$$$ — 50% ABV — 10 years
One of the first suggestions people give to someone who wants to get serious about rye is Whistlepig. Shooting up like a rocket these past few years, a soft gingerbread flavor has cemented Whistlepig as a top shelf sipping rye. Though if you've got the guts, I dare say it makes a hell of a cocktail.
Dave Pickerell of Maker's Mark fame was brought on to oversee Whistlepig, and fans grew angry when it became known that Pickerell was only managing the rickhouses; the spirit was distilled in Canada, as has been the case with many new 100% ryes. This was not, as some saw it, a Vermont product.
Owner Raj Bhakta however stands by his branding. The effort seems to be towards side-stepping anti-Canada snobbery among American drinkers, and who can blame him? But in 2015, Whislepig is making good on Vermont by christening their own still, to distill rye they grow. It will be a complete farm-to-bottle product, hitting stores hopefully sooner than 2025.
The rolling and complex flavor of Whistlepig is a can't-miss, but the yearly release of the Boss Hog is the pinnacle of their brand. 2014 honors the passing of Mortimer the pig, the farm's mascot. It's extra-aged, single barrel and, while it fetches a hefty price, it's also cask strength, which will fuel many, many sipping sessions.
Whistlepig is located in Shoreham, Vermont, in the Northeastern USA. Established in 2010 by Raj Bahkta, it remains an independent producer. It is partially distilled in Alberta, Canada by ADL, a subsidiary of Beam-Suntory.