Review: Whistlepig Piggyback 100% Rye Aged 6 Years / by Jason Hambrey

6 Yrs; Charred Virgin Oak
100% Unmalted Rye
Distiller Alberta (Calgary, Alberta)

This is a whistlepig that didn’t really even touch Vermont where the farm is! It’s made in Alberta, imported, and bottled in New York. But, no matter - that is disclosed and Whistlepig knows how to select good rye. This rye is pot-distilled and is 6 years old.

Review (2021)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2021

What an amazing rich, spicy nose! I love it. Citrusy, spicy – but very earthy and herbal. Lots of charred oak, too. It really is a core expression of what Alberta pot still rye tastes like – so deep and complex and herbal. It’s unlike some of the other Alberta distillates – like the Canadian club 100% rye or the cask strength version which are dominated by this bright, candied fruit character. This is all the base notes, and I love it. It’s similar in profile to the other whistlepigs from Alberta or Masterson’s. What incredible spiciness!

Onto some quick  tasting notes – the nose has orange peel, oak, vanilla, caramel, baking spices, arugula, and light smoke. The palate is rich, with a huge backbone of oak, arugula, baking spice, watercress, orange peel, and pepper. The finish is sharp, with intense pepper fading to watercress, baking spice, and sweet oak.

This is some good pot still rye… obviously, I like this – it’s my favourite style of Canadian whisky – but how does it compare to some others like Masterson’s? It’s sharper and spicier – not as complex, subtle, or refined – but it packs a bit more punch in terms of sharpness. More caramel too – but you need a bit more of that with all the spice.

Terrific for the price – the list of whiskies like this under $50 in Ontario are quite slim. I love to sip as is, but this would do a nice trick in cocktails too.

Highly Recommended (50% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Very high at $45.