Whistle Pig 10 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey (750ml)
First, a warning: this is only for those who like their rye big and brawny. It starts off innocuously with a maple-syrup color, and a pretty, complex and subtle scent: honey, vanilla, a slight medicinal tinge and faint clover notes. It feels silky on the tongue and at first, the flavors reflect caramel, burnt orange and a whisper of smoke, but then a mouth-warming wave of tannic bite sweeps over all and lingers for a good long time. Straight up or on the rocks.
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.
Whistle Pig Farm is a distillery in Shoreham, Vermont, run by David Pickerell, who served as master distiller at Maker's Mark for more than a decade. While most distilleries produce a white dog, or young whiskey to pay the bills while their good stuff ages, David went out and found a few barrels of something we'd actually want to drink. His new bottling of 100% Canadian-distilled rye aged in the American style is going to impress just about every whiskey fan out there. This rye is for big flavor hunters in the traditinon of Stagg, Van Winkle, and Handy. The nose is rich and enticing and the color of the whiskey itself is a dark amber that just looks like its loaded with caramel and barrel spice. The first sip lets you know that it actually is--this rye is brimming with vanilla, orange peel and other baking spices. This is a big, mouth-coating rye that finishes long and creamy, but never loses the kick of the rye itself. This is going to be huge, mark my words. (David Driscoll, K&L Spirits buyer)