WhistlePig Farms Is Not A Distillery In Vermont. It’s Canadian. Got That?
on 22/01/14 at 1:41 pmBooze News
There are two kinds of distillers: Those who distill whisky, and those who buy whisky. Usually, bottlers make no pretenses about selling whisky made by others. However, there are a few more mendacious types – fake distillers who pretend to make whisky – who divert attention from their deceitfulness with beautiful custom-designed bottles and labels, and marketing campaigns seemingly designed to mislead.
A smartly dressed young man was pouring WhistlePig rye at Whisky Live recently. I’ve been a fan of WhistlePig from the day in 2010 when it was released. Sure, I have several bottles at home but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for another wee sip. I savoured my sample, revisiting the big hearty full-bodied all-rye. Other than Masterson’s, it’s probably the best rye whisky on the market anywhere, today. The only puzzle? Why do the people who bottle WhistlePig insist on pretending that it’s American whisky when it isn’t?
WhistlePig is distilled in Canada, from 100% Canadian rye grain, then matured and blended in Canada. Dave Pickerell, the “distiller” they hired to find a source of good rye whisky has gone on record saying that Canada makes the best rye whisky in the world. And one blind tasting competition after another confirms Pickerell’s opinion. So, why are the bottlers of WhistlePig so evasive when asked about its origins?
“It’s made in Vermont,” the young man informs me.
“Actually it’s made in Canada,” I respond, helpfully. He’s young, perhaps he doesn’t know.
“Yes but, we grow our own rye.”
“Yes but you haven’t been around long enough to turn it into 10-year-old whisky.”
“Yes but we send the rye to Canada.”
A deliberate non sequitur – I roll my eyes.
“We’re building our own distillery next year.”
Super. So now we know that until 2024, at least, they will not have any home-distilled 10-year-old rye ready for bottling.
“Your latest release is 11 years old, right?”
“Yeah but we’re pouring the 10 tonight.”
“Great, I love it, can I have a taste?”
In a recent issue of The Bourbon Country Reader, Chuck Cowdery talks about the phenomenon of distilleries that consist of little else but a bottling machine and labeler. They buy other people’s whisky and pretend it’s their own. “This they [do] with varying degrees of guile,” Cowdery tells us. And, most importantly, “No one has converted their products from sourced to home made. No one.”