Whiskey Review: 2016 WhistlePig The Boss Hog “The Independent” - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: 2016 WhistlePig The Boss Hog “The Independent”

Before I started writing this review, I thought WhistlePig had been around for a very long time. Their ryes have the taste of an entrenched quality product. But they’ve been around less than a decade! It was such a surprise.

A little background, especially if you’re a clueless wonder like myself: WhistlePig was started in 2007, when Raj P. Bhakta purchased a 500-acre farm in Shoreham, Vermont, and got together with Dave Pickerell (of Maker’s Mark fame) to plan out what WhistlePig’s website calls “the long awaited return of rye whiskey to the States.”

2016 WhistlePig The Boss Hog

image via WhistlePig

As we’ve reported, WhistlePig’s whiskey has been sourced from Canada. However, they have been working toward turning WhistlePig Farm into the first ever single malt one-stop rye shop, with all stages of the process located on site: from growing the grass, to distillation, to barreling and aging, to bottling. WhistlePig Rye is distilled in a copper pot and then aged in custom charred barrels built from the farm’s very own Vermont White Oak. In 2015, they had their still installed, so all you patient folk out there, simply twiddle your thumbs or some such thing until about 2025 until you can eagerly get your hands, noses, and mouths on those first true farm-to-glass ryes.

In the meantime, thankfully, WhistlePig’s offerings like the Boss Hog soften the blow. (Then again, maybe I shouldn’t use the word “soft” anywhere near the description of a cask-strength, 120.6 proof, 100% Canadian rye?) Their third edition of the Boss Hogg line is the 2016 WhistlePig The Boss Hog “The Independent,” which is aged 14 years and finished in 250 liter scotch “hogsheads” — oversized from standard American Standard whiskey aging barrels, which are 200 liters.

There’s nothing soft about the price tag, either: $300 for 750 ml. Is it worth it?

Tasting Notes: WhistlePig The Boss Hog “The Independent”

Color: The Independent is fairly light: light gold, light caramel, lightly caramelized onions.

Nose: This is a complex one: Caramel and cinnamon upfront, then toffee, then new automotive paint. It all works together quite nicely.

Palate: Wow, this is smooth! It doesn’t burn at the start, but does finish with a lovely, enticing glow. I get ripe honeydew melon, and hot buttered toast, with maybe a small dusting of cinnamon. No off flavors come through, at all. This is one of the best I’ve tasted in a while. Just pure, sipping delightfulness. It doesn’t need ice; in my opinion, you don’t need to dilute it. Neat, the mouthfeel is pleasant—not too thick, just the right weight.

Final Thoughts & Score/Buy A Bottle:

Score: 91/100

Buy NowThis is an example of a high-proof whiskey that doesn’t taste high-proof. Maybe one of the best I’ve tried. It’s a sipper for sure, but there’s definitely more glow than burn in my opinion. It’s sweet and smooth without searing. Like when you look at a fire and see the orange glow of it and feel the heat? But you’re not worried embers are going to shoot out of it and burn you? You’re just comfortable and warm and don’t want to go anywhere.

This is good. This is really good. I only got a tiny sample size, so WhistlePig The Boss Hog is going on my holiday wishlist. Joy to the world indeed!

Editor’s Note: A sample of this whiskey was provided to us by those behind it. The Whiskey Wash, while appreciative of this, keeps full independent editorial control over this article.


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