WhistlePig The Boss Hog III: The Independent 14 year old, 60.3%
Canadian | $300
So much wood, so beautifully integrated into dry straw, black fruits, and tart, pink grapefruit juice. Dry, with a farmy earthiness, and like the scotch hogsheads it was finished in, bigger than life. Icing sugar, red wine, and floral perfume. WhistlePig was the original U.S.-bottled Canadian 100% flavoring rye and after 4 years flexing in Vermont its muscles are enormous.
WhistlePig The Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve, 59.5%
Rye Whiskey | $500
Rich and mature with its deep flavors of spiced oak, figgy fruit, and varnish, turning to candy apple, dried flowers, hazelnut, torched sugar, and cracked black pepper. The palate is explosive at full proof, as sweet stone fruit gives way to earthy oak and tobacco. The calvados barrel maturation really sings on the finish, where sweet apple candies and pecan pie meet big cinnamon and ginger spices. Incredibly drinkable at this proof with well-balanced oak.
WhistlePig The Boss Hog II: The Spirit of Mortimer 13 year old (Barrel #1), 58.9%
Canadian | $189
More Canadian core rye from WhistlePig, this time at full-bore. It’s strong with rye, sweet with melon and dark chocolate notes, but with a wood character like the unfinished inside of an antique oak wardrobe. The antique wood is strong in the mouth, an oddly elegant note, but afterward comes the melon and chocolate, and oily, coiling rye. Interestingly complicated; a bit hard to make friends, but worth the time and effort.
WhistlePig The Boss Hog 12 year old Single Barrel, 67%
Rye Whiskey | $150
Brighter, bigger, and cleaner than its 10 year old stablemate (sty mate?), The Boss Hog squeals delightedly with spring flowers, fall fruit stands, heavy spicy cloves, and delicate esters. The alcohol tickles your nose but is soft on the palate, where fresh-baked rye bread mingles with dusty rye flour and Werther’s caramels. Fruity currents rise over sweet hot chocolate before the sweet spiciness returns for a long, slow fade. Great cask-strength whiskey with no need for water.
Imported from Canada (which suggests that maybe this whiskey was originally intended to be the flavoring component of a Canadian whisky?) and bottled in Vermont. This is a 100% unmalted rye whiskey (much higher than other traditional straight rye whiskeys). Indeed, this whiskey bleeds spices (especially brisk mint, vibrant clove, and teasing nutmeg), but there’s a rich, sweet foundation to balance it all (honeyed vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, and nutty toffee), along with candied citrus and charcoal. Bold, spicy, nutty toffee, butterscotch finish. Very distinctive, and probably a polarizing whiskey.
WhistlePig 15 year old Vermont Estate Oak Straight Rye Whisky, 46%
Canadian | $200
WhistlePig does nothing by half measures. They had massive oak trees culled from their Vermont property, coopered into heavily-charred barrels, then used them to finish batches of already mature 100% rye. Layer on layer of soft vanilla, old lumber, cinnamon, fresh orange peels, baking spice, dark fruits, and medicinal hints of resin. Peppery hot and oakily sweet. A slight dustiness and a big juicy butterscotch kiss.
A lively nose with scents of orange peel, wild strawberries, pepper spice, and herbal tea. The palate presents a balanced offering of cream, orange Creamsicle, and bitter chocolate, all overlaid with a ring of white pepper. The finish is long and silky, with more vanilla, some orange oil, sweet oak, and a hint of jalapeño pepper. Youthful and fresh for its age, with a lively complexity and bold character.
Regauged into once-used bourbon barrels, this is not the WhistlePig of old. Four years’ finishing in Vermont has toned down the sweetness and high notes, emphasizing a complex, leather/dark chocolate/tobacco spectrum instead. Lavender, violets, and ripe red fruit rise over dusty-dry barn boards, blue clay, and dark rye bread. The spicy rye tones glow with white pepper, while hints of astringent barrel oak keep a slight slipperiness from clinging.
Bright and lively, with violets, plenty of fresh oak, and traces of mint and pine, leading to a palate of butterscotch, bright citrus, warming spice, and sweet vanilla with drying and dusty cocoa. There is a glimmer of youth, expected given that 20% of this blend is their own distillery-made rye, aged less than 2 years. It’s an exciting glimpse of what’s to come, but the younger rye does little to enhance the great stuff they’ve been sourcing.
Whistle Pig raised the share of its own 2 year old rye from 20 percent to 32 percent in this second Farmstock release, balancing it against 6 and 10 year old sourced ryes, like in the 001 release. Fresh oak mixes with vanilla, orange peel, and pepper on the nose, leading to a palate of vanilla and butterscotch. Citrus emerges with water. Pepper notes return on the finish, along with chocolate and caramel. There’s youthfulness here, but also potential.
A puzzling whiskey, with golden raisin and treacle aromas, as well as cereal and butternut squash. The palate is dry and herbal, with faint hints of vinous fruit, herbs and spices, and plenty of oak. It finishes short, with almond, chocolate, and amaro-like herbaceousness. The third batch of FarmStock, this includes 52% WhistlePig’s own 3 year old rye, along with 31% 6 year old rye from MGP and 17% 10 year old rye from Alberta Distillers.