Home Distilleries Review: WhistlePig 12 Year Rye Whiskies (Single Cask Nation)

Review: WhistlePig 12 Year Rye Whiskies (Single Cask Nation)

by Chris Perugini

Today, I’m looking at a few well-aged WhistlePig releases put out in 2020 by the fine folks at Single Cask Nation. When SCN announced these unusual finished ryes, it certainly got my attention. These two bottlings are Indiana distilled (hint hint) so I already knew what sort of rye profile to expect going into these reviews. What I couldn’t anticipate was the effect these finishing casks would have on these two expressions. One of the ryes was finished in ex-Rum and Vermouth barrels and the other was finished in ex-Tokaji casks. I tried the Rum/Vermouth whiskey first since I expected the Tokaji finish to be much sweeter. I was correct in that assessment.

Single Cask Nation’s WhistlePig 12 Year Old Rum/Vermouth finish is bottled at exactly 50% ABV. The 12 Year Old Tokaji Finish is bottled at a punchier 57.7% ABV. How did these two sweet finished ryes compare?

WhistlePig 12 Year Rum and Vermouth Finish - 50% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Light amber
Nose Buttered toast, fresh oregano and mint, apple turnover, ginger snaps, orange peel. The rum cask influence isn’t overpowering but it adds a bit of banana and burnt sugar. With water, raw pecans, toffee, and sultanas emerge.
Taste Lots of herbs and spice up front, cinnamon stick, vanilla, earthy, mushrooms, cherries, Sugar in the Raw, rum balls, angel food cake. Water brings out additional sugary sweetness, and a bit of baking spice.
Finish That buttery pastry note is back along with more earth and minerality, baked fruits, herb garden, hint of pipe tobacco, and creme caramel. With water, there’s drier spice, white pepper, damp cave earthiness, and a touch of smoke.
Overall Thoughts The crew over at SCN don’t often release a product that is overwhelmingly heavy on any single flavor and I think the use of these two casks added a nice touch of depth without overpowering the base rye profile. A well done whiskey.
Total Score 89/100
WhistlePig 12 Year Tokaji Finish - 57.7% ABV
Category Notes
Appearance Golden
Nose A bit of a shy nose. Fruit tart, lots of sweetness, tea tree oil, walnuts, grainy. Water brings out some mustiness and a slightly nuttier profile.
Taste Mixed fruit in syrup, rye spice, honey, chocolate orange, vanilla. With water, I find more wine influence and menthol.
Finish Caramel chews, winey, mint leaves, demarara, almond paste. Water makes this finish mintier and more acidic.
Overall Thoughts Less expressive and more focused in flavor, this whiskey is a touch too sweet for my preferences. You know what you’re getting yourself into when you drink a whiskey that spends time in Tokaji casks but I was hoping for a bit more balance. If you have a serious sweet tooth, this is the rye for you.
Total Score 83/100

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