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. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
I love a road trip. Your schedule is your own, the tunes are always good, you get to see how a country evolves over the miles. You find things you would miss at any other time. Travel bliss.
Clearly the team at WhistlePig agrees with me, since they sent barrels of their beloved Canadian rye whiskey on a ride all the way from Shoreham, Vermont (where their farmstead is located) to Los Angeles, California – and back. On board an 18-wheeler, they cut a path along the storied American highway, Route 66.
Before the whiskey left home, half was poured into Bordeaux-blend Tronçais-forest oak casks from Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, California. This special French oak is said to possess the most refined tannins and elegant structure.
How did this particular pairing come about? Jordan winemaker Maggie Kruse made it through 2020’s difficult, smoky harvest by leaning on Whistle Pig’s 12-year rye. When the distillery’s distiller, Emily Harrison, came calling for a finishing cask, Kruse offered her their most sought-after barrels.
The other half of the whiskey remained in new oak like it was fresh off the still. Once the halfway point was reached in LA, the ‘Rolling Rickhouse’ rolled on up to Paso Robles. There, the whiskey in new oak went into barrels that had held Firestone Walker Brewery’s Imperial Stout, Imperial Blonde Ale and Experimental Ale.
When everybody got back to Vermont, the casks were married by blender Meghan Ireland and bottled at 86 proof. It’s a tad gimmicky, to be sure (I mean, there’s a rubber tire stopper! Which is actually pretty cute…), but what does the conceit do in the glass? Let’s find out.
Tasting Notes: WhistlePig Roadstock Rye
Vital stats: Roadstock Rye is made from an undisclosed mash bill and clocks in at 86 proof. It’s a blend of whiskeys finished in red wine and assorted beer casks. Find a 750mL bottle at $72.99 in select markets.
Appearance: This liquid is a very clear medium amber that slowly condenses into gently rolling legs.
Nose: Oh yum. The nose almost speaks bourbon: vanilla and dried fig with honey and a little tobacco perfume.
Palate: The spice shows up on the palate – strong and dry: black pepper, allspice, cedar. Really pleasant. There’s a bit of bite, but just enough to spark up the spice instead of destroy your palate. The finish rolls out a stretch of cinnamon.
I thoroughly enjoyed this whiskey. I didn’t expect to, what with the manufactured novelty and multiple finishes and bro energy. If you like a rye that you can sip or stir, this would be one to seek out. Turns out I love road trips AND I love road trip whiskey.
User Review2.82 (17 votes)
In 2014 I founded Portland Bitters Project with the vision to create the best bitters on the market. Now our bitters are enjoyed around the country and internationally to make expressive, delicious cocktails. I teach at two Portland colleges and visit private groups, distilleries and maker's spaces to spread the...