Who makes it? Whistlepig Distillery
Mash Bill 18yr: 9% rye, 15% malted rye, and 6% malted barley
Mash Bill 15yr and Boss Hog: 100% rye
Where it’s from: Shoreham, Vermont
How did it start, well Dave Pickerell secured a stockpile of 10 year Canadian rye whiskey and couldn’t convince any of the Tennessee or Kentucky boys to team up and make some rye whiskey. Those boys said “that’s nice but we’re makin bourbon”. Dave had a penchant for rye and then met the guys from Whistlepig and with Raj Bhatka at the helm decided to make that rye whiskey into liquid gold! From there the brand grew and Dave started the Boss Hog program which comes out once a year with 5 promises. 1. Has to be a single barrel 2. Has to be barrel proof 3. Has to be unique 4. has to be complex and 5. is has to be STUPENDOUS! Not easy promises to live up to but some how every year they do it. Plus, they the most awarded rye whiskey in the world. Since then Dave Pickerell (the Johnny Appleseed of Whiskey) has passed, an icon in the industry, and now Jeff Kozak is the CEO and the brand is still growing like crazy!
Our good friend Chris Helmly dropped by and offered us a Primo Tasting. That involved the 15 year 100% rye aged in Vermont Oak barrels which gives a distinct flavor since Vermont oak has different characteristics than white oak in the middle of the US. Also the 18 year double malt, with rye, malted rye and malted barley for that velvety mouth feel. Just when we were about the finish up, Chris slaps down the Boss! Boss Hog VIII Lapulapu Pacific! The packaging alone is amazing, from the box charting Magellan’s course and his ultimate demise by the Philipinno Chief Lapulapu. Boss Hog VII was finished in South American teak wood and won best rye in the WORLD! Off the heels of that and keeping with the 5 promises to make this edition stand out it is an 18 year old rye and finished in Philippino rum casks. We have to talk about the topper too. Each Boss Hog from 2 through 8 has a unique topper with a different pig on each, this one the essence of Lapulapu in pig form complete with famed machete!
Onto the nose, palate and finish. The 15 year was sweet on the nose, light and then the palate came through with powdered brown sugar and a little spice on the back end. The 18 year was just plain good! Heavier spice on the nose and a thick molasses on the palate with a velvety smoothness for a 92 proof. Then the Boss! This was hard to pin down, but it was complex and oh so good. A very unique experience for sure.
How much: for the 15 year you are looking in the over 200 range and the 18 year starting out at 399 and the Boss Hog retails at 499.00 if you can find it!
Huge thanks to our good friend Chris Helmly for an amazing review with the big boys of Whistlepig. I’ll bet that not many get the top 3 to review at the same time. As always when we hang out with Chris for a review it’s either freezing cold or extremely hot. This time it was 37 with a nice wind of the river making the whiskey that much more enjoyable keeping our inards warm but of course we had blast!