A few months back, we attended an informal meetup with WhistlePig Master Distiller Dave Pickerell, and somewhere between glasses of whisky, pitchers of beer and some seriously good hot dogs, he mentioned that WhistlePig had a 15 year old expression in the works, which would be the oldest release to date. Fortunately for us, that day has come, and we’ve got a bottle sitting right here. About 15 inches to the right, for those visualizing at home.
This limited-edition whiskey is composed of 100% rye and aged in three separate whiskey barrels: #3 charred new American oak, used bourbon barrels and custom #4 charred Vermont white oak. The latter is used to finish the whiskey for six months, and is a practice that marks the next step in WhistlePig’s mission to become fully farm-to-bottle, as the oak wood is harvested straight from the WhistlePig farm.
Diving right in, WhistlePig 15 pours a brilliant amber in the glass. The nose is rich with caramel, vanilla and spices, plus some heavy oak. Take a sip and things are warm with baking spices, orange peel and leather. Sweet notes include more vanilla, butterscotch and brown sugar, but they mostly take a back seat, as the oak makes its presence known. Toward the end, the liquid turns dry and grippy, and the lengthy finish is accented by warm spice and black pepper.
Chalk up another success for WhistlePig. The 15 year rye is warm, toasty and a good example of an oak-heavy whiskey that still allows the grains to shine through and manages to play nice with the other more nuanced flavors. It’s perhaps a product of their dialing down the alcohol a bit–here opting for a tamer 92 proof.
So far the distillery has done an impressive job sourcing their stocks from Canada, but we’ll be excited to see where things progress as WhistlePig gets closer to achieving that farm-to-bottle goal.
— 46% ABV
CE Rating: ★★★★