I know that this rye has a huge following but I have never been a huge fan of WhistlePig Rye. It is a decent tasting rye that is over-priced. It is Canadian rye whiskey purchased by a company based in Vermont. They have a distillery but have yet to release any of their own. They also seem to be playing fast and loose with the labeling rules. This bottle has a 10 years old age statement, but there has been a ruling that states that you cannot place an age statement on a finished whiskey. Belle Meade had to remove the age statement from one of their finished products because of that ruling. I also wonder about the “Straight” claim as well. Many Canadian whiskeys are aged in used cooperage and that would disqualify the use of the term. I also think that when you finish a whiskey in used cooperage it is no longer “Straight” since straight whiskey has to be aged in new cooperage. With that said I like this particular bottle. It is a single barrel chosen by Westport Whiskey and Wine for their tenth Anniversary of being in business. Chris always picks a good barrel of whiskey and this is no exception.
Whistlepig Rye finished in Bourbon Barrels
Age: 10 years old
Nose: Rye grass, vanilla, pitted fruit – cherries and apricots with a hint of oak and spice.
Taste: Oak tannins up front with rye grass, pepper spice, vanilla and only a hint of the fruits on the nose. Tasted with a dried cranberry and the tannins are tamed a bit but still there and the fruits come forward. Tasted with a pecan and a citrus note comes out and the pepper is enhanced.
Finish: Medium long finish with lots of dry oak tannins and pepper. The cranberry shortens the finish and makes it less peppery. The pecan lengthens the finish and enhances the oak tannins and intensifies the pepper.
I have chosen a Crowned Heads La Imperiosa Corona Gorda cigar to go with this rye. It has a very umami quality to the smoke that combines with some spices to give it a bit of a Worcestershire sauce flavor that might go well with the rye. I found the rye gave the smoke a sweeter vanilla and spice flavor while the smoke made the rye very spice forward with white pepper and ginger flavors. They work well together.
I like this bottle of WhistlePig but I do think it is overpriced. I can think of a couple of other ryes that are better and cost a lot less for a bottle.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller