Vintage Rye 23 Year


Classification: Rye

Company: Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (KBD)

Distillery: Willett Distillery (Sourced)

Released: 2008 (Estimated)

Proof: 94

Age: 23 Years

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color:  Incredibly deep dark amber

MSRP: $90

Official Website

Various ages have been produced including 17 and 21 year variations. Kentucky Bourbon Distillers is family owned and operated and rarely (if ever) identifies itself as the producing company on their labels, using fictitious company names instead.


Tobacco, burnt wood, rich vanilla, and caramel. Robust and fairly complex.


Buries you with wood flavors - old wood, tobacco, cigar box, burnt caramel, and vanilla.


A mix of bitter old wood, dark chocolate, leather, and the tail end of a cigar. Lengthy, but hard to tell if it’s incredibly complex or just weird. The longer you sit thinking about it, the worse it seems to get.


Heavy on wood, super high age for a rye, difficult to find, secret backstory. This creates a recipe for a unique pour and some interesting discussions along the way. I hate to give credit to a secret backstory, but you have to wonder where this 23 year old was born and raised. It’s got a few younger siblings as well - 17 and 21 year-olds. I haven’t had the opportunity to taste them, but it seems as if the 23 year version is about as heavy on wood as anyone might like.


This isn’t something you’re going to want to drink every day, but rather an occasional pour with others who just want to experience it. We purchased ours directly from a liquor store for $90. Would I pay $90 if this was always available? Never. The Buffalo Trace Antique Collection blows this out of the water, so it’s arguably not even worth $70 a bottle. However, we don’t live in a bubble. The value lies in the fact that it’s difficult or impossible to find and sports a super high age and an interesting flavor profile. These additional facts could arguably make it priced right at $90 a bottle.


If you like heavy wood and complexity, this is for you.

It starts on a high note and goes downhill from there. For me this is a little too woody to be an everyday sipper. I’ll give it interesting, better than many standard issue whiskeys out there. But it doesn’t have the balance and refinement I expect from quality aging. It doesn’t have the X-factor. Quite frankly, it doesn’t really have the rye spice elements I like either. Although a quality whiskey, this is somewhat of a disappointment overall. You’ll want to share this with others who appreciate interesting flavor profiles, but I doubt many whiskey drinkers would ever make this a go-to even if it was readily available.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Nick Beiter

June 3, 2014
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