I have documented my love for Willett, in particular, their 2 Year Rye as an everyday product that everyone will love. So naturally I jumped at the chance to try the once a year release of the Exploratory Cask finish, or XCF, that is their 7-Year Rye finished in Curacao casks from France for about 90 days.
The nose is hot with a strong, unfinished booze smell; finished with a bitter orange. The taste echoes the bitter or spicy orange but as you sit with the product longer the orange flavor rounds out and comes through smoother. The finish is surprisingly raw for a product that has been aged 7 years; the heat from the booze shines in many ways.
At 103.4 proof you fully expect some of the heat from the alcohol to shine through but it is surprising how raw that flavor is for an older product. A fun product that it is a bit unbalance for my taste.