Bottles I didn’t buy: Willett XCF Rye

Willett XCFI was in a liquor store today, and it happened to be at the same time that a distributor was bringing some things in. On the shelf, he had just placed a nice display of Willett XCF Rye, which I had heard of but never seen. The packaging is lovely – the stark white label and hand drawn illustrations are a nice change of pace amidst the typical text-heavy labels of other American whiskeys.

As for what’s inside – XCF stands for Exploratory Cask Finish, but it could just as well stand for “Extra Costs For (you).” Is that too harsh? I’m sorry. I just can’t see spending well north of $150+ on seven year old rye that was bought from MGP in Indiana and finished all of 90 days extra in a fancy used bourbon barrels that were also used in the making of Grand Marnier (or, as the label states, “finished in Curacao casks sourced from France”). The price at this store was actually quite a bit less than what I’ve read that others have paid – $130 vs. a more common $150-$200 elsewhere. Bargain? Not for me. I’ll happily pass on this and pick up 4 or 5 bottles of Rittenhouse Rye instead.

This particular Willett XCF is called out as version 1.0, meaning more are likely on the way. Is it delicious? I don’t doubt it. Orange (from the Grand Marnier casks) and rye go quite nicely together. (Read Sku’s review here.) Will it sell? Maybe so. The market has an apparently unquenchable thirst for anything rare and limited, so this fits the bill. Speaking of which… they had one bottle of Jefferson’s Ocean behind the counter. I didn’t even ask the price. I have better ways to spend my whiskey dollars than on gimmicks and hype.

8 Replies to “Bottles I didn’t buy: Willett XCF Rye”

    1. Gerald, did I say crooks? No. Willett puts out some very good whiskey, they’re just asking a lot of money for something that they’re doing that no one else has done, and they have every right to charge high prices if folks are willing to pay. I’m just not one of those folks for this particular Willett.

        1. Common Sense, I presented my thoughts on paying $130+ for a 7 year MGP rye aged 90 days in Curacao casks. I expressed my opinion that this particular whiskey is overpriced and not one I would choose to spend that kind of money on given other ryes available on the market. I also expressed that it’s probably delicious whiskey! (and that the packaging is very nice) Did I “shit all over it” as you accuse? Absolutely not. Willett is doing interesting things and they have every right to ask these prices.

  1. I’m completely with you in this. No way would I pay $150 for a 7 year MGP rye. The sad thing is that the market will likely support the price, which means the sane among us are going to miss out on some nice bottles. Still, I’m not going to lose sleep over this one.

  2. You presented your thoughts – I.e. you took us on your personal mental masturbation of why someone like yourself wouldn’t pay x price for y product. Without tasting it.
    How about you taste it first THEN post your thoughts? It’s hard to take you seriously calling this “overpriced” without tasting it.


  3. Usually when I read reviews of bourbons…. or heck for that matter stereo equipment or microwave ovens….. I tend to ignore those that have anything to say about something they have never even opened the box and tried. So AWESOME job talking about the packaging of this product…. but I hope nobody even gives this review the time of the day. Go read a review of someone who actually spent the $5, $50 or $5000 to review the product before you take someone’s “word” for it who has never even tasted it! Its the internet folks….. these computers will let you type anything at all into them….. doesn’t mean its true!

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