Review: WhistlePig PiggyBack Bourbon, PiggyBack Rye Brothers Osborne, and PiggyBank

Review: WhistlePig PiggyBack Bourbon, PiggyBack Rye Brothers Osborne, and PiggyBank

WhistlePig has been stuffing our mailbox of late with new releases and special editions. What started with the masterful new Boss Hog IX has only continued, with a new extension of the PiggyBack line — a bourbon, not rye — a second special edition of PiggyBack Rye, and — saving the best for last — a new version of WhistlePig Rye that comes in a glass piggybank decanter. PiggyBank, get it?

Today we’re delving into all three of these, starting with the mainstream.

WhistlePig PiggyBack Bourbon 6 Years Old – This is a 6 year old “super high corn” bourbon, made with rye of course, distilled in both Indiana and Vermont. Beyond that, details are scant, but one can assume this is a blend of MGP bourbon and WhistlePig’s home-distilled rye (with maybe a little extra MGP rye just for kicks, who knows). There’s no mistaking the corn-centrism here, as it punches you in the nose from the moment it’s poured. Big popcorn and moderated peanut shell notes weigh heavy on a nose that offers some level of grassy rye, at least in the background, before a brighter, sweeter honeycomb profile comes into clearer focus. Doughy, nutty, and especially corny on the palate, the whiskey doesn’t ever come across as a relatively mature six years old, but a heavy corn component in the mashbill will do that to a bourbon, stretching out its youth considerably. Fortunately there’s some sweetness and spice here to keep things lively — Bit-O-Honey paired with cinnamon shavings — then plenty of wood and a distinct green note weighing down the finish. PiggyBack Rye is seemingly on every cocktail menu these days as a versatile mixer, and while I would not be surprised to see PiggyBack Bourbon positioned in the same way, it’s clear to me that 50 bucks will get you a better bourbon deal elsewhere on the shelf. 100 proof. B / $50

WhistlePig PiggyBack 100% Rye 6 Years Old – Brothers Osborne Barrel – This is the second special edition of PiggyBack Rye to hit this year, following on the truly odd Big Papi edition that hit over the summer. OK, who are the Brothers Osborne? Country music stars. And this, the second in WhistlePig’s PiggyBack Legends Series, is a single-barrel release of Vermont-distilled rye aged in casks with high-toast custom barrel heads. Sorry, no smashed guitar fragment finishing here! Anyway… this is actually a solid, if unremarkable, example of what WhistlePig has always done well. Grassy but balanced with wood, cereal, and spice on the nose, the palate is peppery and racy, pouring on notes of fresh grains layered with dried herbs, but it’s later refreshed with sweet butterscotch and honey tempering the spice. Both spice and sweetness keep pushing on through the lingering finish, which managed to find a tenuous balance. I’d use this is a mixing rye any day. 96.56 proof. B+ / $50

WhistlePig PiggyBank Rye 10 Years Old – How’s this for something completely different: A special version of WhistlePig Rye, sourced distillate, bottled at the age of 10 years and 55% abv. Oh, and stored in a glass “piggybank” container that pours whiskey out of its ass. (Keep the cap on tight, folks!) It’s a stellar example of well-aged rye — surely Canadian stock — nosing rich and full, not just with grassy rye spice but with well-integrated tangerine peel, red berries, and mulled wine notes in the mix. I kept thinking about the impending holidays when sipping on this whiskey, notes of cloves and juniper berries melding with dense red berries, spiced nuts, candied grapefruit peel, and fresh ginger all in a swirl. The legacy of WhistlePig’s original blender Dave Pickerell can easily be seen throughout the complex but balanced experience here, the finish clinging to the cheeks for ages. The glass pig, well, that’s just the icing on the cake. 110 proof. A / $200 (1 liter)

WhistlePig PiggyBank Rye 10 Years Old




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