Monday, September 22, 2014

Wigle Rye Whiskey Review Batch # 1 - A Organic Approach to American Whiskey

Wigle Whiskey is distilled and bottled in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania at the Pittsburgh Distilling Company.  They are the first distillery to open in Pittsburgh since the 1920's, when the Joseph S. Finch's Distillery closed their doors.  Just opening in 2012, they have been able to put out a number of different whiskeys, including this young 12 month rye whiskey, which was chosen for this review. 

The company and whiskey is named after a pioneer of whiskey, Phip Wigle, a man who was also considered a Whiskey Rebellion in the 1700's.  According to the history books, Wigle was sentenced to hang for treason for his leadership in the Whiskey Rebellion, but was pardoned by George Washington.  This is also why the "g" in Wigle is being hung by a noose. 

Wigle is one of a few craft distilleries in the United States that produces every product they make from scratch and from local organic grain.  They refer themselves as a "grain-to-bottle" Distillery, which they mill the grains on-site the same day they start batching and distilling their whiskey in a traditional copper pot.

Taste Notes According to Wigle:

 This is one of America's few pot-distilled Rye Whiskeys. We believe it to be the spiciest, most robust rye on the market  in keeping with the traditional of Monongahela Rye.
In this batch, we have combined ten 15 gallon barrels of rye whiskey.  In aggregate, this whiskey has a high rye mash percentage (over 70% by weight!).  The rye fermented for approximately four days.  The rye beer was double distilled.  After the first distillation, the alcohol content of what is called the low wines was between 26% and 29% ABV.  To be Rye Whiskey, it must be distilled below 160 proof and stored in new charred oak barrels (Vodka, by comparison, must be distilled at or above 190 proof or 95% ABV).   Four of the 10 new charred oak barrels contained whiskey that had been distilled at a lower proof (i.e., below 150 proof).  These barrels provide a more full bodied mouth feel to the whiskey as they contained more higher alcohols.  After distillation, we diluted the whiskey to cask strength.  By law, most American whiskey must be barreled below 125 proof or 62.5% alcohol. The whiskey had for the most part been barreled at or around 120 proof or 60% ABV.  After approximately 13-14 months, we emptied the barrels through a coarse coffee filter to remove any large pieces of sediment that may have come from the barrel.  However, we did not otherwise filter this whiskey in any other way so as to preserve the greatest amount of its flavor -- we do not chill filter or run the whiskey through charcoal.  As a result, sediment or flocculation may occur if the whiskey sits for an extended period of time.  This appearance is harmless and will disappear with a good shake to the bottle (With the cork on!).   

Tastes Notes According to The Four Barrels:

Nose -  At first scent, you immediately smell the "raw"ness and youth of this rye, which according to the distillers notes, is doubled distilled.  With the brief age on this rye, the scent has not been developed through barrel mellowing.  We considered the nose to have a young ripe banana sent with sweet spices.  With a few more years, the nose will develop to characteristic fruit notes.

Taste - If you measured this rye solely by its smell, you would miss what the flavor has in store.  The taste of this young rye was very surprising and was smoother then we had excepted.  The whiskey is very smooth, carrying more flavor than one would think in a 12 month whiskey.  There are hints of maple and vanilla in each sip.  We noticed that most, if not all of the flavor hits towards the back of the pallet.  Very little to no burn was present through the tasting experience.

Finish - Smooth and clean with very list length sitting on the palate.

We would suggest to drink this neat.  

The Four Barrels Rating - 4 out of 5 barrels

Batch # 1

April 28th, 2014
789 Bottles
750 ml
42% ABV (84 Proof)

Grain & Mash
Grain Type                Origin                            % of Mash
Organic Rye               West Salem, OH                                 72%
Organic Wheat                Newfield, NY                                 18%
Organic 2 Row Malted Barley                  Chilton, WI                                    10%

Price - $49.99 - $54.99
Proof - 42% ABV, 84 Proof
Color - Light Amber
Age - 12 months


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