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Mar 3, 2014 04:20 PM

Whistle Pig Rye

Can anyone recommend a similar rye to Whistle Pig? It was just introduced to the Nashville market which means that most of the bars are getting the stock.

I'd love to get my hands on a few bottles, but I would have to drive to Kentucky.

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  1. WhistlePig is a Canadian straight rye made from 100% rye grain. It is thought to be distilled at Alberta Springs Distillery. Masterson's Rye and Jefferson's Rye are likely from the same source and taste very similar.

    37 Replies
    1. re: sku

      Not to mention Jefferson's should cost about half as much. I've never had Masterson's or Whistle pig, but I quite like my bottle of Jefferson's.

      1. re: ncyankee101

        I've had all three, unfortunately. (Unfortunately because I bought them within days of one another, not realizing they were basically the same thing. That hurt.)

        Jefferson's: $30
        Masterson's: $60
        Whistle Pig: $60

        For me, Jefferson's and Masterson's taste absolutely identical. I put two samples in glasses, mixed them up, and was unable to tell them apart at all.

        Whistle Pig is very similar but I found my bottle to be significantly sweeter than the other two. Way too sweet, truth be told. I'm not sure why it gets so much attention.

        I don't personally think any of them are amazing. They all have a sort of "bubble gum" note that I don't love.

        Jefferson's is very decent as a mixer, and perfectly priced for it. It's the only one of the three I would consider spending money on again.

        1. re: davis_sq_pro

          I haven't had any of these three, but am a rye fan. Out of curiosity, which ryes do you like better?

          1. re: harrism

            Both of StriperGuy's choices -- Bulleit Rye and WT (101) Rye -- are excellent in my opinion.

            I've also long been a huge fan of Michter's US #1.

            On the slightly more expensive side, I've recently been really taken with High West's Rendezvous Rye. Huge, spicy, very flavorful, and very smooth.

            1. re: davis_sq_pro

              Inspired by this thread my wife picked up a bottle of Michter's as a present. Great stuff I must say. I've had it a couple of times before, but always at a bar. Nice to have a bottle at home.

              1. re: StriperGuy

                On further experimentation, GREAT stuff neat, or with an ice cube or two. When used in a Sazerac I find that it's deliciousness really does not shine through sufficiently. Between the hint of pernod, the lemon oil, and the Peychaud's bitters I can only barely taste the difference between a Sazerac made with Michter's and one with say Old Overholt, or some other lesser rye.

                In short, save this tasty $40 a bottle rye for sipping. For cocktails, Old Overholt is just fine.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  I think I still prefer Rittenhouse in a sazerac for value ryes.

              2. re: davis_sq_pro

                just tried the bulleit rye tonight.
                +1 in my book

              3. re: harrism

                Bulleit is one of my favorites. Haven't tried the WT because I'm not sure my wife would let it in the house (too many college stories, albeit Bourbon related, not rye).
                Is the 101 still available though? I thought they'd started selling only the 80 proof.

                1. re: harrism

                  Word is that they've revived the 101 at this point.

              4. re: davis_sq_pro

                We've commented on this topic before, but I don't care for the Jefferson's at all. Way rather drink Bulleit, or even Wild Turkey Rye, both more or less at the same price point.

                1. re: StriperGuy

                  Is the Jefferson's to which you're referring their 10-Year Old?

                  1. re: StriperGuy

                    Hadn't had Wild Turkey Rye for a while so recently scored a bottle. In the end, not sure I'd add it to the short list. Certainly not a sipper, and for a Sazerac not any better than say Old Overholt or Jim Beam. Not at all in the same league as Bulleit or Michter's.

                    Gosh, and recently saw Rittenhouse 100 at Cambridge Liquors (Fresh Pond) here in Boston... $29.99 a bottle. Seriously... Not at that price. Bulleit is much better at taht price point.

                    1. re: StriperGuy

                      Which Wild Turkey, the 81 or 101?

                      1. re: jaba

                        I believe only the bourbon comes 101

                          1. re: StriperGuy

                            If you tried only the 81 proof I would imagine you would be less than blown away. I still have a couple bottles of the 101 proof left from a couple years back and it was my favorite mixing rye by far. I haven't even bothered buying any of the 81 proof, instead switching to Rittenhouse for mixing.

                              1. re: ncyankee101

                                I've heard the same, which is why I haven't bought the WT yet. Still waiting for the 101 to show up again in my store, but 81 is the only thing on the shelf. Hoping enough of it sells soon that they put some 101 on their order.

                                1. re: harrism

                                  Honestly the WT 81 Rye is just plain flabby.

