Review: WhistlePig SmokeStock Whiskey
WhistlePig has always leaned towards a bit of irreverence in their exploration of whiskey expressions. Their 100% rye whiskeys have been well regarded as well as their special releases (despite their price tag). For this latest release, the company collaborated with Traeger grills, creator of the wood pellet grill, to create a BBQ themed whiskey. The whiskey is aged in Traeger grill smoked barrels, further describes:
WhistlePig SmokeStock Whiskey is aged in American Oak No. 3 char barrels and then smoked slow and low with Traeger’s all-natural Apple BBQ wood. The limited edition whiskey is further smoked during the proofing process to impart campfire smoke and subtle savory notes alongside WhistlePig’s signature bold and spice-forward style.
Let’s pour one out.
The nose is unusually muted, and it took a while for the leather polish and smoked wood chip notes to come through. There is barely any sweetness initially, although hints of fermented sour apple cider add some color to the leather. Eventually, a smoky barbecue sauce aroma emerges. I was so intrigued by this savory nose that it gave me pause to take a sip. What could possibly be in store for the palate? It turns out: All of the ambient scents of hovering over a smoky barbecue in the great outdoors. This literally tastes like you are poking and prodding and waving smoke away from your eyes over a wood-fired grill. Uncanny notes of sour-sweet tomato paste, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper ready to be applied to grilled meats are present alongside the indelible cloud of firsthand smoke. (While sipping, I even felt as if the smoke had gotten into my clothes.)
This is seriously a smoky barbeque in a glass, punched with familiar whiskey notes of oak and toasted grains, and unexpectedly mellow on the palate. What an experience — for better or worse. The motto for this release is “born to be sipped low & slow,” and I’d say they nailed that. At 83 proof, this is designed as a repeat all day (or all night) sipper, perhaps whiling away the hours waiting for that perfect smoked cut of meat to emerge for a devoted audience around a campfire. It’s a novelty whiskey that may feel outsized for any other occasion, but it’s uniqueness is reason enough to give it a try at least once, if you get the chance.
B / $73 / whistlepigwhiskey.com
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