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Anyone familiar with WhistlePig Whiskey knows they have always aimed to create premium products for a premium price, and expanding upon that virtue they have always crafted their best product of the year into what they have dubbed the Boss Hog. I have to give them credit for the homage to their original two pigs from the farm itself (Mortimer and Mauve) with the ongoing lineage of their naming. Not only is this annual release an homage to the swine of the past, but it’s also something of a living testament to the tenets of great whiskey making as originally developed by late co-founder Dave Pickerell.
The original promises made upon the creation of Boss Hog were integral to WhistlePig’s DNA, and highlight what Pickerell wanted in their ultra-premium annual release:
- I. Single Barrel
- II. Bottled at Proof
- III. Powerfully Complex
- IV. Distinctly Unique From Anything We’ve Done Before
- V. Stupendous
When reading through these I find it pretty self-explanatory, and logical, up until that fourth promise of “Distinctly unique from anything we’ve done before”. If that tells us anything, it’s that the evolution of Boss Hog releases was always going to be something that required months, if not years of effort to create something that could check off all of these boxes. As to Dave’s original thoughts and plans for where the Boss Hog line would go, that’s anyone’s guess, but I certainly didn’t have frankincense, myrrh, and gold on my whiskey bingo card this year!
From the WhistlePig Boss Hog X press release they had this to say about their most coveted launch:
A testament to WhistlePig’s devotion to creating, breaking and rewriting the laws of whiskey, WhistlePig expands the original five promises of The Boss Hog to the X Commandments for this and all future editions of the highly coveted collection: I. Single Barrel, II. Bottled at Proof, III. Powerfully Complex, IV. Distinctly Unique From Anything We’ve Done Before, V. Stupendous, VI. Fearlessly First Amongst All Whiskeys, VII. Inspired by the Unfamiliar, VIII. Irreverently inventive, IX. Made for Drinking, X. Knows No Bounds. The Commandments are emblazoned within The Boss Hog X gift box, and each bottle is crowned by the lawmaker and rule breaker of Rye Whiskey in the form of a handmade pewter topper.
I thought it would be pertinent to include the above excerpt specifically to show how they expanded upon Dave Pickerell’s five promises to round out The Commandments. A pretty clever spin, and obviously the marketing department was working overtime on getting this release to check all the boxes for the tenth release in the Boss Hog lineup. Next up, let’s have a quick peek at the packaging before diving into the liquid itself.
The Boss Hog bottle is always topped with a locally made pewter topper that is nearly heavy enough to be a boat anchor. I’ve actually toured the facility at Danforth Pewter where these are made, and it’s a pretty killer process. Definitely check them out if you’re in Vermont and looking for some great handmade gifts.
The packaging the extra-tall bottle comes in has a pull tab on the right side that, when pulled, spins the inner portion of the box around to showcase the bottle and the commandments themselves printed inside (with a gold backing). It’s clever packaging for sure, and does a great job of highlighting the black and gold labeling of this release.
Now that we’ve covered the backstory and the packaging, it’s time to get into the whiskey itself. Below is an excerpt from WhistlePig describing what went into this bottle:
Each barrel of Straight Rye Whiskey is aged in new American Oak before completing its journey in two unorthodox finishing barrels. The first is seasoned with WhistlePig’s own experimental spirit – distilled from rye and whey, infused with aromatic resins from the genera Boswellia and Commiphora. Commonly known as Frankincense and Myrrh, the resins bring notes of creme brulee, lemongrass and rosemary to the final whiskey. The second and final finish is aged in craft mead casks, offering a mellow, round-bodied finish with hints of red berries and freshly crushed black pepper.
To be quite honest, I had no idea what to make of this when I first read it; however, I felt the same level of apprehension for Boss Hog IX: Siren’s Song when it was first announced, and it’s still among the top of the list of best whiskey I have tried. With that said, let’s get into the review and discuss how Boss Hog X: The Commandments performs in a glencairn glass.