I had the good fortune to help with 2 Whistle Pig picks this year and now that they are both out it felt like a good time to do a side by side and write some notes. I tasted them blind and then sat down to write more detailed notes afterwards.
Age: 16 years
Abv: 115.6 proof
Nose: Rich oak, sweet vanilla and faint herbs.
Taste: Oaky without being dry or tannic with lots of sweet herbal notes and some rye spice.
Finish: Long and sweet with herbal liqueur and sweet vanilla notes balanced with some oak.
Obviously I am biased but this is honestly one of my favorite Alberta sourced ryes. It’s got a lot of oak without being over oaked, to me at least, and tons of herbal notes. It’s almost like a the rye already has a dash or two of herbal bitters in it.
Age: 15 years
Abv: 106.2 proof
Nose: Oak and herbs with vanilla and fainter cinnamon candy(Red Hots or Hot Tamales etc) underneath.
Taste: It starts very sweet with vanilla cream and herbal notes then more cinnamon candy comes in as it goes.
Finish: Medium length but high intensity finish with more cinnamon candy, rich herbs and finally some oak.
I really like this pick too but it doesn’t beat out the Sweet Sixteen. The cinnamon candy note was very prevalent and reminded me a little bit of the wonderful cinnamon notes in the the Boss Hog VII. Overall this is one of the sweetest unfinished Whistle Pigs I’ve had but it still has a lot else going on and the sweetness isn’t cloying.
Austin had a great crop of Whistle Pig picks this year especially if you like the Alberta ryes. I was very glad I got to participate in the panel for two of these picks and am looking forward to more. It’s really interesting to me to see the different samples different shops get access to and the different ways groups pick. In both cases we didn’t know how old the samples were and didn’t check the proof until the end.
TL;DR: Great picks! Sweet Sixteen was the winner.