This is an unusual Rye for a few reasons. First, it is made from 100% Rye. No corn, no other grains. As well, it comes out of the bottle at 100 Proof; the same as another favorite Rye of mine, Rittenhouse Bottled-in-Bond. Lastly, WhistlePig is aged for 10 years. Do all of these characteristics pay off?
I asked Dave Pickerell, the master distiller at the New York Wine & Bar Show this past Summer as he poured me a sample. He told me that even though he had previously held the enviable position of Master Distiller at Maker’s Mark, he was even more thrilled to be debuting this new product. He said that it took him awhile to find the right sources and location to create this product, but that all the pieces fell into place rather neatly. He finished by saying that he will not be stopping with WhistlePig, but that he has plans in the works to collaborate with other distillers in years to come, creating even more remarkable spirits.
So, what of the Rye itself? The color is a gorgeous honeyed orange, and the nose is sweet and spicy with a hint of the fusel oils retained from the heart of the distillate. But the taste is the important thing here. There’s a lot going on with burnt sugar, caramel, butterscotch, bittersweet chocolate, black and white pepper, nougat, maple candy, and even a hint of spearmint and licorice. Really, after just one sip, the flavor profile keeps building over an incredibly long finish. The ride ends with a tannic bitterness (not unpleasant) and fades off in the back of the mouth with a delightful electric tingling. Also of note is the sensation of lanolin coating the gums and lips with a round creaminess. All in all, just about the best Rye you’re likely to come across in this price range (about $70).
So, if you’re looking for the next “hot” spirit for your cocktail menu this season, look no further. It is with no reservations that I highly recommend WhistlePig Straight Rye.
GSN Rating: A (Top Shelf)