This incredible whiskey, which won Double Gold at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, was aged 12 years and finished in three different types of European casks: Port, French Sauternes and Madeira casks.
In 2006, Raj Bhakta purchased a 500-acre dairy farm in the rolling hills of Vermont's Champlain Valley. Today, the farm — which is being painstakingly restored to grow rye grains — is home to Master Distiller Dave Pickerell's magnum opus: WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey.
After he graduated from West Point with a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry, Pickerell served in the military for eleven years as a cavalry officer. Later he received a Master's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Louisville, before serving as chairman of the Kentucky Distillers Association and master distiller at Maker's Mark in Loretto, Kentucky for 13 years. "This is what I was meant for," says Pickerell of the whiskey business.
After leaving Maker's Mark, Pickerell embarked on a journey to find the perfect rye whiskey. "Rye, in its own essence, is just a brilliant grain," says Pickerell. "I wanted to do rye because it's America's historical whiskey." During the Revolutionary War, English blockades of American ports prevented the colonists from purchasing molasses used to make rum. As a result, American distillers, including George Washington, started making rye whiskey.
Pickerell completed his quest to find the perfect Rye with WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey, which has already received a number of accolades: it received a perfect five out of five stars from F. Paul Pacault's Spirit Journal, it earned a score of 96 points from Wine Enthusiast (the highest score a rye whiskey has ever scored), Details Magazine called it "America's Best New Whiskey" and it was named among the top five whiskeys of the year by The Wall Street Journal.
WhistlePig The Old World Series: Straight Rye Whiskey Marriage is the culmination of Pickerell’s year-long experiment to pay homage to the fine Scotch and winemakers of the Old World by using various types of European casks to finish his rye. This new release marries together three unique finishes — Madeira (63%), Sauternes (30%) and Port (7%) to create an astounding rye whiskey that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Straight Rye Whiskey Marriage begins as a 12 year old, 95% rye whiskey distilled at MGP Distillery in Lawrenceburg Indiana. Once it reaches its new home at the WhistlePig Distillery in Vermont, Pickerell finishes the whiskey for three-to-six weeks in barrels that previously contained Madeira, Sauternes and Port.
Madeira is a fortified wine produced since the 17th century on the Portuguese islands of Madeira. WhistlePig The Old World Series: Madeira Finish Rye Whiskey was the first American rye whiskey to ever be finished in such casks.
Sauternes is a famous, sweet white wine produced in the French region of Bordeaux. The region’s unique microclimate, which consists of thick morning fog and hot, dry afternoons, causes a “noble rot” to grow on the grapes, imparting its signature flavor unto the wine.
Port, another fortified Portuguese wine, is produced in the Douro Valley, in Portugal’s northern provinces. Similar to brandy, port is rich, sweet and known for its robust flavor.
Once the rye has matured in its respective cask, the barrels are married together, giving the whiskey a breathtaking aroma filled with marzipan, ripe berries and salted caramel. The palate expands with flavors of dark chocolate, taffy, fruitcake and sugar cereal before leading to a long, dry finish which lingers on the tongue.
WhistlePig The Old World Series Straight Rye Whiskey Marriage won a Double Gold at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
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86 (43% ABV)
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Breathtaking aroma filled with marzipan, ripe berries and salted caramel. The palate expands with flavors of dark chocolate, taffy, fruitcake and sugar cereal before leading to a long, dry finish which lingers on the tongue.