Way back in the spring, our spirits team consisting of Tom and Dylan, made the trek to rural Vermont in search of one thing and one thing only, monstrous rye whiskey. The WhistlePig farm is nestled in Shoreham, Vermont about 50 minutes south of Burlington. It is pretty much the only thing out there, pretty much devoid of anything else including cell service. Just cows, farms, and rye. This is the only place you can taste and select single barrels of their ten year rye whiskey. The catch is, they’re never really ten years old. They have to meet the minimum of ten to even be considered to be bottled. When our boys went out there, the farm was filled with 11.5 year old cask strength barrels to select from. It is pretty much the only ten plus year old cask strength rye whiskey on the market and they couldn’t just choose one barrel, they came home selecting two barrels, which just got here Friday. Let’s dive into the differences.
France 44 Single barrel: Cherry 116.6 Proof $87.99
The first thing they noticed were two barrels, both 116 proof that could not be different from one another. The first was bursting with big red cherry and caramel sauce tones that jumped out of the glass. It had a cinnamon clove spice in lieu of your classic herbal rye tones, having more baking spices. It is rounder, almost bourbon like. With a splash of water more caramel and fruit come out, and it is tailor made for a Manhattan. This was Tom’s winner.
France 44 Single Barrel: Butter 116.3 Proof $87.99
The second was just 0.3 proof lower which means 0.15% less alcohol, and totally opposite in style. These barrels lived different lives just 19 barrels apart in the same rickhouse. Number two is way more classic rye, showing big herbal tones balanced with vanilla cream and buttered apple fruit. Bigger and bolder on the edges as you’d expect for a rye of its caliber. Butter is best drank on its own but shines in an old fashioned or a Sazerac. This was Dylan’s winner.
The battle of the ryes! The difference between the two is astounding, and it jumps right out of the glass. They couldn’t choose between them, so they grabbed both while they could. I think it would be wise for our customers to come in and try them and tell us who you thought won. Only time will tell, and hopefully we’ll see you soon!