Tasting Notes for WhistlePig 15 Straight Rye Whiskey
Nose: Bursts of peppery rye, alongside buttery biscuits and toasted nuts.
Taste: Toffee and butterscotch, a little bit of dark chocolate too. Soft spices grow and grow. A touch of intense oak warmth.
Finish: There's still a good helping of exotic spice on the finish, with a lingering caramel sweetness.
Released in 2016, this is the 15 year old straight rye whiskey from WhistlePig in Vermont - their oldest release so far! Produced from 100% unmalted rye by Alberta Distillers, Canada, before being brought over the border to rest in American Oak barrels for a minimum of 15 years at the WhistlePig farm in Vermont, USA. Interestingly, this expression has enjoyed a finishing period in Vermont oak barrels which have been given a long toast and heavy char. Due to shorter growing seasons and harsh winters, Vermont oak has a tight grain pattern, which can affect the flavour profile of the whiskey - there's some tree terroir afoot here!
The story of WhistlePig began with the 2007 purchase of a Vermont dairy farm by founder and CEO Raj Peter Bhakta. He teamed up with former Maker's Mark Master Distiller David Pickerell (a legend in the whiskey world who passed away in 2018) to develop a rye whiskey that took on the farm's new name. The goal was to create a single malt, single estate whiskey using the farm's organically grown rye. The advantage of this 100 percent rye whiskey is that you get the raw taste of a grain that is more robust and flavorful than corn or any other grain used in whiskeys. It's something they pulled off very nicely.
In the end, WhistlePig has become a favorite for those who appreciate full-flavored rye. The brand once used the phrase "rugged grain refined" and it is an accurate description of what you will find in every bottle of WhistlePig.
Any whiskey takes time to develop using ideal methods; WhistlePig is a good example of quick sourcing and perseverance. The first bottles were released in 2010 after Pickerell found a Canadian rye whiskey that met his esteemed standards—he was a tutor for many professionals on the finer points of whiskey tasting—and decided to put it to better use than the Canadian whisky blends it was intended for. They then implemented a two-barrel aging process to further show off the spicy rye.
The first round of the 10-year aging process for WhistlePig's signature bottling happens in new American oak barrels and the second in used bourbon barrels. This gives the whiskey the best of both worlds, adding unique undertones to the finished product. In 2014, the Vermont government gave WhistlePig permission to build their own distillery on the Shoreham farm where the rye is already grown and the hand-bottling takes place. The distillery, complete with a copper pot still designed by Pickerell, has been in full operation there since 2015.
Producer Distilled at Alberta Distillers, Canada, and matured at Whistlepig Farm, Vermont, USA. Style Straight Rye Whiskey Age A minimum of 15 years Volume 75CL ABV 46%