WhistlePig 10-year-old rye whiskey (50% ABV)
Star rating: 4/5
WhistlePig are relative infants in the whiskey world. In an industry where age and seniority are currency, this Vermont outfit is making waves despite only purchasing their premises in 2007.
However, this infancy is seen as a blessing, with WhistlePig firmly believing the golden age of whiskey is ahead of us, their youth affording them the freedom to experiment with their output without the burden of centuries of tradition.
It must be a tough task trying something new when your consumer’s granddad’s grandma enjoyed the original recipe.
The company began by buying up a stock of 10-year-old blending whiskey in order to kick off their journey. Of course, it helps when launching a whiskey venture to have a trusted hand at the helm. WhistlePig boast Dave Pickerell as their master distiller, a man who served as Maker’s Mark’s master distiller for 14 years.
Since then, the company have made mistakes, tonnes of them, but they are thankful for their mistakes – they are seen as opportunities to learn. You can’t make strides in an industry as ancient and sacred as whiskey without making some outlandish decisions along the way.
The WhistlePig farm is an essential part of the process. The company owns over 500 acres of land, with their green pastures populated by pigs, sheep, goats, horses and bees – 20 acres of maple trees are used for syrup. This bountiful farm provides the distillery with fresh, high quality ingredients for their alchemy.
A number of experiments have been made in the finishing department. The distillery scoured the globe for the finest casks they could find in order to play around and see what they could do with their whiskies. WhistlePig went on to release whiskies aged in Sauternes, port and madeira casks.
Luckily, the company can draw on nearby Vermont oak trees. Short growing seasons leave these trees with more growth rings, each ring imparts an extra hit of flavour to the whiskey, with Dave Pickerell’s specially prescribed charring and toasting procedures maximising the effectiveness of the finish.
The most awarded rye whiskey in the world, the WhistlePig 10-year-old has a nose of charred oak, with orange peel that has been dried out on the dying embers, seasoned with allspice.
The palate pours in heaps of baking spices, homely cascades of cinnamon and nutmeg smother piles of cocoa and vanilla. The finish is satisfying and doesn’t overstay its welcome, focusing on peppery rye and salty caramel.
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This review was last updated in June 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.