In a year when travel’s been more-or-less cancelled, it seems fitting that the seventh edition of WhistlePig’s Boss Hog should present a metaphorical trip around the globe. Magellan’s Atlantic is single barrel, cask-strength rye whiskey that’s first aged for 17 years in American oak prior to finishes in new Spanish oak and South American teakwood.
As with other entries in the Boss Hog series, the bottle is crowned with a pewter pig figurine made by Vermont’s Danforth Pewter. This year’s swine statuary sees a pig dressed as a bullfighter, in a matador’s outfit complete with the Spanish coat of arms.
The spirit itself pours a deep reddish gold in the glass, and has a nose dominated by dry oak, with alternate streams of spice and incense. Notes of black licorice, marzipan, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sweet pipe tobacco are also detectable.
The first sip brings together creamy vanilla, spicy oak, and sweet tobacco. As it stretches toward the middle, woody incense kicks in, and the creamy vanilla note begins to take on a wonderful salinity, as if it were the charred surface of a creme brûlée studded with sea salt. Those sweet-and-salty notes gain in prominence toward the end, taking on salted dark chocolate and cigar box, before a homerically long finish that flexes nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice, ending with a deep and satisfying warmth.
WhistlePig The Boss Hog VII Magellan’s Atlantic is intense. After my first sip, my instinctive reaction was to retire for the evening and leave the remainder for another night. Not because I’d been over-served or underwhelmed, but quite simply because there is a hell of a lot going on. From the creamy, salted vanilla to the aggressive oak strains, powerful rye spice and lush baking spices, this one’s meant for truly slow sipping—as in: Drink half, leave the glass on the table, and come back an hour later when you’re prepared to face it again.
I know that sounds like I’m describing a boss battle rather than a potable substance, but maybe that’s appropriate. Magellan’s Atlantic feels like the boss battle of rye whiskey. WhistlePig has created a robust spirit that takes the aggressive vanilla and spice notes characteristic of a great rye and marries them to a new world filled with rich and rewarding possibilities.
— 52.55%–53.9% ABV