I’ve been debating reviewing this whiskey for some time. The obvious argument against reviewing WhistlePig has been the fact that it is relatively expensive here in Boston, and is not really a great value whiskey for a 10 year spirit. That said, I get asked about this one all the time, and it really is a damn good whiskey. So, when my significantly better half gave me a bottle of WhistlePig for my birthday, I decided a review was in order.
WhistlePig is a 100% rye mashbill, and this particular bottling is ten years old and bottled at 100 proof (50% abv). WhistlePig also does a bottling at eleven years old, which is bottled at 111 proof. Both whiskeys are sourced from an unknown (Alberta Distilling) distillery in Canada, but distilling is in process at the WhistlePig farm in Vermont. Even now, though, WhistlePig is still a great product, and it is beginning to be more widely available.
On the nose, WhistlePig feels more grounded in the grain than many other ryes I’ve experienced. The dense cereal smells of oats and rye form the backbone, but spearmint, white chocolate, potpourri, and sweet spiced pecans round out the nose. The palate is medium-bodied, but lends itself to a wonderfully creamy mouthfeel. There are notes of toasted oak, milled grains, black pepper, and mint all backed up by vanilla and honeysuckle sweetness. The finish is medium-long and grain driven, like the rest of the whiskey. There are good notes of almonds, vanilla, bitter dark chocolate, fresh mint leaves, and honey oats.
Overall, WhistlePig is a very good rye that hits all the notes a rye should, with no downsides. Simply put, if you like rye, you’ll like WhistlePig. That said, the rye is soft enough that bourbon drinkers might find WhistlePig very enjoyable as well. If you normally stick to bourbon, I would definitely encourage you to sample some WhistlePig if you have the opportunity. My Grade: B+. Price: $60-70/750ml. This is a great rye, although there are definitely better priced ryes on the market that can contend with WhistlePig (Bulliet 95, Willett, and High West’s Ryes).