There are them as poo poo Canadian whiskey............ I be not amongst them. I find favor with several Canadian whiskies, just as I do some Irish whiskies and some Scotch whiskies. When I saw WhistlePig on the shelf at 'my' liquor store something in the back of me mind dislodged and I did some research on WhistlePig. If you are curious, you can do the same. What I found was enough to convince me to purchase a bottle ('tain't cheap, y'all).
So, here me sits, sipping a 10 year old 100% rye whiskey from Canada by way of Vermont. It is 100 proof. As you might expect, being a 100% rye makes for a rye that is more 'grainy' than the ryes I recently compared in another post. But the time in the barrel was well spent. This rye probably has the most subtle 'attack' of any rye in my memory......... the oak, she lay low, which makes me guess that, like most Canadian whiskies, it was aged in used barrels...... Still, for a 10 year old whiskey, it is fairly light in color. The sweetness comes from the rye grain more than from the barrel............... but the barrel has put a definite damper on the rye spiciness.
The thing I like most about the best Canadian whiskies is that they offer a certain softness and subtlety that I find appealing. This rye whiskey lies well within that tradition.
This whiskey prompts me to try it side by side with the Delaware Phoenix (Cheryl Lins, proprietor and Bourbon Enthusiast member) Rye Whiskey. I do not recall exactly how much rye is in Cheryl's Rye Whiskey, but it is a considerable amount and is a beautifully grainy rye whiskey. Even though Cheryl's Rye spent only 12 months in the barrel, it was a small chared barrel which means that the whiskey to barrel contact was much greater per volume per time. Chery's Rye is a wonderful whiskey that is very evocative of the grain fields and is almost like a potion of rye in a glass........... unique, rich, sweet with the grain from our yonderhood.
WhistlePig is Canadian through and through...... softness, delicacy, and balance. What is missing, if you count it as absent, is a thick and rich barrel cover that has its own powerful attractions (Chery's rye, young as it it, has more of these qualities). Which is to say that no whiskey ever has everything in perfect balance............ and a whiskey that did might would not satisfy at all times.
Sometimes we want this, sometimes that. It is my opinon that if you like whiskey in its many manifestations and incarnations, you would like WhistlePig rye. It is excellent whiskey........... and so is Cheryl Lins' Rye Whiskey!!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas