WhistlePig has been on an absolute tear lately, firing out new expressions left and right to the point where it’s hard to keep up. Today we’re looking at three new releases from the Vermont operation, including a unique rye and a matched pair of 101-proof whiskeys, one rye and one bourbon (bourbon! from WhistlePig!).
Let’s try them all.
WhistlePig Roadstock Rye – “Finished on the road,” this unique rye is a collaboration between WhistlePig, Jordan Winery, and Firestone Walker Brewery, involving an “18-wheeler ‘Rolling Rickhouse,’ which took the aging whiskey barrels and drove them 6,000 miles from Vermont to California and back — half in their original barrels, half in finishing barrels from Jordan Winery which previously held a Bordeaux blend. Once in California, the other half was put into finishing barrels from Firestone Walker — a mix of Imperial Stout, Imperial Blonde Ale, and Experimental Ale barrels — before the whole shebang was sent back to Vermont, where all of it was married and bottled. (There’s also a bit about an experimental whiskey-fueled Dodge Hellcat along the way, but fortunately none of that is in the bottle.) Whew! So, what do we end up with? Well, it’s kind of a melange of stuff. The nose is, well, weird. Really meaty, with an undercurrent of asphalt, which I’m sure is completely coincidental to the whole Roadstock thing. Notes of nutty but chewy roasted chestnuts emerge with some time in glass. The palate has a doughy texture, with a distinct chocolate note emerging shortly after, along with some dried cherry and craisin notes. All of that is a nice respite after the whiskey’s fairly savory introduction, though some toastier, barrel-driven elements return as the finish evolves — and a beefy, charred element endures. You know how you feel after you’ve spent too many hours in the car, on the road? A little beat down and dusty? That’s what I get here. 86 proof. B / $73
WhistlePig Farmstock Rye Beyond Bonded – The Beyond Bonded whiskeys are 100% grain to glass whiskeys harvested, distilled, aged, and bottled at the WhistlePig Farm and Distillery in Shoreham, Vermont. 24 barrels of rye were produced, made from 100% Remington Rye harvested from the ‘North Orwell 1’ field of WhistlePig’s 500-acre Farm. The oldest barrel in the release (of both the rye and bourbon) is 4 years, 8 months, and 14 days. These are single barrel releases. On the nose, this is clearly some young rye, exuberant with toasted grains, dried herbs, and a modest lumberyard element. The palate doubles down: Chewy, semi-sweet grains, followed by a ton of dusty oak, green herbs, and a bare hint of fruit, primarily red apple. The finish is pungent with green herbs and sawdust notes — almost to a fault. I love what WhistlePig is doing, but this has little resemblance to the well-aged sourced ryes it’s dropped in the past — and at $100, is wildly overpriced for the time being, no matter how “traceable” it is. 100.1 proof (hence “beyond bonded”). Reviewed: Barrel #30033. B- / $100
WhistlePig Farmstock Bourbon Beyond Bonded – 51% Dent Corn and 49% Remington and Rifle Rye varietals harvested from ‘North Orwell 1’ and ‘North Orwell 2’ fields. 16 barrels produced. A healthy amount of corn helps give this whiskey more nuance, tempering some of the overwhelming granary and lumberyard notes, though that young whiskey DNA is still fully in effect. Elements of popcorn are evident on the nose, and a healthy peanut shell note hits the palate, alongside some notes of brown butter, baked apple, and a touch of Bit-O-Honey character, all proof that this bourbon is maturing in the right direction, if ever so slowly. The finish remains heavy with toasty barrel char, however, with hints of dark chocolate eventually percolating on the finish. As with the rye, another 3 to 4 years should see this really starting to come into its own, though the bourbon will clearly get there sooner. 100.1 proof. Reviewed: Barrel #13102. B / $100