Inspired by Japanese-American biochemist Takamine Jōkichi, WhistlePig‘s The Boss Hog 六 Edition: The Samurai Scientist finds the award-winning brand’s straight rye whiskey finished in select Japanese umeshu barrels. For the limited release 120.5 proof liquor, WhistlePig partnered with Kitaya brewery on Japan’s Kyushu island. Kitaya produces sake, shōchū and umeshu, which is a flavorful liqueur made by steeping unripened ume fruits in sugar and alcohol. WhistlePig is the first American whiskey company to release such a finish.
WhistlePig sourced the unfinished whiskey from Canada. It had been distilled using the koji fermentation that Takamine-san invented and then aged for 16 years. The finishing process, in umeshu seasoned barrels, took place on the 500-acre WhistlePig Farm in Shoreham, Vermont—where it was then hand-bottled. The metal stopper pays homage to Takamine, who not only influenced the agricultural world, but also was the first scientist to ever isolate and purify the hormone adrenaline.
Prior to his death, WhistlePig’s acclaimed master distiller Dave Pickerell developed the Boss Hog collection (amidst the brand’s other portfolio offerings) to showcase the complex potential of the rye category. With this single barrel release, the sixth Boss Hog, Pickerell’s vision comes to life. Brown sugar and maple syrup aromas give way to bold, spicy and even umami flavors—all the way to charred oak finish. Conceptually, it’s exciting and arguably clever, and ultimately it simply tastes delicious.
The Samurai Scientist launched exclusive at Caskers in a now sold-out pre-sale. On 10 November, it will hit the market at $500 per bottle.
Images courtesy of WhistlePig