Just when you think WhistlePig’s “Boss Hog” releases can’t get any weirder, they raise the bar again. Or at least they move it to entirely different building.
For 2022, the Greek muse-inspired “Siren’s Song” starts as a standard WhistlePig rye which goes from its standard bourbon barrels into two types of finishing barrels: Greek fig nectar and “farm-scratch tentura,” a Greek liqueur originating in the Peloponnesian city of Patras. I had to look that one up, too. In a first for the series, both finishes were created by WhistlePig itself in Vermont farm — hence the “farm-scratch” tentura, as it is not from Greece. The finishing liquids were “made using both Greek and local ingredients, with the tentura forged from cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, orange peel, and honey.”
In case that’s not rare enough for you, note that there are nine different bottle stoppers for this series, in honor of the nine muses:
To curate a Boss Hog that’s unlike anything collectors have seen or sipped before, WhistlePig’s female whiskey makers turned to the nine ancient Muses from Greece, who inspired all manner of discoveries and creations from science to art – and now profound whiskey. One of the nine Muses and her respective arts grace each bottle in the form of a bespoke pewter topper, with the full set of nine randomly distributed on bottles across the nation. The Siren’s Song name hails from the Greek Sirens, daughters of Muses who allured admirers with their melodious call, and now beckons collectors to amass all nine. Collectors will be fortuitous to obtain a bottle capped with Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy and most limited bottle offering.
Our sample bottle is topped by Erato, the muse of erotic poetry, among other things.
“Every year The Boss Hog is bigger, bolder, and more stupendous than the last. We are constantly trialing new finishes to find the next best whiskey experience, and in true WhistlePig fashion, this year’s edition is a world’s first,” said Meghan Ireland, Head Blender at WhistlePig. “Our ambition to unlock the ultimate flavor complexity – and the nectar and tentura, which were new trials in and of themselves – was well worth the challenge once we landed the final product.”
“You could say the Greek Muses guided us toward the discovery and persistence of creating Siren’s Song,” said Liz Rhoades, Head of Whiskey Development at WhistlePig. “In visiting Greece this summer to source ingredients and learn from experts at an original tentura distillery, we were drawn to the distinctly unique flavors of Greece and how they would interact with the bold flavor of our aged Rye Whiskey. We can’t wait for fans and collectors to indulge in The Boss Hog IX: Siren’s Song. Yamas!”
As a final note, this release is also unique among the Boss Hog bottlings because it is the first in the series without an age statement.
OK, enough prologue. Ready to dive in? I don’t blame you if you’re cautious, but as you’ll soon see, you needn’t be: This is an amazing, and wholly unique, whiskey.
You need only crack the bottle to become immersed in an insane level of sweet fig aromas, with notes of ginger secondary, followed by cinnamon and nutmeg. The entire affair is quite festive — this is a perfect holiday sipper — and it practically begs to be consumed while wearing your finest Christmas sweater. The palate is inviting and immediately pours on those baking spices: cinnamon, clove, and raisin notes backed by plums and cherries. The flavors are reminscent of Swedish glögg — only denser and, of course, filtered through quality rye whiskey. The experience modestly evolves in the glass, moving from brazen spice notes to a peppery, lightly woody note that tempers the baking cabinet, eventually returning to the clearer fig element for the finish. Notes of maple and a fun amaretto element linger on the lengthy fade-out.
I fully recognize that this description sounds like you’re about to detonate a sugar bomb, but miraculously the whiskey has a balance to it that never comes across as cloying or medicinal. While it works best after dinner with dessert or as a digestif, it’s really so much fun that I’d sip on it just about any time. Especially over the holidays.
106.2 proof as reviewed (bottles vary from 102.5 to 106.2 depending on barrel). Reviewed: Barrel #2.
A / $600 / whistlepigwhiskey.com