DO THE RYE THING
Independent and experimental, WhistlePig shows the world what high rye whiskey can be
Even experienced spirit drinkers might not have tried rye whiskey, a style of American whiskey that largely disappeared after Prohibition. The category has seen a recent resurgence, led by independent distiller, WhistlePig Rye Whiskey.
“It’s a little spicier, bolder, a bit brasher but – if you treat it well, let it age and blend it properly – then it is as at least as worthwhile as a fine Scotch,” says WhistlePig Master Blender Pete Lynch. “At WhistlePig, we took that idea of rye being a spicy beast and turned it on its head. We said if you age it a bit longer and put some care in the blending process, you can get something unique. We were the first to push the boundaries of rye like this, and we’re still challenging ourselves to unlock its full potential.”
America’s leading craft distillery, WhistlePig was founded on an old dairy farm in Vermont in 2009. The company works with various blends of sourced, aged whiskey as well as its own grain-to-glass whiskey made with rye grown on the farm and then aged in barrels made from Vermont wood. “We really encapsulate that fine wine idea of the terroir,” says Pete. “It makes us different to anything else in the US.”
Some ryes only contain 51 per cent of the grain, the remainder being corn and other grains. WhistlePig insists on a high rye mashbills, often 100 per cent. Its elite product is The Boss Hog, a single-barrel, limited-edition rye that is finished in rare and unusual casks, bottled at barrel proof and adorned with a handmade pewter stopper. WhistlePig also offers rye whiskeys aged for 10, 12, 15 and 18 years – an unrivalled range of ages. The six-year-old WhistlePig PiggyBack Rye is ideal for cocktails, and the experimental FarmStock series showcases WhistlePig’s grain-to-glass whiskey. This year’s edition, renamed HomeStock, allowed fans to create and vote for the final blend at home during lockdown.
The opportunity to personalize WhistlePig doesn’t end there. “Our private barrel programme is very special,” says Lynch. “Whether you are a bar, a restaurant or even just an individual, you can select your own barrel of WhistlePig, a personalized single barrel unlike any other. That idea is unique and very popular, and it’s another reason why WhistlePig appeals to connoisseurs all over the world.”