We know that whiskey tasting is more art than science. We know that the context matters, suggestibility is rampant, subjectivism hides behind every corner. There is no way to correct for every variable. One thing is certain, however. Every whiskey tastes great when you’re enjoying it in the company the distiller, eating pork sliders, rubbing shoulders with the glitterati, and cooling oneself off by licking the flanks of a massive ice sculpture.
So this raises a fascinating question: how would the Boss Hog fare when we subject it to our normal tasting protocols? These protocols, I should remind our readers, were once lauded by none other than Consumer Reports as “apogee of risibility, the apex of tartuffery.” Under such rigorous testing, would the Boss Hog continue to impress?
The answer is yes. The nose is a hecatomb of pecan pies baked to honor a nameless god. Then a lemon grove with trees rooted in coffee grounds. Whole meadows of wildflowers aspiring to become wax-wrapped hard candies. A dell of amanita muscaria mushrooms eaten tenderly by penuche reindeer, who then prance around on their back hooves to imitate satyrs. Delicious, candy satyrs.
The mouth is a gunpowder-dusted caramels. Or perhaps it’s better to say that it is salted cubes of C4 explosive. My eyes widen in the manner of an anime character surrounded by rainbows and shooting stars. For I am anticipating the classic rye bite at the center of the mouth. But this is nothing like the aggressive dentition of those dusty, floor-level rye whiskies of yore. No, the bite here is that of your lover on your ear: soft and warm, yet redolent with purpose. Think of the activity of the most unusual menthol in your mouth, but with taste of tree syrup obtained by false promises from a magical forest.
The finish brings more surprises. You expect the power of this whiskey to explode, or at the very least to bring jagged prison shivs to your throat. But instead there is improbable smoothness, like the beautiful waves on a Moog synthesizer, as if it were capturing the pulsing, infrasonic rhythm of the harmony of the spheres. On the open, the flavor settles into an approximation of orange chocolates, wood resin, and caramel. The palate pans back to take in the grove, meadow, and dell from a panoptic vantage point. This is the transcendental effect of such a fine spirit.
The WhistlePig Boss Hog, 2014 Edition: The Spirit of Mortimer is this guy–What relish! What gusto! What a healthy diet! And he’s blissfully unaware that he’s been supplanted by a hog (no disrespect to Mortimer, of course).
–Our thanks to Gregory Gatti and WhistlePig for the sample!