Rye is tacky, bratty, and stubborn… but the labor of love is worth the struggle. Pure, aged rye is more flavorful, complex, and delicious than any corn-based whiskey – just ask The Founding Fathers. Speaking of fathers, WhistlePig was born in 2007, when Raj P. Bhakta bought the Farm. Rather, he purchased the farm. The point is, he is alive and well and married and a father, and the proud owner of WhistlePig Farm. After spending his last dime on 500-plus magical acres in Shoreham, VT, Raj joined forces with Master Distiller Dave Pickerell (of Maker’s Mark fame) to plot the long awaited return of rye whiskey to the States. The two men got their hands on the best batch of aged rye in North America. A few months later, in February ’09, they hatched a 5-year plan to transform WhistlePig Farm into the first ever single malt, one-stop rye shop, with all stages of the process located on site: from growing the grass, to distillation, to barreling and aging, to bottling. With the opening of our single-estate farm distillery in the summer of 2015, what was once a pig-headed dream will be a top-shelf reality.
The bouquet presents a quite heavy wood influence, as is to be expected from a second spin in a new oak barrel after 10 years of initial aging. Some black pepper, licorice, and coal dust give it both brashness and austerity. It’s surprisingly reserved in comparison to many other lighter, spicier ryes. On the palate, WhistlePig 15 presents quite a different face. Sweeter than the bouquet would indicate, the rye offers a punchy, spice-infused caramel note, slowly moving into notes of dark brown sugar. As the initial rush of sweetness fades, the whiskey offers notes of baking spices, flamed orange peel, and a leathery character that shifts to one of rubber as the finish starts to dissipate.