In late June, Vermont-based WhistlePig came out with 12 Year Old WhistlePig Old World. This whiskey is the final result of an experiment beginning in spring 2014, during which WhistlePig finished a 12-year-old-rye whiskey distilled in Indiana in former Sauternes, Madeira and Port barrels. Each one of these were first released as limited edition, single cask type expressions, and what’s in bottle here is a marriage of those three.
It’s an experiment that’s worked well for WhistlePig, as The Old World Series won the 2015 Double Gold Award for best rye at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. It comes from a mash of 95% rye and 5% malted barley, and as for the blend of the three cask types, brings them together into a harmonious three-way offering that’s 30% Sauternes, 63% Madeira and 7% Port.
The colour is light, reminding me of a fine clover honey. The nose brings slight vanilla, caramel and apple cider. (I couldn’t help but exclaim, “It smells like enchantment!”) I often find rye a bit abrasive, but that’s not the case with the Old World. It’s smooth on the palate, being both easy and a little buttery. Even though Port is represented the least in this trio, I picked up some of the raisin flavuor that I get with it.
To summarise, it’s extremely potable and finishes delightfully.