A whistle-pig is another name for a groundhog. It is now also a compelling straight rye whiskey from Vermont — hardly the first state that comes to mind when you talk whiskey.
When they say straight rye, they mean it. WhistlePig is a rare 100% rye, aged for 10 years and bottled at 100 proof. Round numbers. Easy to remember.
In the glass, this is impressive stuff. Crafted by Dave Pickerell, a 14-year veteran of Maker’s Mark, this rye is characteristically spicy, with pepper and ginger notes laced atop a moderately sweet (but not overly so) core. Nicely balanced, the elements are all in harmony here, though that spice — coupled with the kick of extra alcohol — is always at the forefront. The finish offers notes of coal, reminding you this is not a vanilla-scented Bourbon but rather a rye.
Pricey, to be sure, but in a world with too-few high-grade rye whiskeys, it’s worth it.