American Minis – Whistle Pig Rye 50%

From New York to Texas, we found ourselves closing our American minis evening back on the East coast in Vermont.

WhistlePig Rye is a proud of its pig! Who is joined by a trio made up of two chemical engineers – Emily Harrison (lead distiller) and Meghan Ireland (maturation chemist) –  with Peter Lynch (master blender). Their focus is purely on rye – in all its various permutations and experimentations.

So what did we try? I’m reasonably certain it was this one…

Whistle Pig Straight Rye 50% 

  • Nose – Honey, fruity, bananas, pear, quince, sweet spices like mace, nutmeg, all spice… then orange peel, shifting into something earthier or herbal, even a little leafy?
  • Palate – Dry spice and surprisingly some sea salt, more of that earthy element with roots, a bit medicinal, herbal
  • Finish – Herbal to the point of being peculiar

Frankly it became a bit strange – we started to be reminded of gripe water or les racines de la grande gentiane… that bitter flowering herb that makes its way into Suze, Aperol and Underberg.

Speaking as someone who appreciates what bitter brings to the flavour palate, this dimension didn’t make it ‘off’. By contrast, it was what made this rye distinctive.

So what do we know?

I will admit I’m guessing a bit here as the information on our wee mini was limited. However I think we tried their standard WhistlePig 10 year Straight Rye – originally from Alberta with a 100 percent pure rye mash, further matured in Vermont in new and used bourbon oak barrels.

I flipped back in my tasting book to notes on the cask strength expression the Drinks by the Drams folks had in my other Advent calendar… That one was all sweetness, spice and  stroopwaffles warming over a hot tea. It was clear both are in the same ‘family’ but certainly not exactly the same either!

All in all, it was a good experience and a nice way to finish our American evening in London with folks hailing from Canada, France and India!

Here was our full American quartet:

With more from our 2019 Master of Malt Advent Calendar…

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Advent Minis – Whistle Pig Rye 10 year 54.3%

I had to be amused by the journey our 1st sample has taken. Originally from Canada – like me – it then was aged at WhistlePig Farm in Vermont. To then be rebottled by the folks at Drinks by the Dram in the UK and finally shipped off to me in Nurnberg, Germany.

But this was no normal WhistlePg in my wee advent calendar of single casks – nope! This was a single barrel release at cask strength.

WhistlePig 10 Year Old  54.3% – Drinks By The Dram Exclusive

  • Nose – It started off with typical rye, some spice, cloves, orange peel, honey and oats, porridge, sweet caramels, hint of mint and a touch of oak
  • Palate – Had all the lovely elements of rye, some caramel, spice, more of the honey and oats, more of that butterscotch… it reminded me a bit of stroopwaffles
  • Finish – Light liquorice, butterscotch
  • Water – Racks up the spice, the rye became even more prominent, more barley and less honey, the light brown black liquorice danced on the palate, lots of spice on the finish in a most delicious way

I have to admit upfront that I’m not normally a rye fan. But this was a darn good dram. Nothing about it was harsh, and whilst there was no major variation and you couldn’t call it complex, it was full flavoured and really quite enjoyable and well balanced.

And my companion? Let’s just say she discovered that she absolutely IS a rye fan! Particularly for this one.

What do the folks over at WhistlePig have to say about the standard expression?

The spirit of entrepreneurship.

Fortune, superb taste, and hustle lead us to the discovery of an aged Rye Whiskey stock in Alberta, Canada. We rescued the stock from misuse as a blending whiskey, aged it in new American Oak, then hand-bottled this rye on its own. We’re honored to present the most awarded Rye Whiskey in the world.

  • Nose – Allspice, orange peel, anise, oak, char and caramel
  • Palate – Sweet; hints of caramel and vanilla, followed by rye­spice and mint
  • Finish – Long finish; warm butterscotch and caramel

Here are a few others we tried from my advent calendar minis:

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