Pork Wars (WhistlePig 16 Year Picks – May the Pig Be With You & The Pork Strikes Back)

American Whiskey Review #96 & 97: Pork Wars (WhistlePig 16 Year Picks – May the Pig Be With You & The Pork Strikes Back)

Images Credit to the Earl the Thirsty Frenchie and Ray’s Wine & Spirits.

Distillery: Alberta Distillers

Region: Canada

Price: Samples courtesy of /u/pwnedapanda


In celebration of the Fourth of May, I have some appropriately themed WhistlePig picks from Ray’s Wine & Spirits. They are both 16 year old whiskies that were distilled on or around May 4th. So who has the better whisky? Does the Rebel scum Alliance and their Pig have what it take to topple the might of the Pork Empire? Let’s find out.


American Whiskey Review #96: WhistlePig 16 Year Ray’s Select May the Pig Be With You (2004)

Age: 16 Year. Distilled on May 4th, 2004. Bottled in July 2020.

ABV: 52.80%

Color: 1.5, Auburn/Polished Mahogany.

Nose: (according to the wife) Caramel, candied walnuts, and black sugar are the main notes here. There is a fairly spicy element to it all, as in chili pepper spices and not the usual baking spices from a rye.

Palate: It’s quite hot and it takes a decent amount of water to get this to a drinkable state. It’s very oak heavy. Baking spices, menthol, and a little bit of brown sugar is what I get.

Finish: Fairly short. Eucalyptus is quite present along with the cardboard-y goodness that is the marshmallows in Lucky Charms. The finish is a tad bitter as well.

Conclusion: This one is a little bit of a miss for me. The nose is a tad simplistic, though perhaps the best part of this. It does come across as slightly over-oaked, which is a first for me in a WhistlePig. The most memorable note in all of this is the cardboard-y Lucky Charms marshmallows, but that probably isn’t the note you want to be remembered by. All in all, certainly drinkable but not one I’d be looking to reach for.

Final Score: 74.


American Whiskey Review #97: WhistlePig 16 Year Ray’s Select The Pork Strikes Back (2004)

Age: 16 Year. Distilled on May 1st, 2004. Bottled in December 2020.

ABV: 52.45%

Color: 1.5, Auburn/Polished Mahogany.

Nose: (according to the wife) The wife audibly went “yummmmmmmm” when she started smelling this. It’s a bit of a dessert bomb with caramel, dolce de leche, and cinnamon rolls heavily covered in vanilla icing.

Palate: Much like it’s partner, this is a tad hot at full strength. Thankfully it only takes a drop or two to cool this one down. Vanilla icing and caramel are the first notes out of the gate. You get a fairly bread-y note, something that reminds me of a marble rye bread but a bit sweeter than they tend to be. A hint of muscat grapes finishes things off.

Finish: Long. It’s fairly cooling with menthol and mint being the main notes. It’s sweet with sugar coming through. Baking spices do make a bit of an appearance, though they are a little more subdued than usual, in the form of clove and nutmeg.

Conclusion: This is the most dessert heavy rye I’ve had so far. The usual notes of baking spices don’t make much of an appearance, but are instead replaced by some really tasty sweets. The nose is like walking into a dessert shop with the amount of sweets that come through. The palate isn’t as sweet, with a little bit of marble rye bread to keep things in balance. The finish is excellent with the cooling notes from menthol and mint. All in all, a really nice WhistlePig

Final Score: 83.


Final Thoughts: Looks like there is a very clear winner this go around. The “May the Pig Be With You” has a little more of the traditional rye notes with big baking spices but seems to suffer from being a tad over-oaked somehow. “The Pork Strikes Back”, despite being in the cask slightly longer, somehow comes out being a bit of a dessert delight. It’s different than the traditional rye notes but I find myself wishing I had a more. In the end, everything is balanced in the universe and, as always, the Empire did nothing wrong.

American Whiskey Review #96 & 97, Rye Review #16 & 17, Whisky Network Review #408 & 409


Scoring Legend:

  • 96-100: The perfect dram, nectar of the gods.
  • 90-95: Near perfect, there is something truly special about this whisky.
  • 85-89: Amazing, will always try to keep a bottle of this in my collection (if feasible).
  • 80-84: Very Good, maybe only one minor nitpick about the whisky keeping it here.
  • 75-79: Good, quite enjoyable to drink.
  • 70-74: Solid, wouldn’t go out of my way to get it.
  • 60-69: Meh, still drinkable.
  • Below 59: If you have a bottle of this, start cooking with it instead.

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