Wolves Whiskey teamed up with Kentucky-rooted Willett Distillery to create a highly-limited edition whiskey – the first in a series of Rye expressions from Californian luxury whiskey brand. The Rye Project – Vol. One, Batch One is a blend of 6 year 51% Rye whiskey distilled in Indiana and aged in Sonoma County, blended with 6 and 7 year 74% Rye whiskey distilled and aged by Willett in Kentucky. The majority of the resulting blend is Willett’s 6 and 7 year Rye.
Wolves Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic and Willett Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen handpicked 6 and 7 year old barrels of Willett straight rye whiskey with a 74% rye mash bill. The barrels were pulled from Willett warehouse A, South Rick 14, and warehouse H, South Rick 6.
We wanted to deliver a rye on the low-rye side of the spectrum, and we didn’t want to alter the spirit with a barrel finish. Find the best barrels, balance the blend. When you’re working on a blend with Drew and Marko, your job is largely to get out of the way and let them do their thing. These are two of the best in the game, and this product represents that. – Jeremy Joseph, Wolves CEO
Oaky and peppery hot right off the pour, the nose softens, settling into dried fruit, floral, vanilla, and baking spice sweetness. Oak, dried dark fruit, followed by butterscotch, and angel food cake create an oily mouthfeel. The finish is medium-short, with a lingering presence of warm vanilla.
Each bottle of The Rye Project – Vol. One, Batch One is garnished with the textured label that was created in collaboration with a bespoke wine label producer in Sonoma County. The design of a custom cork top draws inspiration from the knob of a baseball bat – Jon Buscemi’s family treasure.
We want to deliver straightforward and balanced expressions of the best rye in the world, in a lower-rye format. We started from a place of sweet more than spice, and built from there. The depth and complexity of this rye whiskey is unique and consistent with the elite quality produced by the Willett house. We liked what was happening at 103 proof and bottled Batch One there. We were very fortunate to partner with Drew for our first run of Rye. – Jon Buscemi, Wolves Co-Founder Jon Buscemi
Volume One will be released in two batches. Limited to 623 9-liter cases, Batch One is bottled at 103 proof. The $219 whiskey will be released at WolvesWhiskeyCA.com on December 6, 2021. The bottle is packaged into the custom canvas sleeve.
The collaboration whiskey developed out of a friendship. I met the Wolves guys at a bourbon and cigar event in Bardstown a few years ago and our relationship grew from there. The project was born out of the good times we’ve had together and will certainly fuel future celebrations. The Wolves team pays attention to every detail – down to the cork. – Drew Kulsveen, Willett Master Distiller
Batch Two will be at Barrel Strength and released in the Spring of 2022.