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In the video above, Jay and I review the Boss Hog release “Siren’s Song”, which expanded yet again on the crazy finishes WhistlePig has been crafting for the annual release of Boss Hog. Featuring a finish in Greek fig nectar and scratch-made Tentura (a Greek liqueur) this was an unforgettable expression that earned a rare grade of A here on the bourbon finder. This release left us wondering “what will they come up with next?”, and today’s review answers that very question!
Enthusiasts of Scotch and other single malt categories (such as the burgeoning American single malt) are likely to be right at home with The Beholden, as a 21 year single malt whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels; however, this may not be the single malt that comes to mind. Here is what WhistlePig has to say about this limited edition release:
Behôld… a revolutionary tale. Born from 100% malted barley at the first Single Malt distillery in North America, 21 long years of age lend rich maple and dried fruit notes to a bready, nutty base. The pig de resistance: a bold finish in WhistlePig Rye barrels. Savory, spice and smoky notes join the stage, contending with the malt itself to create a final spirit that rises to the call of a new generation. Today, its whisper is the oink heard ‘round the whiskey world.
You’ll probably notice that the above-quoted press release has some pretty cheeky descriptions in it. Jay and I discuss this in an upcoming episode of the Whiskey Raiders Podcast (will add a link here once it’s live). The whiskey nerd in me had an initial reaction of being turned-off by the seemingly joking manner of the release, but after taking a step back and re-reading it a few times I think it’s actually a sign of WhistlePig not taking themselves ultra seriously, and just having fun.
We’ve seen WhistlePig labels approved for other things that have me wondering if it’s ever going to be a real product, like a Pit Viper collaboration for WhistlePig SummerStock, and I’ve got to say that either the folks in Shoreham, Vermont are some of the most hilarious trolls in the whiskey world or they’ve simply come out of their collective shell and are just having a boatload of fun with their brand. Either one of those things would be refreshing in the whiskey world–at least to a certain extent.
Here’s another nugget of press release comedy that, I think, does a good job of walking the line between presenting the information a whiskey drinker wants to see, and totally taking the mickey.
As rare as it is brazen, just eighteen barrels of The Béhôlden embody WhistlePig’s limited Spring release. Their story starts with stills hammered by the Scots themselves and absconded overseas for a brighter, and decidedly less dusty, future. Redeemed in the new world, these rogue stills began to run again more than two score ago – their bounty stashed in oak ‘till finally finding Rye barrel finished unity in the land of opportunity. As everybody knows there’s an ‘e’ in whiskey, but there’s no ‘i’ in team. Thus, we humbly acknowledge the origins of Single Malt, whilst raising a glass to freedom o’er the hills of our own pig-trodden glen.
Being a limited edition release, this comes with some top notch packaging. The wooden box is very heavy-duty, and keeps a firm hold of the elegant bottle. Of course, with such a high end release and beautiful packaging, there is a matching price tag to accompany it–folks searching for this release should expect to pay at least the $799 SRP.
For the folks curious about the nitty-gritty details, here is what the press information boils down to:
- 21 years old
- North American single malt
- Finished 4 weeks in WhistlePig rye casks
- 46% ABV (92 proof)
- Single barrel (only 18 barrels in this release)
Now–of course–all of the press info, lore, packaging, and suggested retail price in the universe can’t make the product great. The only way we’ll know what exactly this North American single malt is like is to get some into a glass and give it a go. So without further ado, here are my tasting notes for WhistlePig 21 Year.