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Whistlepig ‘ups game’ with wine cask finishes

American whiskey brand Whistlepig is releasing four wine barrel-finished rye whiskeys as part of its Old World Series in an effort to “up the game” of the category.

The Whistlepig Old World Series aims to deliver a “full-bodied taste” that “ups the game” of the rye whiskey category

Master distiller Dave Pickerell has created limited edition Sauternes, Madeira and Port-finished expressions of its 95% rye whiskey, which have also been blended for a permanent bottling.

All three expressions have been matured in new American oak barrels for 12 years, before being finished for between 3-10 weeks in the wine casks.

The Vermont-based bottler has claimed to be the first to create a Sauternes-finished American whiskey, as well as a Madeira-finished rye.

Pickerell told The Spirits Business the Old World Series was created to establish Whistlepig as an innovative brand in the rye whiskey category.

“We wanted to show our leadership in the rye category and explore rye’s relationship to old world wine barrels,” he said.

“We want to up the game of rye whiskey. The Old World Series offers more variety within the category; we are tired of consumers having to leave American whiskey for a full-bodied taste.”

While the Sauternes cask is available in select US markets now, the Madeira finish will be available from the end of April, and the Port cask from May.

Just 1,000 cases of each bottling is available, although Whistlepig will launch a permanent blend of all three expressions in June.

All four bottlings will be available for an RRP of US$120.

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