One evening, some time back, a few friends of mine invited me to a WhistlePig tasting. This was hosted at Savvi Provisions in Buckhead Atlanta, where we had the absolute pleasure of meeting Dave Pickerell; WhistlePig’s Master Distiller. Dave led the tasting, providing no shortage of interesting stories, humor, history, and salient tasting notes of the bourbon.
While that evening was certainly one to remember, what I wish to look at in this article is WhistlePig’s crowning achievement. The tasting group was not privy to trying WhistlePig’s finest bottle. However, my colleagues purchased a bottle each of WhistlePig Boss Hog IV: The Black Prince. It would be a few months later, when I found myself visiting my friend’s penthouse in Atlanta, looking at an opened bottle of Boss Hog.
Marcus Bearden, a friend whom I have known for the sum of nearly 15 years, was kind enough to share this magnificent bottle with me. Without further preamble, I want to get right into this experience. Suffice it to say that WhistlePig’s Boss Hog IV: The Black Prince, is hands down the best whiskey I’ve ever had.
● Mash: at least 51% Rye, aged in New Charred Oak Barrels
● ABV: 56%
● Proof: 112
● Age: 14 years
● Cask Type: New Charred American Oak, finished in Armagnac barrels
As seen pictured next to the 10 and 15 years, The Black Prince is noticeably darker in color. The liquor is like amber, with highlights of gold. By visual alone, I could tell it was going to yield a more robust flavor profile compared to 10 and 15yr, partially attributed to the fact that it finishes it’s aging in former Armagnac brandy casks.
I would find it surprising for even the intermediate whiskey drinkers to mistake The Black Prince for any other whiskey after being exposed to its wonderful bouquet of aromas. At the front of the nose, it has a subtly sweet scent. As you draw it in further, the whiskey opens up to a tapestry of full-bodied notes including well-rounded earthiness, powerful spices, elegant vanilla, a bit of oiliness, and herbaceousness.
Although The Boss Hog comes in at 56% abv, I wouldn’t be able to tell at the start of tasting it. That is to say that it starts off surprisingly gentle; the alcohol isn’t overpowering at all. As it encompasses your palate, it evolves into so many of the flavors that shine through in the aroma. It is elegant. It is sublime. The aftertaste is nearly immortal, lingering minutes after you’ve consumed the first sip.
In conclusion, this whiskey commands your patience. I found myself truly arrested, and hyper-aware of allowing plenty of time before returning to my glass. Many thanks to my friends Chad Massaker for inviting me to the original tasting at Savvi, and to Marcus Bearden for sharing his bottle.