Review: Whistlepig Madeira Cask 12 Year Old Straight Rye Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

12 Years; Finished in Madeira Casks
95% Rye
Distiller MGP (Lawrenceburg, Indiana)

Whistlepig, in their continued quest for outstanding rye whiskey, finished a number of their products in various casks - port, madeira, and sauternes - finally coming up with a mix that they thought was ideal - their "old world". The whiskey, this time, is not from Alberta, like the 10 Year Old - but from MGP.

Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2012

The nose is an interesting mix – as might be expected from a straight rye finished in a madeira cask. Quite sweet – honey, caramel, mint, vanilla-laden oak, and full of dried fruit. Barrel char, dried apricots, prunes, pralines – quite complex, but not as full of rye as I expected. Very lightly floral, too. Macaroons, orange meringues – sometimes the madeira comes out with a bit of a wine character more than others.

The palate has more oak than the nose, and is also very full of dried fruit. Cane sugar. Not too much oak here, and lots of complexity present. On the end, some rye and mint, along with a thread of bitterness in a similar vein as some bitter vegetables like rapini. Not sure what sort of madeira they used here, but the wine influence sometimes reminds me more of a fortified white than a madeira. The finish is quite grainy, with a bit of flax. And some orange jujubes.

Very complex, and fairly well integrated, but it doesn’t quit come together enough for me given all of its components.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Low. Pretty steep stuff.