WhistlePig Farm 10 Year Vermont Rye is one of the most tremendous Rye’s ever to grace the world of whiskey, but there’s more to the story than you expect.
Some of you found this article searching for the truth about WhistlePig, some of you came here looking for a review and others because you were on the site and liked the named “WhistlePig”. Regardless of your reason, this blog will sate you.
Pour yourself a glass of something with a little bite to it, and let’s begin.
WhistlePig is a rye whiskey.
If you want to know the difference between Rye, Bourbon and any other type of Whiskey you learn all about them with this article.
If you’ve never had a true rye (and as the Know your Whiskey article mentioned, it needs to be made from a mash of 51% rye or more to be considered true rye) the easiest way to understand the taste is by thinking of bread.
First think of corn bread. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Now think of rye bread; heavy, dark, full-bodied rye bread.
Now you know what bourbon tastes like, and it’s made from corn. So a whiskey made from rye is going to be much like the bread it makes. Rye is a dense, spicy and full bodied whiskey. In fact it’s much more akin to scotch than bourbon, and because of this rye is typically not on many peoples list of favorite sipping whiskeys.
WhistlePig changes all of that. It is a tremendous spirit and has been ranked by some fancy whiskey ranking people as being the bee’s knees. It really is terrific, and it’s not only “true” rye, it’s made from a 100% rye mash.
If you read that other article you might be wondering
“But you said only some Canadian company made Rye from 100% rye mash? How could this be?”
WhistlePig comes in a beautiful bottle (as you can see), it’s clearly labeled as having been hand bottled at Whistlepig farm in Shorham Vermont. It’s 100 proof and the proud product of some dude I’ve never heard of. He hired Dave Pickerell, the ex-Master Distiller from Maker’s mark to be his Master Distiller.
All of this sounds amazing, but here’s the catch: until recently, WhistlePig wasn’t a distillery at all.
WhistlePig buys their whiskey from Alberta Premium distillery. This is that Canadian whiskey company, the only whiskey company, making 100% rye mash whiskey. WhiskeyPig buys it and rebottles it on their farm.
That’s right; WhistlePig Vermont Rye is Canadian Whiskey. Ohh, and it’s as much as $70 a bottle in the states.
WhistlePig Rye is, in fact, a terrific product: it’s just not their product. I highly suggest you buy a bottle of Alberta Premium 30 year or Alberta Springs 10 year (Alberta Springs is the same company/distillery as Alberta Premium), but since that seems to be terribly hard to find you might have to bite the bullet and grab some WP 100/100.
Now while this tactic may seem a little sneaky, and in truth the wording on their webpage is exactly that:
Dave Pickerell, Master Distiller
Dave, a luminary in the world of whiskey, is one of the nation’s preeminent master distillers. Before joining WhistlePig, he spent 14 years as the Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark in Loretto, Kentucky. He joined the WhistlePig team in order to create what he regards as his magnum opus: WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey.
But after looking into the story as closely as one can look, it’s clear that WhistlePig isn’t just a marketing ploy. They are on their way to creating the only (as far as I can tell) seed-to-bottle 100% rye on the planet. Since it will be years until we can taste any of the home-grown spirits, you’re going to have to settle for a beautifully bottled Canadian whiskey.