The UK has a new whiskey from the US, and it’s landed with fanfare in many of the influential icons of the drinks world laps as the bar trade is scrambling for a piece of what is known as WhistlePig. The oddly named is a straight rye whiskey, and is heralded as one of the best rye’s in the world today. But how did it earn such a moniker? Lets take a look.
Born in 2007, WhistlePig started its life when Raj P. Bhakta bought WhistlePig farm, containing 500 plus acres in Shoreham, Vermont. He joined forces with ex Makers Mark Master Distiller Dave Pickerell and set about finding the best batch of rye available in North America within a 5 year plan to bring rye back into the USA. The first day of 2010 saw Raj and his family clear out an old barn, and in 2013 they harvested their first crop of rye. WhistlePig prides itself as being the first ever ‘single malt, one-stop rye shop’, with all the stages of the whiskey process happening on site. Finally, in 2015, the single-estate farm distillery is open, with the first run of distillation scheduled for July 4th 2015.
So how is WhistlePig fairing within the first few years?
Until July, the WhistlePig has been distilled in western Canada, but once the summer rolls around and the whiskey flows from the WhistlePig farm, the whiskey will be matured within a warehouse located just a few feet away. It’s here that the spirit is within new American charred oak barrels (or early use bourbon barrels) for at least 10 years, braving the open warehouse elements.
So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
WhistlePig 10yr – 50%
Aged for 8 years in new American oak, then early use bourbon barrels for 2 years. Good depth on the nose, lots of aromas with soft spice and fruit. Subtle oak aromas combine well. Spice on the palate with a high, lively sweet and floral flavour, mixing well with the rye to create a very long, warm finish with a creamy texture.
A great spirit, which has caught the bartenders eyes a little –
World’s Greatest Rye Perfect Manhattan *
60 ml Whistlepig straight rye whiskey
15 ml Sweet vermouth
15 ml Dry vermouth
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Lemon peel, for garnish
Combine all liquid ingredients into an ice-filled mixing glass and stir briskly for about 15 to 20 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel after running the inside of the peel around the lip of the glass.
There are one or two other expressions that you may see popping up soon, including TripleOne, aged for 11 years and at 111 proof (55.5% abv) and Boss Hog 2014, selected from among the oldest barrels from Bond 77, which entered wood on April 5, 2001. Something different and exciting for your drinks cabinet, and despite the price, worthy of a cocktail or two as well. Enjoy.
* Recipe from The Five O’Clock Cocktail Blog
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