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Whistlepig debuts Piggyback Bourbon

Vermont-based whiskey producer Whistlepig has launched its Piggyback 100 Proof Bourbon, the ‘flip-side’ partner of its Piggyback 100% Rye.

Both Whistlepig Piggyback expressions are positioned as each other’s counterparts

Piggyback 100 Proof Bourbon is the independent brand’s first foray in the Bourbon category, having made a name for itself with its rye whiskey production since it launched in 2019.

Speaking to The Spirits Business, Whistlepig head blender Meghan Ireland noted: “We’ve always been big on innovation and trying new things at Whistlepig, and we’ve been experimenting with Bourbon for years. We always joke that a lot of places in Kentucky have a rye month, but we have Bourbon month up here [in Vermont], where we play with different Bourbon mash bills one month a year.

“Bourbon is something we’ve been playing with for years, but now we finally have the inventory and the blend that we think is 100% delicious and that we’re super proud of, and we’re excited to give it up to the world.”

The release is said to showcase Whistlepig’s bold approach to grain, age and ABV, with a sweeter spin. It is made with a corn-rye-barley trifecta, and includes a ‘super-high’ corn mash bill, seasoned with a dash of rye in a nod to Whistlepig’s roots.

The Bourbon is positioned as the requisite partner to the brand’s youngest rye to date, Piggyback 100% Rye, which launched last month.

The spirit has been aged in char #3 barrels to add layers of complexity before being bottled at 50% ABV. This allows the expression to differentiate itself from other ultra-premium Bourbons on the market that are often bottled at the 40%-47% ABV mark, the brand said.

Ireland continued: “For someone who is used to drinking Whistlepig Rye, this is significantly sweeter, just as a Bourbon would be, but we put a drop of rye in it so there’s a bit of spice at the end, as well as really nice vanilla and caramel notes. We’re super excited to get it out there.”

The whiskey has been created with bartenders in mind. “Drink whiskey the way you like to, there’s no wrong way,” said Ireland, “but this bottle was made to be the bartender’s best friend.”

Mitch Mahar, Whistlepig distiller added: “Bourbon is the charming counterpart to the bold and moody rye whiskey we know and love, but both have their spot on the back bar.”

With its sweeter profile, Piggyback 100 Proof Bourbon is said to shine in citrus and sour cocktails, and the brand recommends serving in a Barrel-Aged Maple Bourbon Sour, made with 60ml Whistlepig Piggyback 100 Proof Bourbon, 20ml Whistlepig barrel-aged maple syrup, 30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, two dashes of bitters, one egg white, and fresh orange peel or cherry for the garnish.

The Whistlepig Piggyback 100 Proof Bourbon Whiskey will be available via e-commerce sites in select markets across the US from 30 August. It will retail at RRP US$49.99 per 750ml bottle.

To celebrate the launch, Whistlepig is taking its Maple Sugaring Shack from Vermont across the country, pouring Whistlepig’s signature barrel-aged maple syrup cocktails in Austin, Dallas, Atlanta and Tampa through the autumn.

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