Whistlepig:Straight Rye Whisky: 10 Year ( Canadian Whiskey: 10 Year: 50% ABV)
Visual: Deep dark gold.
Viscosity: Thick fast streaks.
Nose: Shredded wheat. Vanilla. Honey and syrup. Perfumed orange. Spicy. Water adds light pepper notes.
Body: Warming. Orange. Rye crackers. Vanilla and honey. Water adds treacle and light liquorice. Malt drinks. More orange, brown bread and maybe light peach with more water.
Finish: Orange. Vanilla. Toffee. Water adds white pepper, brown bread and maybe light peach.
Conclusion: First up, this kindly given sample is about a half a normal measure, so please consider this more of a first impressions than a full tasting note, but I will still give it my best shot!
The most notable characteristic is the smoothness. Despite a 50% abv it is warming, but no more than that – and water soothes even that level of fire if you need it more easy going still.
Next up, and also easily distinct, is the base. It has that shredded wheat, rye crackers and brown bread kind of base that I would associate more with bourbon than whiskey – however it is not too harshly pushed. There is some spice from the rye, but again that is balanced. It also doesn’t push the sweetness too hard, it has honey notes, and familiar bourbon barrel aged vanilla, but very smooth. Generally smooth sums up the base well in all its implementation.
So, what it does push however, and what is probably the most interesting characteristic for this for me, is a soft creamy orange note. Very unexpected and tasty. It nestles amongst the rye notes nicely and adds a bright middle to it. There is also, and here again softly done, a mild fruitiness in other ways.
It feels like a whisky that has a lot of character but no need to push them too hard, it just lets them slip out slowly. It would be very interesting to see what comes out of this with more time for experimentation.
So, at the end of these first impressions, it looks good. Very easy to drink, soft, but well developed flavours. Uses the rye without being dominated by it. Definitely warrants full investigation.
Background: A very unusual one here, Independent Spirit gave me a small sample, about half measure, of this to try. Many thanks. They also provided a photo of the bottle as I did not have my camera with me, the sample I took in the cleaned out Masters of Malt jar photographed. The whiskey is distilled in Canada, aged for a while but then moved to the USA for further ageing. In interest of simplicity I have listed this as Canadian.