Set up in 2007 by entrepreneur Raj Bhakta, the WhisltePig distillery is based out of one of Vermont’s oldest farms and specialises in the production of premium rye whiskey. Initially a NDP, WhistlePig made a name for themselves by sourcing and bottling high quality Canadian rye whiskey under the watchful eye of ex-Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Dave Pickerell. With a vision to create the world’s best rye whiskey, Bhakta and Pickerell sought to produce a farm-to-bottle craft rye whiskey made using rye grain grown on their farm, water from their wells, and oak barrels crafted from the oak trees growing on the farm, a unique process in whiskey production termed ‘Triple-Terroir’. WhistlePig have also earned a proud reputation for their limited-edition barrel-finished rye whiskies that have been finished in barrels such as ex-bourbon, ex-wine, ex-Armagnac, and Vermont Oak from their own farm.
Last year WhistlePig introduced their WhistlePig Farm Stock Rye Crop 001 to the world. This ‘bottled-in-barn’ release signified a massive step in the WhistlePig story as it was their first release of something containing their own-made ‘Triple-Terroir‘ rye whiskey. Their whiskey made up 20% of the final product and WhistlePig were transparent to the point of including a detailed table on the bottle which indicated how much of what, and from where, went into the final blend. Not wanting to simply release a whiskey that was rough and young (only 1 year old at the time of blending), WhistlePig went for the more ‘easy does it’ approach and gave fans a graduated taste of their young whiskey with some aged Canadian and MGP rye stocks blended in for balance and complexity.
This year WhistlePig have upped the ante and have released Crop 002 of their Farm Stock Rye line. This time containing 32% of their now 2 year old rye whiskey, 45% 6 year old MGP rye whiskey, and 23% 10 year old Canadian rye, WhistlePig are slowly increasing the amount of their own whiskey as they progress towards a 100% single-estate rye whiskey. This limited release comes from only 150 barrels and the final blend was crowd-sourced from industry professionals including, bartenders, influencers, and consumers. It contains WhisltePig’s Triple-Terroir whiskey, i.e. grain grown on their 500 acre farm, proofed with water from their well, and aged in barrels made from their VT oak harvested on the farm. I tried the previous release and found it to be a great blend of old and new rye whiskies that harnessed a lot of flavours from both so I’m curious to see what an added 12% of older rye whiskey will do.
Name: WhistlePig Farmstock Rye (Crop No.002)
Age: Blend of 2, 6, and 10 year old rye whiskies (see breakdown for specific %s)
Proof: 86 Proof (43% ABV)
Type: Blend of straight rye whiskies
Mashbill: Not disclosed
Producer: WhistlePig Rye
Nose: The nose opens with a dominant note of green pears, followed by earthy rye, slight orange peel, slight dark fruits, slight baking spices, charred oak, and a fiery alcohol burn.
Palate: The palate is thick and initially muted before notes of dill, deep caramel, and green apples flood forward, followed by earthy rye spice, and charred oak again.
Finish: The finish opens with a wave of spice, fading to caramel, subtle dark fruits, green apples, dry oak tannins and an aftertaste of barrel char.
Overall I think WhistlePig made the right choice in sending this whiskey out as part of a blend instead of on its own. Married with the older rye whiskies you get all the classic characteristics from those rye whiskies combined with WhistlePig’s own to create something with far more balance than what a hot and young 2 year old rye whiskey would be. Whilst getting notes from where the two sourced ryes meet in the middle (MGPI dill meets Canadian green apples = green pears) it’s still clear that there’s a younger rye in the mix as it adds its own orange peel and spicy tannic oak to the final product. Despite being bottled at 86 proof the spice (from what I can only assume is the youngest rye in the blend) makes this drink much hotter and it really carries all the flavours at a heat that makes them pop on the palate much like a 100 proof rye whiskey. Unlike the previous release of Farmstock rye whiskey, this release really lets the drinker know that there is craft rye whiskey in the blend which makes this my favourite of the two releases to date. Albeit a blend of mature and juvenile rye whiskies, this whiskey is a great teaser for what WhistlePig’s own-made rye whiskey will be like when the time comes for it to be 100% their own whiskey in the bottle.
Try or Buy?
Whether you’re a WhistlePig fan who wants to own and taste a piece of their story as it progresses, or just a rye whiskey drinker looking for something interesting, I’d say buy yourself a bottle of this whiskey. It’s tasty, limited, and provides a great insight into what’s to come from WhsitlePig in the future. If, however, you’re not sure if you’d like the addition of young rye whiskey then why not try this before you buy to help you make up your mind.