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The availability of rye whiskey at cask strength/barrel proof seems to be the next movement in the whiskey business and Willett seems to be releasing quite a bit of young rye stock ranging from 2-8yo. Not many rye whiskeys are released at such a strength, so when I saw that my local store had SB releases of ages 4-8 yrs, I couldn't pass up on this treat. Here I review SB No. 122 bottle at 58.2% abv and which is 6 yrs old.
Nose: Cedar, grain, flower, saw dust, fresh cut lumber, pickle juice. After you let it breath it becomes much sweeter but not too much like some bourbons. Powdered sugar is how I would describe the sweetness. It's there but very light.
Taste: Cedar wood and a tremendous amount of spice. On the palate this whiskey's weight and viscosity can be felt. The heat is prominent because of the high abv. After letting it sit, it becomes a mix of sugar, spice, wood, and heat.
Finish: Pickle juice, cedar wood, curry, very oily finish.
If one thing is reproachable about this rye is that it's pricey, at around $70-80 a bottle. That's not cheap, and when compared to retail price of say Thomas H. Handy and how good that product is, it shouldn't even be in the same ballpark. But it is a good rye (although sourced), at barrel strength, and more easily available than other bottlings. I'm willing to pay the price because well, not much is out there to choose from.