Whistle Pig Boss Hog
Whiskey is all the rage now. Thank GOD. I was a fan of vodka for so long. I even bought into Oranj Stoli and some of the others like Black Cherry. I found that when I tried to infuse orange or lemon rind into the vodka myself, it tasted great for the first few days but after a week it became too bitter. So, I tried their other flavors like vanilla just for fun. Then it got out of hand. Cotton candy? Whipped Cream? Pumpkin? Wow.
Unfortunately no one saw this coming, especially in the 1990s when the Cosmopolitan and flavored martini revolution took off. Whiskey sales dropped, and of course production was halted in return. Who knew that true spirit lovers and cocktail enthusiasts would soon become so disgusted with the vodka circus that they would go in the other direction and start drinking whiskey, bourbon and rye? Well, no one apparently. It took a good 15 years before people started getting turned off and soon turned to naturally flavored spirits like whiskey. The problem is that whiskey takes time to age. By law, bourbon must be aged a minimum of 3-5 years. Vodka some out clear out of the still, never aged, and poured into a bottle. Whiskey must be put in a barrel when its clear and aged, and hopefully in several years, it comes out to be a fine spirit.
Now that whiskey is in such high demand, prices are also reflecting this supply and demand. At the same time, you will find liquor companies taking advantage of this and re-labelling bottles that were previously considered garbage. They give it a fancy new name, or a plain label like you might have seen in the old days of the west, and they will charge $10 more for it just to pay off the people that built up a false story behind it to sell the product. My favorite example is Jesse James. One of the most bad-ass outlaws of all time (his own friend and gang member was so afraid to kill him, but just for the money he shot him in the back during casual conversation), and all he gets a bottle of bourbon that sells for less than $20 and is only 80proof. Do you really think Jesse James was drinking this? Do you really think its worthy of his name? I’d expected something stronger and more flavorful than just a washed down version of some generic whiskey. I know Jesse James would not be picky about what he was drinking, but if you are going to put his name on it a hundred years later, at least try to live up to the legend.
Without doubt, Whistle Pig rye is the best I’ve ever tasted. And if I had to pic another favorite, it would be Lock, Stock & Barrel. They run neck and neck. So when it comes to choosing its easy, Whistle Pig is just as good, if not better, and half the price – no brainer right?
So now I come across a bottle of “Boss Hog” in a locked glass along side Willett Family Reserve and XCF. Now I am thinking, really? Once an affordable spirit is now boasting prices higher than Willett and Rip Van Winkle? Are they hopping on the bandwagon just to rake in more money (as if $70/bottle was not enough when stuff arguably just as good is available for half the price)? After talking with the sales person, he told me that they get far less of bottles of bottles like this and are more rare than of the Pappy Van Winkle.
Much of my job involves driving to various locations all over the tri-state area. When I see a liquor store and I have time, I stop in to take a look to see what they offer and compare pricing. I was astounded (and probably a bit naive) to find a bottle of Willett 9-year was priced at $170 in one “discount” store, $80 at another, and yet $95 at a different store in another county who overall offers better prices than the other two locations. Now, to be fair, prices will vary from town to town and county to county based on taxes alone. I once found a bottle of whatever priced at $5 more even though it was the same owner, same brand store, and less than 10 miles away. The clerk explained that it was tax codes, and that is what they had to charge to make a profit strictly based on location. I get that. However, I don’t get and won’t accept that a price of a single bottle varies from $80 to $180 per bottle. I know that if you get a rare bottle, like a rare concert ticket, there will be “scalpers” who will try to sell it for double the price and as much as 10 times the price. But when it comes to a licensed retail store, I expect a bit more consistency. Word to the wise, do your research prior to buying, unless $100/bottle does not matter to you.
So, after more investigation, I found this is the deal: They produce less than 3,000 bottles of this rye whiskey out of the barrel each year, uncut, which is why its so high in proof (61% alcohol/123proof). The rest is saved and stored for another year when they will later pour another limited amount of bottles and call it 13-year, repeating the process again and the next year it will be 14-year, 15-year, etc etc. I don’t know how long this will go on, but if Pappy Van Winkle can command $200 per bottle (much more if resold privately), why can’t this fine spirit get $175? From what I hear its even more rare. By comparison, 7,000 cases of Pappy is released each year. That would amount to over 90,000 bottles as compared to the 3,000 bottles of Boss Hog.
At this point, I have not yet tasted it, I am saving it for a very special occasion. I am told that taste of this blows away their standard rye, and that is saying a lot since Whistle Pig Rye earned 93 points and in my opinion is the best I’ve ever had.
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