Continuing on with my small allotment of rye whisky, next up in the bunch is WhistlePig Old World 12-year-old Rye. If you’re a regular visitor to the site then you might be thinking, “Didn’t you already review this whisky?” Well, not exactly, but I did taste all of its components. That is, WhistlePig launched three one-off limited rye whiskies that were each finished in the following cask types: Madeira; Port; and Sauternes.
The limited Old World series was announced in early April as a Double Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey finished in the above listed ex-wine casks. The name ‘Old World’ is derived from the time-honored techniques of the “old world” used during maturation – particularly Single Malt Scotch. Mmm Scotch. Each was a 12-year-old whiskey bottled at 45% ABV. The rye whiskey, before being finished in the ex-wine casks and hand bottled on WhistlePig Farms, was made from a mash bill consisting of 95% rye and 5% malted barley and came from the MGP (LDI) distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. As for the ‘Double Barrel’ aspect, the whiskey was aged in new charred American Oak barrels for 12-years followed by a 3- to 6-week finish in their respective wine casks. Enter the release we have for tasting today.
The final product, this permanent release of Old World 12-year-old, goes through the same production process but in the end is made using a blend of the three ex-wine cask finished ryes; 30% Sauternes, 63% Madeira, and 7% Port. This is yet another rye whisky that is taking home high accolades from competitions and enthusiasts. I really enjoyed the one-off bottlings, especially the Port release, so I’ve been quite anxious to dive into this blend…
Price: Approx $117/750ml
Nose: Like the limited Sauternes finish, this whisky is rye forward with a lovely integration of the wine cask finishes throughout – starts off with classic MGP rye notes of soft dill, mint and evergreen that give way to wood spices, hints of chocolate, fresh and dried berries, vanilla, spiced honey, fruit-filled pastry and citrus peel. There’s quite a lot going on here that’s oh so fantastic.
Palate: Wow. My first thought is I think they nailed the combination of casks. The whisky seems a little soft on the approach then it burst with all these prickly rye spices that carry along layer upon layer of dry oak, honey, vanilla and caramel sweetness, dark chocolate, fresh and dried fruits – mostly on berries but some citrus, too. It all continues to roll along the palate then dives into a nice long finish.
Finish: Long, lingering and slightly drying with seasoned oak, rich vanilla, honey and lingering rye spices.
I must again say that this is a beautiful rye whisky. In a sense, it’s as if they were able to pull out the best parts of each of the limited wine cask finished releases and stick them in one bottle. The Rye holds its place sturdily while the wine finishes come in adding layers of complexity. Wonderful balance and integration of oak/casks and quite the flavor experience. The rub is the price, which is a little steep in my book. It’s noted as a “permanent expression” but it is also noted as having “undetermined availability.” There are, however, three cask types in here. Either way, I’m really enjoying this.
BIG thanks to WhistlePig for the lovely sample!!