Producer: Willett. Distiller: MGP. 51.7% ABV.
Ran across this in the sports-barriest place you can imagine that could possibly be carrying something this interesting. Which is to say: I was surprised. And it was underpriced, given the $150+ retail cost of the bottle. And I’d noticed the bartender had a heavy hand. So I dove in.
Willett’s XCF Experimental Cask Finish is a 7-year-old MGP rye aged 90 days in Curacao casks (the bitter orange distillate that goes into Grand Marnier). Explosion of fiery orange off the bat. Rich, but with surprisingly little heat. The orange rind at the end of your old fashioned.
As it sat in the glass, the syrupy brandy notes grew stronger, though it retained enough range and rye spice to call to mind the Bulleit Rye, itself an MGP product with some dry orange notes.
Overall, it’s a curiosity I’m glad I tried, and would recommend for the adventurous — maybe as a cordial or digestif — but I won’t be hunting for a bottle at the price. Cheers, friends! – BO