Here we go, folks. It’s 1st December and the very first dram of my American Whisky and Bourbon Advent Calendar is from, ahem, Canada. Methinks this may be a steep learning curve re the ins and outs of the American whiskey industry.
Having never (knowingly) tried anything from WhistlePig before, this is the first time I’ve looked into its background. So, although I get the impression that this level of transparency wasn’t always in place from the outset, it’s certainly clear on the website today that this is whiskey sourced from over the border.
The spirit for this 100% rye whiskey was distilled and matured in Canada (at Alberta Distillers in Calgary). This is followed by a finishing period in bourbon barrels at WhistlePig farm in Vermont, where it was also hand bottled (it states as such on the front label so this must be really important, right?)
WhistlePig opened a distillery on their farm in 2015 and subsequent releases of its Farmstock expression include rye whiskey made in-house together with that sourced from MGPI blended with the aforementioned Canadian rye.
I’ve a funny feeling I’m going to come across MGPI quite frequently during this educational course (that’s what I’m calling advent, these days 😉) so will include more thoughts on this in future reviews.
WhistlePig was established in 2007 by Raj Bhakta but the name most closely associated with the company is Dave Pickerell. An absolute legend in the industry, by all accounts, Dave Pickerell sadly died in November 2018. As the master distiller at Maker’s Mark, he brought his expertise and knowledge to WhistlePig to help establish the business, source the rye whiskey as well as so much more, I’m sure.
Moving on to the whiskey itself and this is quite drinkable (even at 50%). It just didn’t leave me wanting more when the glass was finished. Pleasant sums it up in a word, I suppose.
Nose: Butterkist popcorn; a damp, slightly fusty note in the background; a hint of old leather comes to the fore after a wee while; there are hints of unripe banana and red apple with fresh thyme notes throughout; after a while in the glass, there are tinned clementines with very subtle hints of eucalyptus.
Palate: heaps of ginger and cloves from the outset; something lingering akin to apple strudel and custard; this then becomes more of a Lebkuchen note; dark cherry chocolate appears in the finish which is quite long.
Overall: not overly sweet, not overly spicy. Just not overly anything really. Perfectly drinkable but not one to dwell on for too long.
Available for £69.80 at Master of Malt: CLICK HERE
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