Whiskey Review: WhistlePig Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve

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.

This past autumn, Vermont-based WhistlePig launched the fifth edition of its premium rye whiskey expression known as The Boss Hog, with this new edition being named The Spirit of Mauve. Like the four others before it (including The Black Prince we reviewed last year), this whiskey is straight rye, more specifically being a 13-year rye finished in ex-Calvados casks (Calvados is a French brandy distilled in Normandy from apples and sometimes pears) in honor of Mauve’s—their pet pig’s—love of apples. It also comes in its own coffin: a nice touch, though a little macabre. Each bottle features a handcrafted Danforth pewter stopper in the shape of Mauve ascending to heaven.

And like most funeral accouterments, this is also pricey: $500 for 750 ml. (WhistlePig’s exacting detail shows through in its packaging, though: Even the sample size we received comes in a miniature cardboard coffin.)

If you like whiskey and fairy tales, this tipple’s for you: Mauve’s porcine lover, Mortimer, was tragically killed in 2014, and was memorialized in The Boss Hog, second edition, The Spirit of Mortimer. Mauve persevered for the sake of their son, Mortimer Jr., but she sadly passed away this past Valentine’s Day, presumably of a broken heart.

In other potentially heartbreaking news, this rye is produced by WhistlePig but 95 percent of it comes from an MGP rye mash. WhistlePig opened up their distillery in 2015, with an eventual goal of becoming a farm-to-bottle organization—but as we all know, whiskey takes time.

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So: Does anyone want to spend that much for MGP? I have had some great whiskey coming from MGP, so I didn’t want to be hypocritical but, really? I might rather have some really good sushi—a few meals’ worth of it. What do you get for $500?

WhistlePig Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve

WhistlePig Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve (image via WhistlePig)

Tasting Notes: WhistlePig Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve

Vital stats: 119 proof, 13 years old, finished in ex-Calvados casks; around $500 per 750 ml bottle

Appearance: Tawny. Shiny. The color of liquid gold. At that price, maybe more expensive than the metal itself.

Nose: Deep and rich. Unsurprisingly, there are apples, but not like fresh pples, more like cooked apples in a savory dish. It also brings up the flavors that go along with apples –cinnamon, ginger. Also peaches. I also got Nilla wafers, and hay.

Palate: It’s smooth but finishes effervescent and cinnamon-forward. A little hot, actually. The spice of rye prickles your lips. It’s high-proof and doesn’t pretend it isn’t. If you get involved in a conversation and then come back to your glass, it does mellow and picks up more complexity, but it’s still a bruiser. I feel like with rye, it’s either chewy or spicy. This is firmly in Camp Spicy.

The Takeaway


I wish I hadn’t known the price before I tasted this, because I’ll admit that colored my thoughts. Is any whiskey worth $500? I’m not sure. I’d say this one isn’t. It tastes more like a $100 bottle—and that’s a compliment! In my opinion, for $500 a whiskey should take me from appetizer to entrée to dessert (to maybe even a nightcap somewhere a little more comfortable), like a grown-up version of Violet Beauregard’s gum.

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