By Richard Thomas
Pittsburgh’s popular Wigle Distillery made more of their Deep Cut Rye as part of their Tax Day release (appropriately enough, since the distillery is named for a Whiskey Rebellion figure). This April 2014 installation of the Monogahela Small Cask Series rye whiskey is made from an all-organic mashbill, aged for at least twelve months and bottled at a whopping 58.8% abv (117.5 proof) in a 375 ml and 750 ml bottles.
Wigle’s whiskey comes in squat, rounded clear glass bottles with wood and plastic stoppers, when combined with the label makes for a nice, modern presentation.
In the glass, the liquid has a clear, middle amber appearance, striking a lovely balance between red and brown. When I went to nose it, I found it far too harsh and alcoholic to work with, at least in my snifter. So, I reached for a capful of water, and that brought things under control. The scent was earthy, a little oaky, and rich with rye spice, tinged with barn-dried tobacco and red licorice.
The flavor was spicy, very spicy and leaning towards peppery. The note of oak was pleasant, but the whiskey also had a strong note of dry, toasty wood that was just across the astringency line. Contrasting with the big, bold, kicking flavors, the finish was actually quite light. It lingered on and on with only a little warmth and a light tobacco leaf aftertaste.
My feeling about this whiskey is that it was bottled at too high a proof for its degree of small barrel aging. I can see where it has very good roots, what with its big strokes character, but it’s either too young, too strong, or a little of both. The more water I added, the more rounded out the whiskey became, but I don’t buy high proof whiskey to add a couple of big splashes of water. I prefer a few drops at most, if even that. On the other hand, I can see where this Wigle rye’s potent flavors might have bountiful applications in cocktail-making.
Wigle Deep Cut Rye goes for $36 for a 375 ml and $65 for a 750 ml bottle.