Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by WhistlePig. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
WhistlePig, known for its patience in aging and blending thanks to the late Dave Pickerell, has recently released its oldest rye whiskey to date – an astonishing 18-year-old Double Malt Rye. In a well thought out experimentation with grain, WhistlePig looks to past distillation practices of farmer distillers.
When most people think of malted grain, barley is typically the first to pop up but the truth is, any grain can be malted. The WhistlePig 18 Year uses 15% malted rye because farmers would only malt a small portion of their crops for distillation purposes. Malted grains were used to start the fermentation process before the advent of industrial catalysts used for brewing and distillation.
The WhistlePig 18 Year Double Malt Rye is a limited release. It is hand bottled at the WhistlePig farm, and the decanters are topped with a hand pressed glass stopper. Each stopper is pressed by a 19th century glass pressing machine, one of the last of its kind, and custom made by Burlington, Vermont-based AO Glass.
WhistlePig is rolling out all the stops for its oldest rye. Sure to be a must have for collectors, so check it out…
WhistlePig Double Malt Rye Aged 18 Years (image via WhistlePig)
Tasting Notes: WhistlePig 18 Year Double Malt Rye
Vital Stats: 46% ABV, 92 proof. Mash bill of 79% rye, 15% malted rye, and 6% malted barley. Aged 18 years. Distilled at Hiram Walker in Canada. 750mL $399.99.
Appearance: Coppery medium amber.
Nose: The first note I notice at the forefront is crisp red apple. Lemongrass follows right behind before moving onto a sprig of thyme. French vanilla lingers heavy in the middle. The aroma of baking spices, predominantly nutmeg, is faint. The higher ABV does singe the nostrils a tad. Overall, it is very light and balanced.
Palate: It definitely sips hot from the proof, but it has a light and creamy mouthfeel. The baking spice found in rye whiskies only comes at the finish. As the dram warms up from the heat of your hand in the glass, the baking spice profile intensifies and becomes phenolic with a little bit of Sharpie. Reminiscent of sour mash whiskies at first, but after sitting with it further, it is the oak I’m picking up on.
WhistlePig has released a fine and classy product with the 18 Year Double Malt Rye. While light and fruity, the spice profile packs a punch in the finish. It’s far different from the rest of the WhistlePig line up.If you’re a lover of WhistlePig, then you’ll definitely want to add this bottle to your collection. I highly recommend giving it a try at if a bar in your area has it on the shelf if the $399.99 price tag is too much for your purse strings.
Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...