That’s Rye Folks! Tom’s Wine & Spirits has just received their latest single-barrel store-pick American Whiskey, this time a 10 Year Single Barrel Rye Whiskey selected by Tom’s and Flight Club.
Whistle Pig has only been in our market for around two years. But the brand had a loyal local (and broad national) following before it even arrived.
Whistle Pig began in Vermont in the late 2000’s. About a decade ago, then Master Blender (and later Master Distiller at Whistle Pig) Dave Pickerell sourced some select Canadian Rye whiskey, and the brand was born. Soon the brand and its product offerings grew, and by the mid 2010’s a distillery was built and production began.
While Whistle Pig’s own distillate is now reaching bottles, its most notable products are still sourced rye whiskeys. Whistle Pig was once well-appreciated for its “Indiana” ryes, but has sourced selective Canadian whiskies throughout its history. Much of its stock now comes from Alberta, Canada.
As is now our usual custom when Tom’s and Flight Club collaborate on a barrel, members of Flight Club (Scott Hill, Eric Schroeder and John Pharris) sat down around Tom’s kitchen table (with Tom, Keaton and James of Tom’s Wine & Spirits) to select this barrel of Whistle Pig 10 Year Rye.
Sample #1 – Whistle Pig Single Barrel Rye – Barrel #102113 (107.2 proof)
Nose: Red apple skins; sweet pastry; mixed herbs; rye grain; peppermint; cinnamon; faint chocolate; polished oak.
Palate: Creamy. Apple sauce; frosted breakfast pastry; herbal, with cinnamon gum with peppermint. A pleasant mouth-coating sweet chalkiness at the tail-end of the palate.
Finish: A bright “pop” of herbal spice with candied cinnamon; lingering dry oak and cinnamon.
Overall: Unmistakably rye. The brightness of the apple notes along with the rye herbal/spice notes play beautifully off the sweet frosting and candy notes. Quite well balanced without losing any of the character of sweetness, spice and age. A solid barrel for sure!
Sample #2 – Whistle Pig Single Barrel Rye – Barrel #102202 (112.2 proof)
Nose: Caramel and vanilla; polished dry oak, chocolate mint ice cream. Lighter, despite the higher proof.
Palate: Chocolate candy bar (a hint of Kit-Kat). Mid-palate oiliness; late developing cinnamon.
Finish: Creamy; a burst of peppermint and milk chocolate. A bit shorter than the previous sample.
Overall: This is quite tasty, especially on the palate. However, this is a bourbon-man’s rye, or maybe even bourbon-man’s bourbon. Other than a faint mint character in the nose and finish, nothing about this sample even whispers “rye.” A solid bourbon profile, but not the profile we are looking for in a high end rye whiskey.
Without much debate, the “winner” was the rye-forward sample #1. While sample #2 was a solid whiskey, it felt much more like a bourbon. Given what we have known and loved about Whistle Pig in the past, skipping over a rye-forward barrel in favor of a bourbon-forward barrel would be a mistake. “That’s rye folks!” seemed quite apt when comparing the two.
Pick up a bottle at Tom’s Wine & Spirits while supplies last!
Scott is a co-founder of Flight Club and a frequent writer and reviewer on the Club’s blog.