Willetts Family Estate Bottled Straight Rye Whiskey is a superb small batch Rye whisky. This is the current 4 year old bottling, bottled at 56.4% ABV.
The Willett Distillery was founded by Thompson Willett on his family’s farm three short years after the repeal of prohibition. Both Thompson and his father has worked at the Max Selliger & Co. Distillery but, in 1936, Thompson left Selliger to build his own distillery and the first batch, which was approximately 30 barrels of spirit, was produced on the 17th March 1936. The distillery remained in Willett family ownership until 1st July 1984 when Even G. Kulsveen, son-in-law to Thompson Willett, purchased the property and formed Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Ltd., which Even’s family runs today.
After a period when no whiskey was distilled from the early 1980s (during which time it was an independent bottling company), the distilling plant was renovated and now has three operating stills – a column still, a “doubler”, and a pot still which recommenced distilling in 2012. As well as Johnny Drum whiskies the distillery also produces Noahs Mill, Johnny Drum, Willett’s Bourbon and Rowan’s Creek. The whiskey is stored in one of the eight warehouses each capable of holding between 5,000 to 6,000 barrels (total capacity 48,623 barrels), approximately a quarter the size of those found at other distilleries. The warehouses were built on some of the highest ground in the county, assuring that a fresh breeze would aid in the maturation of the whiskey.
Willetts Family Estate Bottled Straight Rye Whiskey 4 Year Old , is made at the new estate distillery which re-opened in 2012. It is aged for four years in hand selected white oak barrels for three years and bottled at cask strength. This batch is bottled at 56.4% ABV / 112.8 Proof.