We gave 10 Members a shot at Whiskey heaven: an invitation to a blending session on the private WhistlePig estate.
The mission? Blending the perfect Whiskey: a brand new, bespoke WhistlePig blend, for the Flaviar fam. You rose to the challenge, and the outcome was delicious (prepare to be delighted).
We’re still basking in the glory of this WhistlePig adventure…and while we all wait for our Whiskey to be bottled and ready, here's a throwback to that fantastic fall weekend in Vermont.
In 2007, Whiskey visionary Raj Bhakta set out to create the ultimate farm-to-bottle Rye: a “Triple Terroir.” This means they grow their own rye, distill their own Whiskey, and age it in barrels made from oak trees grown on their farm. They even have a custom char, giving their Whiskey an even more unique fingerprint.
Simply put, Whistlepig is quite possibly developing the best farm-to-bottle Rye out there, making them the perfect accomplice to carry-out our mission...a collaboration of cosmic proportions.
Noted we didn’t blend this kind of juice (their grain-to-glass triple threat is still in the process of developing), but our blend is still cut from the same stock as the WhistlePig greats. Our juice for the blend was made elsewhere, and aged in ex-European barrels onsite at WhistlePig.
October in Vermont was an autumnal masterpiece as we descended onto the enchanting 150-year-old dairy farm (one that conjures thoughts of Charlotte’s web, with its giant red barn, and lovably charismatic pigs), a farm-to-bottle paradise, nestled in the heart of Shoreham, Vermont. Miles from the noise of the world, on a bright sunny day on 500 acres of rolling countryside bliss, where Mangalitsa pigs, sheep and horses peacefully graze as farmers cultivate oats, barley, maple syrup and an array of vegetables in a rambling garden…la vie en rose, aka the perfect setting for our Whiskey to be born.
To master the art of blending your own Whiskey, one needs a good palate, and an even greater apprenticeship.
And so our journey began with an afternoon stroll around the distillery grounds with the Master Alchemist himself: Dave Pickerell...Whiskey whisperer. After the goosebumps subsided, we got ourselves acquainted with Sir “Churchmill” the distillery’s beloved mill, named affectionately after Raj Bhakta’s personal hero, Winston Churchill.
Fun Fact: Even the piglet in the WhistlePig logo is designed to resemble him. Then it was on to the main event…the WhistlePig Master Class.
Rustic tables were lined with stunningly elegant wood finished blending kits provided by our gracious hosts. The ultimate DIY, everyone got to work creating a customized version of WhistlePig signature "Old World Rye,” a blend of Rye Whiskeys finished in different European Wine casks.
Putting their Whiskey IQ’s to the ultimate test, 10 Members turned Master Blenders as they tasted their way through a series Port, Madeira, and Sauternes finished Rye blends, guided by the ultimate judge: the palate.
The competition heated to a simmer as each blender executed the subtlest alchemy, meticulously adding to their mixtures, writing down the perfect ratio of the components down to the very last drop. Only one blend would triumph. One Rye to rule them all.
(P.S. the key to a good WhistlePig Rye? They say a base of either Madeira or Sauternes, with no more than 20% Port…that’s the sweet spot.)
After blending ourselves into oblivion, it was time for some good old R&R to clear our heads and palates before voting on the winner. Happy Hour and more tours followed before we were treated to a splendid candlelit family feast in the great room - an elegant hall, with airy wood beam ceilings and a colossal cozy fireplace.
With the onset of some serious after-dinner comas, followed by several tasty digestifs…we got down to some really important business. Who would be crowned WhistlePig champion? Which blend would triumph?
The winner would be determined by a points ranking system. We rounded up all 10 samples, and individually chose our top two blends, ranking the best of the best with two points, and the second best with one point. Of course this was no easy decision, but in the end our winner was clear.
We discovered a Whisky whisperer in our midst, a man who conjured a special bespoke blend fit to share with the entire Flaviar family…the mastermind behind the magic? Newly minted Master Blender Scott.
The good times rolled on into the night, as we ventured outside for some fresh air, and a special treat. Sitting ‘round a crackling fire, beneath a twinkling moonlit sky, stuffing ourselves with loads of fluffy, gooey toasted marshmallows, Dave Pickerell appeared from the darkness, casual strolling towards our sea of ember-lit faces with a single bottle in tow...The Magnum Opus: The Boss Hog Black Prince.
The 14-year-old Armagnac-finished pièce de résistance crowned the best Whiskey in the world. Only one barrel of it is produced every year, and we got to taste it with Dave Pickerell.
At the end of our day of magic, wonder, and Whiskey, our incredibly hospitable hosts led us to our cozy abode for the night to get some much needed beauty rest. We felt quite at home in the quaint, rustic farmhouse.
After a sleepover in the WhistlePig guesthouse in our cozy bedrooms, and a delicious homemade breakfast in the kitchen of the guesthouse, the time had come for us to say farewell...
It had been an incredible journey getting acquainted with WhistlePig distillery, blending the perfect Whiskey, sipping cask strength nirvana on the sacred ground where it was made, chillin’ next to the genius who created it. We hope our Members enjoyed the experience as much as we did. Judging by the response below, we think they had a pretty ok time...
—Mike; Flaviar Member
"The event was an all in one event for a great weekend getaway. Not only was the experience fun with plenty of food and drinks, you also get to learn something along the way. Couldn't have asked for a better experience."
—Cici; Flaviar Member
"The Whistlepig Master Class was already a bucket list item for me. Flaviar exceeded my expectations for this trip in every way!"
—Kenneth; Flaviar Member
"Wonderful experience learning about and drinking the finest rye there is."
—Justin; Flaviar Member
And we would conclude our adventure with a storybook ending to a perfect trip, the “happily ever after” to our Flaviar fairytale: an incredible, bespoke Old World WhistlePig Blend, made especially for our Members. And we cannot wait to unveil this masterpiece to you. Stay tuned...