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Whistle Pig 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey

Review: Whistle Pig 10 Year Rye Whiskey  (87.5/100)
a review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)
Published November 16, 2017

Whistle Pig 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey is an interesting whiskey. It is a 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey which began its life as part of the blending stocks at a distillery in Alberta Canada (almost certainly Alberta Distillers in Calgary Alberta). This spirit was purchased by Whistle Pig Whiskey and transported to the Whistle Pig Farm in Shoreham Vermont where it was finished in once used bourbon barrels. According to my discussions with the local rep for Whistle Pig, because the whiskey was not aged for the entire maturation period in Canada, it is technically not a Canadian Whiskey (which must be aged only in Canada). It does though, meet the requirement in the USA to be bottled as a Straight Rye Whiskey.

Whistle Pig 10 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey is bottled at 50 % alcohol by volume.

Note: a whisky labels as Straight Rye Whiskey must be made from a mash of at least 51 % rye and aged in new American Oak Barrels.

In the Bottle 4/5

Whistle Pig is an expensive brand which rums north of $100.00 a bottle in my local. At that price point, I begin to expect a little more in my whiskey presentation, as a spirit in this price range is apt to be a showpiece for the home bar or perhaps a gift for a special friend. I want the whiskey to look the part, and in that respect Whistle Pig disappoints.

The flask style oval bottle looks good; but it doesn’t look $100.00 good. Some of the gold fonts on the light brown label are hard to read, and the label as well as the tacky clear shrink wrapped plastic over the cork give me an impression of corners cut.

I won’t punish the presentation score for Whistle Pig 10 Year Old Straight Rye, as I certainly have seen much worse, but then again, in this price range, I usually see much better.

In the Glass 9/10

When poured into my glencairn, the whisky displays itself as a golden coloured spirit. When I tilted and twirled my glass I saw a slightly thickened liquid sheen on the inside the crest of which only reluctantly gave up a multitude of leglets which began to run back down to the whisky at the bottom of the glass.

The initial aroma from the glass is full of burly rye notes with accents of maple and wood spice. Both oak and cedar are present with firm vanillans and spicy wood sap. Some dusty dry grain is evident as well, and I sense a firm indication of sweet corn and honeycomb in the breezes too. There is a little fresh tobacco smell, and some yummy baking spices (vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and hints of spicy clove).

As the glass sits, the nose becomes even more complex with woody oak building up, some more spicy rye welling up, and more sweet honeycomb and maple reaching out further into the breezes.

In the Mouth 52.5/60

The whisky reminds me very much of Masterson’s 10-Year-Old Straight Rye Whiskey, and indeed when you read about both the source of the rye whiskey and the process used to finish the spirit the two whiskeys have an almost identical heritage.

The delivery is a little heated with a burst of rough rye grain and wood spice. The wood spice tastes very fresh in the mouth almost as if you are chewing on a freshly cut wood chip which have imparted a spicy sap-like flavours into the spirit. There is a nice dose of maple and vanilla carried along with some sweet corn and honeycomb. This sweetness tempers the impact of the spicy sap.

As I indicated in my Masterson’s review (see here), straight rye whiskies have a rough edge which makes them hard to sip. In the case of Whistle Pig, there seems to be a touch more sweetness (perhaps from the finishing barrels) which gives the Whistle Pig a better overall balance than I found in Masterson’s. This helps the score, but I still would like a touch more sweetness to help smooth the rough wood and burly spice. Adding ice does not help much as although the ice tempers the effect of the wood sap, it also tempers the sweetness.

In the Throat 13/15

The Whistle Pig Whiskey exits with a nice combination of rye spice and maple which tastes yummy. The heat from the oak and rye spice is felt throughout the palate and, if you wait for it, a pleasant creeping burn of spice wells up in the back of the throat. Fortunately sweet maple,a touch of corn syrup and a light hit of menthol soothe the exit.

The Afterburn 9/10

Whistle Pig 10 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey has firm oak and cedar notes, combined with the luscious taste of rye and maple sweetness. It is also a whiskey which tastes better each time I return to the bottle.

You may read some of my other Whisky Reviews (click the link) if you wish to have some comparative reviews.


As always you may interpret the scores I provide as follows.

0-25 A spirit with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49 Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59 You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69 Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74 Now we have a fair mixing rum or whisky.  Accept this but make sure it is mixed into a cocktail.
75-79 You may begin to serve this to friends, again probably still cocktail territory.
80-84 We begin to enjoy this spirit neat or on the rocks. (I will still primarily mix cocktails)
85-89 Excellent for sipping or for mixing!
90-94 Definitely a primary sipping spirit, in fact you may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+ I haven’t met this bottle yet…but I want to.

Very loosely we may put my scores into terms that you may be more familiar with on a Gold, Silver, and  Bronze medal  scale as follows:

70 – 79.5    Bronze Medal (Recommended only as a mixer)
80 – 89.5     Silver Medal (Recommended for sipping and or a high quality mixer)
90 – 95         Gold Medal (Highly recommended for sipping and for sublime cocktails.)
95.5+            Platinum Award (Highest Recommendation)

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