If you fancy yourself a seasoned whiskey drinker, then you know all about WhistlePig. Since 2008, the acclaimed brand has stood at the forefront of the bourbon and rye revival, with a worldwide following and slate of awards to show for it. For its latest masterwork, WhistlePig joined forces with spirits community Flaviar along with four James Beard-nominated chefs. The result is Old World Cask Finished Rye (also known as WhistlePig x Flaviar Chef’s Blend 2019), a bespoke blend that’s every bit as good as it sounds and available in limited supply.
Aged for 12 years and finished in a variety of casks, the new WhistlePig x Flaviar Chef’s Blend measures in at 43% ABV. If you tasted the whiskey without knowing its proof, you would guess a higher number. That’s not due to harshness or heat, rather the abundance of conspicuous flavour and the trail of spice this wonderful sipper leaves in its wake. Put simply, it’s the kind of rye whiskey you can chew on…and we mean that in the best of ways.
Old World Cask Finished Rye is bottled exclusively for Flaviar and bolstered by an impressive number of benchmarks. For starters, it marks the first time a WhistlePig 12-year has prominently featured sherry cask finished rye in the blend. Traditional and Madeira cask finished ryes are joined by a French Sauternes cask finished rye and a port cask finished rye. The original mash, meanwhile, consists of 95% rye and 5% malted barley.
What’s just as exciting is how this brilliant whiskey came to be in the first place, with four all-star chefs visiting WhistlePig’s Vermont farm to partake in the blending session. Specifically, those chefs were Michael Gulotta of MOPHO/Maypop (New Orleans), Jamie Malone of Grand Café (Minneapolis), David Posey of Elske (Chicago), and Justin Woodward of Castagna (Portland).
Add it all up and you get classic notes of chewy rye along with swirling layers of cherry, spice, cinnamon, vanilla, banana, bubble gum, orange, and raisin. Those notes come through on the nose and palate alike, making for one heck of a memorable dram. Mix a tasty Manhattan for dinner and then sip the whiskey neat with your dessert; it’s what the chefs would want.
To commemorate the release, each chef respectively hosted an intimate whiskey pairing dinner for Flaviar members. We were lucky enough to attend the dinner at Castagna in Portland and it was nothing short of fantastic. Keep your eyes peeled for a separate article dedicated to the experience. In the meantime, Flaviar whiskey drinkers are in for a treat!