                                  1. re: harrism

                                    Most stores will order stuff for you if you ask.

                                  2. re: ncyankee101

                                    WT 101 Rye is a nice easy sipper neat. Very soft. Unlike the multitude of LDI ryes out there

                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                      It's been a while since I have had an open bottle, I have been saving the ones I have stashed away (for what I don't know LOL). But I don't remember it being particularly soft, I thought it had a fairly assertive spicy bite (with some sweetness) which was why I liked it as a mixer. Not quite as aggressive as Ritt 100 but more pleasant to sip.

                                      Ryes I find soft are Old Overholt (overly so, to the point of blandness) and Temptation (which I like quite a bit, but not for mixing.)

                                      I also quite like WT's Russell's reserve, and just poured myself some. It has the same nice sweet/spicy bite I remember from the WT 101, but a little lower 90 proof and less hot, and really nice to sip. It is also 6 yrs old, which I think is a couple years older than the WT Rye (though I can't find any age reference.)

                          2. re: davis_sq_pro

                            I actually think of that "bubble gum note" as being one of the trademark flavors of a good rye.

                            1. re: The Big Crunch

                              Interesting. I don't notice that flavor in some of the universally acclaimed ryes such as Sazerac 18, Rittenhouse 21, and so on. Nor do I notice it in any of the other whiskies that I mentioned in this thread. Do you? Or do you not like those whiskies?

                              I believe that flavor is a hallmark of a very high rye mash bill. (Perhaps sku or some other whiskey expert can weigh in on whether I'm correct in that assessment.) In any case I've come to the conclusion that for my taste a very high rye mash bill is not a very good thing. I think these ultra-high rye whiskies tend to lack both body and finesse.

                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                I agree I didn't notice that flavor in other highly regarded ryes at all. However, I don't think it particularly reminiscint of bubblegum and I quite like that unique flavor.

                                Of the 100% ryes I've had, I think the only one I keep going back to is Whistle Pig.

                                I think you're pretty spot on, but I guess I just have a weird thing for the WP.

                            2. re: davis_sq_pro

                              I've found that heavy flavor note, I think it's the one you describe as "bubble gum", to be characteristic of rye whiskeys distilled at the distillery in western Canada where Whistle Pig, Jefferson's, Masterton's, etc. are manufactured; Alberta Distilling in Calgary. Basically the only company making 100% rye whiskey in large, commercial quantity. (Actually originally made for blending as a flavoring agent, not to be bottled straight.)

                              1. re: JMF

                                I REALLY dislike that bubble gum note. Find it totally offputting.

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  is this bubble gum note similar to what you get in some types of rum?
                                  five banks white rum and a jamaican pot still black rum have had what i would describe as this "bubble gum" note.

                                  1. re: lemonsucker

                                    Not sure since I've never had Banks 5 nor a Jamaican pot still black rum, but to clarify, for me the bubble gum note is specific to the flavor you'd get from the old stick gum they'd include in baseball card packs, or, perhaps Bazooka Joe.

                                    I think JMF and davis_sq_pro are right in that it seems most prominent in high-rye ryes, which is one of the reasons I tend to associate that flavor (which, again, I like) with better ryes. As far as it being strongly associated with Canadian ryes, I can see that because I find itin all the products JMF mentions, but I also find it in the Dickel rye which comes from Indiana.

                                    I've never had Rittenhouse 21, but I don't notice it very much in plain Rittenhouse, though it's honestly been a looong time since I sampled that stuff straight since I tend to use always use it in cocktails. I think I'll go back and give it a sample neat either tonight or tomorrow. I also don't get much of it in the Sazerac, which I do like, though my tasting notes for Sazerac mention mint and white pepper, which is in the same general flavor region.

                                    1. re: The Big Crunch

                                      Clay Risen mentioned bubblegum in his tasting notes for Ritt 100, I don't have a bottle open at the moment and don't have any counter space to open one.

                                      Banks 5 Island has some batavia arrack in it, if that means anything in terms of bubblegum.

                                    2. re: lemonsucker

                                      Hmmmm. There are similar notes in some rums. My bottle of Jefferson had it as the predominant flavor, I found it flabby/cloying. Michter's on the contrary is spicy, complex, grainy, with just the right non-bubblegum sweetness.

                                  2. re: JMF

                                    So...okay, I think this is what I don't like about Whistle Pig - the bubblegummyness. But...I seem to remember liking the Alberta ryes when I lived in Canada. In particular, the Alberta Premium 30-year, which they stopped producing about the time rye got hot down here. Have my tastes changed that much in a handful of years? Have I been spoiled by access to a greater variety of ryes since I moved back south of the border?
                                    JMF, StriperGuy, et al... have you had the regular Alberta Springs and Alberta Premium?

