It's funny to think that only five years ago there was literally no way for Americans to taste whiskey from LDI. Now it seems that a week doesn't go by without a new release of LDI whiskey.
LDI is, of course, Lawrenceburg Distillers Indiana. Located right across the river from Kentucky, LDI is a huge distillery but they distill on a contract only basis, so they don't release any of their own whiskey. Formerly a Seagram's distillery, LDI is currently owned by the financially troubled Angostura, which is in the process of selling it to Midwest Grain Products, a maker of neutral spirits.
If you've had Templeton Rye, Redemption Rye or Bulleit Rye, then you've had LDI rye. It's very seldom marketed as such, but there are clues. "Product of Indiana" on the label is a big giveaway. And in press releases for a new sourced bourbon or rye from a bottler, if they don't mention Kentucky explicitly, LDI is a pretty good guess.
Now Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (KBD), the biggest independent bottler of American Whiskey, has their own LDI rye, a three year old released under the Willett label. There are a few different versions of this out there which range in abv. This one comes in at 55%.
Willett Rye, 3 years old, Single Barrel (Barrel 6), 55% abv ($36)
The nose is what I've come to expect from young LDI ryes, strong rye notes, pickle juice, caraway. The palate is a huge mint bomb with plenty of spice and pine. It's a good sock-you-in-the-face rye. The only real flaw is a touch of unpleasant bitterness on the finish.
I liked this better than a lot of the young LDI rye I've had. I appreciate that KBD bottled it at cask strength which is likely what makes it more interesting than many of the more watered down LDI ryes on the market. It's a fun one, at a good price, that's worth a try.