This week's pick is courtesy of Karl Wurst, our spirits and sake buyer extraordinaire!
The Willett Distillery was built shortly after the repeal of Prohibition on a hilltop outside of Bardstown, Kentucky by brothers Thompson and Johnny Willett. Over the years it has gone through some major economic ups-and-downs. From the mid-to-late eighties, however, their fortunes have been on the upswing, starting with a huge cult following of their whiskeys in the Japanese market. As small-batch and single barrel whiskeys have come to be more appreciated in the United States, the Willett Distillery has grown, created some new products, and created a strong following among whiskey enthusiasts. Their bourbons, bottled under the name Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, include store favorites Rowan’s Creek and Noah’s Mill.
Recently introduced to New York, The Willett Distillery Straight Rye Whiskey is a very small production offering at an extraordinarily reasonable price.
Aged for four years in hand selected white oak barrels, each bottle is hand bottled and numbered. Bottled at 110 Proof, this is a rye whiskey that will keep you warm as chilly autumn breezes begin to blow in. That being said, it is not excessively hot or alcohol tasting. Instead the Willett Rye is rich, earthy and dry with a robust, black pepper spice on the finish.
Whether it is enjoyed as a sipping whiskey or as a component in an amazing cocktail, it is a fantastic choice. ($38)