                                    1. re: Wahooty

                                      Seriously, try Lot No. 40 if you can find it. They had a ton at K&L a while ago but that's only in California (And I think much of it flew off the shelves).

                              2. re: sku

                                I'll have to search for these two.
                                I usually have Rittenhouse at home for cocktails, but that's also getting more difficult to find.

                                Has anyone tried the WhistlePig Boss Hog?

                                1. re: pete k

                                  As you may know the Boss Hog is a 12 yo, cask strength version of the regular WhistlePig. If you like WhistlePig, you'll probably like it as it tastes exactly like what it is...a stronger version of WP, but it's hard for me to justify the price just for that given that it goes for double the price.


                              3. Is Whistle Pig the Grey Goose of ryes? Seriously, it's OK stuff, but $60?????? Bulleit, George Dickel, many others are as good or better for much less. Riverboat is excellent in cocktails. Willet is less expensive as well, I believe, and a superior product.

                                How did Whistle Pig manage to price their product this way? Because I want to hire them to negotiate my next raise.

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: Alcachofa

                                  I just think the name is super sexy ;-)

                                  1. re: Alcachofa

                                    I'll say this, I think Whistle Pig is incredibly distinctive. If you like that distinctive taste, and I do, then it's very much worth it. Bulleit, George Dickel, Michter's, Redemption, etc., are all good, but I can tell the difference between all of them and Whistle Pig in one sip, even mixed. And I don't have a refined palate.

                                    Just my 2 cents. I very much respect those who don't care for the WP.

                                    1. re: Alcachofa

                                      Each to their own, but I gotta say, I've gone through several bottles of Bulleit Rye and currently have a bottle of Dickel rye half finished in the home bar and Whistlepig is far better than both of them. Yeah, it might be over-priced, but it is a truly exceptional rye.

                                      For a cheaper price, Jefferson's is quite similar and if I'm not mistaken, is supposed to be sourced from the same Canadian stocks as Whistlepig.

                                      1. re: The Big Crunch

                                        I haven't had Whistle Pig, but I would say the same about Jefferson's Rye in relation to the others you mentioned. I also like Sazerac 6 yr a lot, but have yet to open my bottles of Willet or Rendezvous.

                                        1. re: ncyankee101

                                          Yeah, Sazerac is a good one.

                                          I haven't had the Rendezvous or Willet. I had a glass of the FEW rye a while back and it wasn't all that bad. I was expecting it to be awful as my friend Clay hated it, but I thought it was decent, though needed a bit more aging. I wouldn't buy a bottle, but, again, not awful. I also had a few glasses of Templeton last week for the first time and thought it was quite good - perhaps not worth the price, but really quite nice and a good representation of the style.

                                        2. re: The Big Crunch

                                          And THIS is why there is more than one bottle of Rye (or Bourbon or Vodka) out there . . . we each have our own tastes, our own "Personal Palate Preferences" (the 3P principle).

                                          1. re: The Big Crunch

                                            Yes, Jefferson's, Masterton's, and Whistle Pig are from Alberta Distilling.

                                            1. re: JMF

                                              Also, I just discovered, a newer entry called Lock Stock and Barrel. Which is apparently selling for over $100 a bottle.

                                              Wonderful marketing these people are doing. I wish I could get in on that game!

                                              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                Just to add, yes it's an ADL spirit, and that's one of Robert Cooper's products. Bacardi bought out ST-Germain, but I'm not sure if they bought all of his brands. He's still the brand spokesperson for ST-Germain.

                                                If you have big bucks to buy the juice from ADL, and even more for the marketing, you too can sell a 100% rye made in North America (Canada.) But why do all of them use subterfuge and lead the consumer to think these are small, rare, artisanal, farm/craft distillery products; made in the US?

                                        3. Can anyone comment on JP Riser's? It looks to be about the same price as Rittenhouse here, but has a huge rebate at the moment. Worth trying, or standard too smooth to be worth the trouble Canadian?

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: harrism

                                            I didn't like Risers. I ordered a bottle last November for the bar I was consulting to back then, and found it mediocre.

                                            I do like Riverboat rye. It's the younger version (1 yr. old) of Redemption rye. Makes good cocktails, and even works well in a Sazerac. I just picked up a case to use for a barrel aged Manhattan for the bars at the country club I presently work with.

                                            1. re: JMF

                                              Don't forget to mention Riverboat is unfiltered. I agree with you on it, wish I had picked up a couple more bottles when an online retailer had it on sale for $15 earlier this year.