Willet Exploratory Cask Finish Review Header

Willett Exploratory Cask Finish Review

In Rye Whiskey Reviews by Mike ReeseLeave a Comment


The finishing of a whiskey in a curacao cask is highly uncommon and presents a very unique divergence from the standard cask finishing offerings available on the market today.Mike Reese
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Willett Exploratory Cask Finish 1.0


  • DISTILLER: Bottled by The Willett Distillery (also known as Kentucky Bourbon Distillers Ltd.). Distilled by MGP and aged by Willett.
  • MASH BILL: 95% Rye  |  5% Malted Barley
  • AGE: NAS – No Age Statement
  • YEAR: 2015
  • PROOF: 103.4 (51.7% ABV)
  • MSRP: $140.00
NOSE: Vanilla Bean  |  Cinnamon  |  Clove  |  Light Oak

TASTE: Orange Peel  |  Maple  |  Baking Spice  |  Vanilla

FINISH: This whiskey is mouth coating, luscious and sweet from beginning to end, masking any real burn despite the high alcohol. On the back of the tongue there is a slight tingle with a strong hint of orange peel. Orange lingers for quite a while.

SHARE WITH: When I purchased this bottle, the retail price was $140 which is steep by any standard for a whiskey like this. It’s a complex bottle that, I’m sure, will have a split reaction to it. But I can certainly recommend that if you have a couple of good friends who are in to trying something unique and different, this is a great whiskey to start a great discussion about the complex and interesting flavors.

WORTH THE PRICE: If you’re open to a new, and totally different, whiskey this one might be worth trying. The experience is off the beaten track for most bourbon drinkers and doesn’t fit into a specific style which makes it all the more interesting and enjoyable. However, this is an extremely expensive bottle compared to other offerings and there are equally delicious bottles for significantly less than the $140 price.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: If you find it at a bar try it and you won’t be disappointed. If you really enjoy it and can picture yourself enjoying is then purchase a bottle… if you can find it!

OVERALL: Overall, the whiskey has a delicate but full flavor to it, without any harsh edges. The orange is the prominent component on the tongue, backed up by vanilla and some maple sweetness. The combination of these generally sweet components are balanced nicely with the spicy rye and the alcohol level. A couple of drops of water smoothed the experience further but I felt it lost some of the contrast that made it an excellent drink by pulling the alcohol back and thrusting the orange more forward. I would definitely suggest drinking this one neat to really get the whole package of the balance between the sweet components and the rye at this proof.


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Mike Reese

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Mike Reese is a born and bred Ohioan, living and working in the Akron area, an engineer by trade. Encouraged by a college friend to visit a local whiskey bar, the seed of whiskey was planted. Ever since, Mike's passions have involved spirits, beer and cigars, most importantly when they can be enjoyed with interesting conversation with family, friends or even complete strangers. The entrancing smell and taste of bourbon pales in comparison to the experience you can have while enjoying a glass with others. The ability to travel the world and share stories and a glass or two is about as close to heaven as it comes.

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