I'm a big fan of Dave Pickerell and had an amazing visit with him here in Wisconsin at one of his last appearances before his untimely death. If you're unaware, Dave was the mighty force behind WhistlePig as its Master Distiller. He didn't really do the distilling, though. That job belonged to Rick Murphy of Alberta Distillers.
Alberta? Like Canada? You betcha! WhistlePig sources its whisky from our northern neighbor, ages it in Vermont, and fully discloses that. WhistlePig does have an operating distillery with a copper pot still designed by Dave.
"WhistlePig began when we purchased our farm in 2007. After a few years of deep consideration and personal reflection we committed ourselves to crafting the world’s finest and most interesting Rye Whiskeys... [We] discovered and purchased an incredible stock of 10-year-old blending Whiskey in Canada that was being profoundly misused. That initial stock, for which we are forever grateful, is what kicked off our grand adventure." - WhistlePig
Today I'm reviewing PiggyBack 6. As the name suggests, it carries a six-year age statement. PiggyBack starts with a 100% rye mashbill from Alberta. It is aged in new, charred oak barrels to follow the American Rye whiskey regulations. It is also certified kosher. Bottled at 96.56°, you can expect to pay about $50.00 for a 750ml package.
I acquired my sample at The Malt House, a local bar located in Madison. That explains the less-than-interesting photo, but the whole #DrinkCurious thing applies nonetheless. Let me get started.
Appearance: Served neat in my Glencairn glass, PiggyBack presented as pale gold in color. It made a thin rim that created a curtain of legs that crashed back into the pool of liquid sunshine.
Nose: Aromas of citrus, cinnamon, and caramel were fairly easy to pick out. When I brought the fumes into my mouth, a wave of vanilla flowed over my tongue.
Palate: With a silky, medium-bodied mouthfeel, the first flavors I tasted included rye spice and cocoa powder. The middle was soft leather, and the back offered oak, vanilla, and white pepper.
Finish: Medium in length, the oak and white pepper carried through, and vanilla was swapped out with cinnamon spice.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: As much as I respected (and still do) Dave, as much as I recognize his amazing talent, at the end of the day, PiggyBack is still a nondescript Canadian whisky that has been aged in the United States. If I was at a friend's house and was offered a pour, I'd drink it. But, I don't see myself laying down money for a bottle. Someone newer to Rye whiskey may find this very approachable. Because of that, I'm giving it a Bar rating. Cheers!
My Simple, Easy to Understand Rating System
- Bottle = Buy It
- Bar = Try It
- Bust = Leave It
Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.