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Raj Bhakta releases 10YO rye whiskey

US-based Bhakta Spirits has unveiled Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey, marking its founder’s return to the category since leaving WhistlePig in 2016.

The whiskey has a mash bill made up of 95% rye and 5% malted barley

The company was founded by Raj Bhakta and offers a portfolio of luxury, limited and vintage releases, ranging from whiskies to rums and Armagnacs.

Bhakta also founded Vermont-based distillery WhistlePig in 2007, but has since left the distillery.

The new expression was matured for 10 years and eight months, and then finished for 75 days in Calvados casks from France, which are said to give the rye added ‘complexity, depth, and richness’.

The whiskey has a mash bill made up of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. Its notes are said to bring vanilla, caramel and apple pie to the nose, while on the palate, pepper and nutmeg can be identified with a mellow oak and rancio finish.

“Rye was truly the spirit that started it all for me,” Bhakta said of his return to the category. “Even after we exited WhistlePig, we knew we weren’t done with rye. And rye wasn’t done with us. Now we’re doing it again — but bigger, bolder, and better than we ever did it before.

“Single vintage, not an age statement. An entire college campus, not a decrepit farm. Same unstoppable belief in the barrels. And the same spirit of revolution.”

The 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey has an ABV of 53.5% and retails for US$149. There are 4,800 bottles of the expression available.

Bhakta Spirits’ chief minister of spirits, Sean O’Rourke, added: “True to its status as a single vintage spirit, Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey represents the next level of rarity, transparency, variability, and specificity that spirits lovers are seeking like never before.

“The beauty of vintages is that no two releases are ever the same. I see this new ‘drink vintage’ revolution as bound to dethrone age statements in the status spirits segment.”

Last year, Bhakta’s 013 Bourbon received a Gold medal at our 2023 American Whiskey Masters blind tasting.

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