This 95% rye whiskey was aged 12 years before being finished in casks that previously housed Sauternes, the beloved sweet wine made in Bordeaux.
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.
Now, through WhistlePig’s The Old World Series, Pickerell pays homage to the fine Scotch and winemakers of the Old World by using various types of European casks to finish his rye.
WhistlePig The Old World Series: Sauternes Finish Rye Whiskey begins as a 12 year old, 95% rye whiskey (the remaining 5% is comprised of malted barley) 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 Sauternes, 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.
As a result, the whiskey has a subtle, sweet aroma of honeydew melon and caramel apples, which leads to a palate filled with flavors of bread pudding, pistachios and clover honey. The finish is slightly floral, with earthy notes of birchwood and wet grass shining through.
This limited release is only available in small quantities in a select number of markets — be sure to pick up a bottle today!
90 (45% ABV)
This product is not available in AL, AK, CO, CT, DE, FL, HI, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MA, MN, MS, MT, NE, NV, NH, NY, NC, ND, OR, PA, SD, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV or WI.
Sold and shipped by Bourbon Street Wine & Spirits.
Subtle, sweet aroma of honeydew melon and caramel apples, which leads to a palate filled with flavors of bread pudding, pistachios and clover honey. The finish is slightly floral, with earthy notes of birchwood and wet grass shining through.