By Richard Thomas
Last year, Pittsburgh’s Wigle Distillery turned five. One of the things they did last year to mark that anniversary was release a Bottled in Bond version of their Deep Cut Rye. Thus Wigle joins a broadening group of craft distilleries that have the kind of aged stock on hand to do a Bottled in Bond whiskey, thus adding to the continuing maturity of the movement.
Back in 2012, Wigle put some of its production into 53-gallon barrels. Despite being a Pennsylvania distillery, Wigle doesn’t follow the traditional state model of using loads of rye and no corn in making it’s whiskey. Instead, their mash is 65% rye and the rest corn and malted barley. Two of those barrels were dumped toward the end of 2016, having reached the statutory minimum of four years old for a Bottled in Bond whiskey, which was bottled at the mandated 100 proof.
The look of this whiskey is that orange-style amber that a proper rye whiskey should have. The swish and coat of the glass left me with a curtain of big, thick tears, and plenty of them.
The nose was squarely in rye territory: plenty of sweet, herbal spiciness, with spearmint and dill in particular coming forward, along with solid notes of vanilla and dry, toasty wood. On the palette, the sweetness became a current of dried stone fruits, while the spiciness became hotter, yet also more moderate at the same time. That aspect moved away from herbs, becoming more a mix of spearmint with hot, peppery cinnamon. Yet the sweet side and the vanilla balanced it out splendidly, so it wasn’t too dry or peppery.
The finish rolled out of that hot minty note that was present throughout, and as that faded away I was left with the vanilla.
At The Whiskey Reviewer, we’ve been able to watch the evolution of Wigle and it’s rye whiskeys to a certain extent. Our “rye guy” emeritus, S.D. Peters, declared their white rye the best unaged whiskey he had ever tasted, which spoke to having a good spirit to work with. However, in 2014 I found their Deep Cut Rye youthful and overpowering. With Deep Cut Bottled in Bond, the whiskey has mellowed and developed a nice, very enjoyable character. If your experience of ryes is with the MGP 95% rye and the Kentucky-style, 51% ryes, this falls squarely in between, standing as a well-balanced, personable, easy drinking whiskey.
A full-sized bottled goes for $75.