The Rye Project, Volume One, Batch One is a collaboration between California-based Wolves and Kentucky-rooted Willett Distillery.
The Rye Project is anchored by a very low-content (51%) rye whiskey distilled in Indiana, aged in new American oak for 6 years, then transplanted to Sonoma County for additional aging.
This initial low-rye whiskey was blended with additional rye barrels selected from Willett Distillery. The majority of the resulting blend is Willett’s 6- and 7-year rye.
To get there, Wolves Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic and Willett Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen selected 6- and 7-year-old barrels of Willett straight rye whiskey with a 74% rye mash bill. The barrels came from Willett warehouse A, South Rick 14 and warehouse H, South Rick 6.
“We want to deliver straightforward and balanced expressions of the best rye in the world, in a lower-rye format,” explained Wolves Co-Founder Jon Buscemi. “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,” adds Buscemi. “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. ”
The custom cork top was inspired by the knob of a baseball bat that is a family heirloom of Buscemi. The textured label was created in partnership with a bespoke wine label producer in Sonoma County.
“The collaboration whiskey developed out of a friendship,” says Kulsveen. “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”
The Rye Project, Volume One, Batch One is limited to 623 9-liter cases. It is set to release in November and December in CA, NY, TX, IL, CO, NJ, FL, CT, NV, AZ, MN, MD and DC.
The second and final batch will release at barrel strength in the spring.
Sign up for allocation at WolvesWhiskeyCA.com to have the first direct chance at the release on December 6.
The suggested retail price is $219 per 750-ml. bottle.