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Bhakta Drops First Rye Whiskey Since WhistlePig

Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey

WhistlePig founder Raj Bhakta has launched Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey, his first rye whiskey since departing the brand he started.

Bhakta Spirits has unveiled its inaugural rye vintage, Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey. The new offering finds the brand diving into the single vintage spirits market, which has until now remained a rare find outside of Armagnac.

Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey is a brash, spicy, and precise expression of the distillate of just one year’s harvest. After a decade of initial aging, this single vintage whiskey underwent a 75-day finish in Calvados casks. The barrels were selected from Château Bhakta’s “oldest-in-the-world collection.” Bottled at 107.6 proof and released at 10 years and 8 months of age, the rye carries a mash bill of 95% Rye and 5% Malted Barley MGPI.

Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey
2013 Straight Rye Whiskey

Raj Bhakta’s return to rye comes on the heels of his Vermont-based brand’s national launch of Bhakta 1928, a boundary-breaking blend of rye whiskey, XO Calvados, and four rare Armagnac vintages, including the nearly-100-year-old 1928 vintage.

“Rye was truly the spirit that started it all for me,” notes Bhakta. “Even after we exited WhistlePig, we knew we weren’t done with rye. And rye wasn’t done with us. Now we’re doing it again — but bigger, bolder, and better than we ever did it before. Single vintage, not an age statement. An entire college campus, not a decrepit farm. Same unstoppable belief in the barrels. And the same spirit of revolution.”

Much like WhistlePig Boss Hog expressions, Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey is animated by a creative cask finish—this time Calvados, which imparts complexity, depth, and richness to the rye’s flavor profile.

A golden orange in color, the whiskey offers aromas of vanilla, caramel, apple pie, and citrus. The palate is silk with flavors of pepper and nutmeg bursting through. The dry finish features mellow oak and rancio.

Located in Condom, France, Château Bhakta boasts the world’s most comprehensive collection of ancient spirits. Its oldest existing stocks were distilled during the reign of Napoleon III. Most recently known as Maison Ryst-Dupeyron, the château was erected during the late Bourbon Dynasty by an aristocrat who subsequently lost his head in the French Revolution. Bhakta acquired the property in 2019.

“True to its status as a single vintage spirit, Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey represents the next level of rarity, transparency, variability, and specificity that spirits lovers are seeking like never before,” notes Chief Minister of Spirits Sean O’Rourke. “The beauty of vintages is that no two releases are ever the same. I see this new ‘Drink Vintage’ revolution as bound to dethrone age statements in the status spirits segment.”

Just 800 cases of Bhakta 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey will be released and feature an SRP of $149. For more information, head over to the brand’s official website.