WhistlePig 21 Year Single Malt: The Béhôlden
WhistlePig 21 Year Single Malt: The Béhôlden is the first single-malt whiskey produced by WhistlePig. It was sourced from Canada’s Glenora Distillery, the oldest single-malt distillery in North America.
The whiskey has been aged for 21 years in American Oak ex-bourbon barrels before being finished for 4 weeks in WhistlePig 10 year rye barrels.1Robb Report Only 18 single barrels were released in Spring 2023, and each bottle carried an $800 MSRP.
It was packaged in a French-door wooden box.
Tasting notes provided by WhistlePig.
Sweet fruit notes that leads into scents of cinnamon.
Golden raisin, graham cracker and black cherry.
Solid oak with maple and praline, and a hint of smoke on finish.
If this is what we can expect from the vague North American single malt category, I’m here for it. This release certainly had it’s surprises, but I’m really happy to say that the most important part (read: how it tastes) didn’t disappoint… Even at the somewhat low proof-point of 92 proof (46% ABV) this delivered flavor in every way.
Is this a relatively unique and marginally exceptional experience? To be certain it is; I quite liked this whiskey. Is it also a whiskey I’m anxious to procure at the personal cost of $800? To be certain it is not, and therein lies the draw and also the drawback of WhistlePig’s high end expressions.
On one hand, the spice of the rye finish feels wildly out of place with a delicate single malt, and time in glass indeed helps that blow off first. On the other hand, the underlying malt turns out to be so sweet that, as soon as the rye is gone, you begin to miss it dearly. Maybe there’s a tipping point somewhere in the middle, but I never found it.
Overall, this is a surprise from top to bottom, and a pleasant one at that. Complex and full of flavor, this drinks great and hopefully marks the dawn of a new rabbit hole for WhistlePig.