WhistlePig 15 Year 114.9 Proof Single Barrel Rye Whiskey
As you pour the whiskey, there's a lovely musty haze about the whole experience. Like the sharp spicy pepper of WhistlePig's younger whiskies has softened and turned into a kind of antique-y warmth blanketed over top. Not in a very big woody way, but very vintage feeling. Intensely and notably rich, but decidedly rye-herbal. Tons of deep herbs, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage accent cherry licorice and a savory umami paste. It’s a regular Scarborough Fair. Cola like spice elements, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, and creamy chocolate lend to the perception of intense richness on the palate, but those drying herbal notes win out in the end on a long, savory finish with a twinge of bitter baking chocolate.
One of the most unique elements of WhistlePig’s 15 year rye (aside from being one of the oldest available ryes on the market) is the finishing done in Vermont oak barrels, many of which are made from trees on the WhistlePig farm. Vermont is basically as far north as oak can grow, which means the growing season is shorter, which in turns means the growth rings in the wood are closer together, or more frequent. These rings are where much of the most intense flavor is extracted from during the aging process, lending a more dense and complex whiskey. It also means the wood is much more expensive to make barrels out of, part of why it’s so rarely used.