February 28, 2015 – Whistlepig Rye will be releasing the first in its “Old World Series” of three wine cask-finished expressions in the coming days leading up to a new permanent expression this summer. The first release will be a 12-year-old Sauternes cask finish, with a 12-year-old Madeira finish and a 12-year-old Port finish to follow.
“By June, we’re going to release the first real line extension, and that line extension will be a married finish that combines the best of the Sauternes, Port, and Madeira,” said Master Distiller Dave Pickerell during an interview at Whisky Live New York Wednesday night. “I can’t tell you the percentages, because the percentages will be at least in part determined by the feedback from consumers and bartenders that taste the products.” While the final version will be widely available, the three individual finishes will only be available in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and other major US markets.
Listen to Mark Gillespie’s entire interview with Dave Pickerell:
Pricing for the three individual finishes was not immediately available.
Pickerell said construction work continues on the WhistlePig Farm Distillery in Vermont following final environmental approvals from the state. The stills are scheduled to be installed in June, and Pickerell hopes to begin distilling around July 4th. “I intend to celebrate with a marching band and fireworks,” he said.
WhistlePig is also updating its labels to reflect the whisky’s current Canadian origin at the request of the US Treasury Department’s Tax & Trade Bureau. Ironically, the TTB had earlier insisted that the Canadian origin be removed from WhistlePig labels once Pickerell’s team started doing secondary maturation at the farm in Vermont. “The government came back and said wait a minute, it’s not a product of Canada any more because the Canadian juice is now an ingredient, so take ‘Product of Canada’ off the label,” Pickerell said. “With all the fluff that’s been going on recently, the government came back and said, yeah, can you put Canada back on the label again…so it makes us look stupid.”
Pickerell is also working with Hillrock Estate Distillery in New York on a peated single malt that will be released later this year, and is also working with the J. Reiger & Co. Distillery in Kansas City. In addition, he will be making whiskey at George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon in Virginia later this month.