year old rye whiskey made of their own whiskey. This whiskey was warmly received and since then, Willett has continued to release this as their standard rye whiskey with a 4 year age statement. This whiskey is released in small batches at cask strength which means you may find some with younger age statements and different proofs. Willett also does private barrel selections of their rye whiskey and those have age statements up to 10 years. Unlike their original caps which were sealed with wax, the new Family Estate rye is sealed with Green aluminum.

NOSE: The nose is quite unique for a rye whiskey. We pulled strong notes of fresh lemons and brown sugar that reminded us on limoncello. Along with the lemon and brown sugar are notes of toasted wood, and feint scents of almond extract. There is delicacy to this nose that left us inclined and curious. There is no burn found with this nose at all! (22/25)

PALATE: As soon as you take a sip of this whiskey you are welcomed with a rich and creamy feeling whiskey with more lemon notes that reminded us of limoncello, citrus tea, hard lemon candy, and oak to start. The spicy rye notes build and make themselves known as the whiskey sits on your palate. On a second sip I pulled some cotton candy and toasted mash-mellow notes. Overall, this whiskey has a very unique flavor profile that is very citrusy sweet with rye spice adding an edge. (33/40)

FINISH: The finish is long and juicy with spicy rye notes supported by marsh-mellow, cracked pepper, and some oak. There is a slight burn as it goes down but it left our mouths watering and wanting another sip. (22/25)


VALUE: Willett Family Estate Rye Whiskey has an SRP of $54 but I have seen it have a secondary price up to $100. I would pay up to $60 for it as I think $100 for a 4 year rye is quite pricey. (7/10)

Overall: 84/100

FINAL THOUGHTS: Willett 4 Year Family Estate Rye Whiskey is a classic rye whiskey with a sweeter side! It is very smooth, sweet and enjoyable and I recommend this to anyone who enjoys sweeter whiskeys or classic rye whiskeys. Willett Family Estate also has some incredible private barrels that we recommend picking up if you ever see a bottle for a reasonable amount.


Similar & Slightly Better Whiskey: Sonoma Brother's Rye Whiskey

Similar & Equal Whiskey: Traverse City North Coast Rye Whiskey

Similar & Slightly Worse Whiskey: Spirit Works Rye Whiskey

Tell us what you think and give us some feedback!


Scoring Legend:

96-100: The perfect dram, juice of the gods

90-95: Near perfect, truly incredible whiskey

85-89: Amazing whiskey, will always try to keep a backup bottle of this

80-84: Very good, some minor flaws here or there

75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink, Will try and keep a bottle on the shelf

70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get this

60-69: Decent, would offer this up to non whiskey drinkers

50-59: Not my cup of tea

Below 50: Give away


219 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All