Flaviar, the membership-based spirits club, has just launched its very own version of WhistlePig’s “Old World” 12 year-old rye. Like the standard Old World, it’s a rye whiskey that’s been cask-finished in a variety of European wine barrels. But where the typical Old World is constituted of 7% port-finished rye, 30% French Sauternes, and 63% Madeira, the Flaviar blend stands out at 20% port, 10% French Sauternes, 40% Madeira, and—in a fresh twist—30% sherry.
To create the blend, Flaviar received a helping hand from a few James Beard Award-winning chefs (as one does), including David Posey of Chicago’s Elske, Michael Gulotta of MOPHO and Maypop in New Orleans, Jamie Malone of Grand Café in Minneapolis, and Justin Woodward of Castagna in Portland, Oregon.
It pours a tawny red in the glass, and has notes of oak, vanilla bean, raisins, musty grapes, and a trace of barnyard-red on the nose. Its chalky texture is apparent from the first sip, as are prominent notes of vanilla, walnut, and oak. It darkens at the center with flavors of stewed prunes and cooked raisins, which are accompanied by a sharp uptick in rye spice. The rye spice accelerates toward the back, where it’s joined by a mineral-y, savory sherry note that compliments the dry and woody spice. A final shot of vanilla brings it to the conclusion, which mingles the spicy barrel notes and savory sherry finish to beautiful effect.
Compared to the standard WhistlePig Old World, this is a drier, darker whiskey that tilts its flavor compass towards sherry while retaining the complexity that makes the cask-finished expression such a rewardable slow sipper. Just 1,000 bottles have been released, and the spirit will be sold exclusively through flaviar.com.
— 43% ABV