The Rare Perfection brand is put out by those wonderful Willett folks the Kulsveens and was part of an epic set of tastings we did at the SoCal Whiskey Club where we went through almost all of the Very Olde St. Nick bourbon and rye lineup which is also done by the Kulsveens, which is why it was included.
Over the years I’ve had quite a few of the Willett ryes and bourbons and each release I’ve had can be described in one of two ways. Good or great (especially the older bourbons… wowza). I’ve never had a glass of Willett that I didn’t want a bottle of and this Rare Perfection is no different. Though it tastes completely different from any of the Willett branded rye releases I’ve had so I can only assume that it’s from a completely different source and likely the same source as some of the Very Olde St. Nick bottles if taste is anything to go off of.
Rare Perfection 16 year Rye Review
Age: 16 yrs.
Price: NA – Prices vary due to rarity (Japan export)
Bottler: The Kulsveens
Dark caramel with some red in it
A nice spicy rye nose with notes of wood, dark fruit and butterscotch. Some salted caramel and a bit of simple syrup and citrus. The nose has a nice presence to it and easily fills the glass and olfactory.
The rye spice is a little more upfront and continues to build as it goes. Caramel, candied citrus rind, toffee, burnt lime, and raw grains move along with the spice. It’s a tasty experience but the nice notes of wood from the nose seemed to have been lost here on the palate.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Unusually sweet for a rye. For me that throws the balance off a bit because even though the rye spice is present it seems to battle with the sweet notes. However, a rich thick body and soft oily texture definitely make for a nice drinking experience.
Long with notes of red fruits (cherries, raspberries and the like), rye spice, caramel, wood and an odd touch of bubblegum. Still, not bad at all.
It has a bourbon like quality to it that I find interesting, perplexing and exciting all at once. The sweet and spicy nose with bits of wood is very nice and moves gracefully to the palate where the wood seems to get lost, but it remains pleasant. Combine that with the nice long finish that’s more sweet than spice and it’s definitely something worth trying if you come across it. It won’t be easy to do, but should the stars align pounce on the opportunity.
SCORE: 86-90/100 (range given due to having it at a tasting and not in a controlled environment at home)