Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Whistle Pig. 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.
Whistle Pig’s The Boss Hog series last saw us at the eastern fringe of the Pacific: the Straight of Magellan. Our navigator, first name Ferdinand, and namesake to the straight, had it in mind to sail to the Spice Islands (modern-day Maluku of Indonesia) in a mere couple of days.
He landed on the shores of Guam over three months later, with a crew wasted by scurvy. After looting and burning a village there, Magellan continued on to the Philippines. His boats dropped anchor near the island of Mactan.
As was the way with colonially-minded powers, our navigator saw the island and its neighbors, awash in resources, and sought to establish a claim. One local datu (similar to chief), Zula, professed fealty to the Spanish crown (though Portuguese, Magellan was working for Spain). The other datu, Lapulapu, had no such intentions. Magellan misunderstood the parity of Lapulapu and Zula, seeing Zula as the superior ruler. Why wouldn’t Lapulapu acquiesce?
Taking great offense to (and misconstruing) this, Magellan and his troops gathered on the shores of Mactan in the small hours of April 27, 1521. Due to rocky outcroppings and coral reefs, the invaders had to land many yards from the shore. They waded toward the beach, heavily armed and armored.
Lapulapu and 1,500 warriors were waiting for them.
Magellan was soon struck in the leg with a poisoned arrow. He ordered the majority of his forces to flee to the waiting ships, a small cadre remaining to defend him. That group was soon overwhelmed, and our navigator met his end.
Lapulapu’s resistance is credited with forestalling Spain’s colonization for more than four decades. Lore has it that he never died, but turned to stone and still guards Mactan. He’s considered the first Philippine national hero. Today, both the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Fire Protection seals display his image. And his effigy rests in pewter, atop a special bottle of rye whiskey finished in Philippine rum barrels, named in his honor: Whistle Pig The Boss Hog VIII: Lapulapu’s Pacific.
Tasting Notes: Whistle Pig The Boss Hog VIII: Lapulapu’s Pacific
Vital stats: Whistle Pig The Boss Hog VIII: Lapulapu’s Pacific is made from an undisclosed mash bill, aged for an undisclosed length of time and is finished in small-batch Philippine rum barrels. Bottled as sequential single barrels between 104.8 and 106.6 proof. Find a 750mL bottle nationwide for around $600.
Appearance: This liquid is a very clear, rich amber that coats the glass and oh-so-slowly forms fat tears.
Nose: The aromas are rich, too. Sweet with banana bread and dried cherries; burnt sugar threaded through with allspice. There’s a whisper of envelope glue and cumin? Yes, there’s cumin undergirding it all.
Palate: Sweetness extends through the palate – plummy. The mouthfeel is creamy almost like milk chocolate. You can tell there’s a lot of alcohol, but it’s well-integrated, not harsh. The body of the mid-palate unspools to a long black tea finish.
I thoroughly enjoyed this whiskey. Great depth of flavor, plenty of pizazz, and packs a punch in a good way. I like thinking of Lapulapu standing up to the Spaniards and keeping them off for so long. It might not be worth turning into stone for, but it’s pretty close.
User Review3.5 (18 votes)
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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...