I'm from the Atlanta, Georgia, area, and I always appreciate it when a local company produces whiskeys. Since Shortbarrel is an Atlanta company that became a brand in July 2020, I was excited to try their Small-Batch Rye.
This rye is a blend of non-chill filtered MGP rye barrels blended to the specification of the three Shortbarrel owners, Adam Dorfman, Patrick Lemmond, and Clinton Dugan. WhistlePig, in contrast with Shortbarrel, is a well-known and long-established national brand. So, I thought it would be interesting to compare Shortbarrel Small Batch Rye 101 to WhistlePig 10 Year Straight Rye, which has a retail of about $15 more and received a 96 Points rating from Wine Enthusiast.
Tale of the Tape
Let's start with the tasting notes and product details of the two ryes as described by their respective distilleries.
Shortbarrel: Honey up front that fades into what an American Whiskey should be. Slight notes of caramel, apples, pepper, sweet corn and candy are in the background.
WhistlePig 10: Allspice, orange peel, anise, oak, char and caramel.
Shortbarrel: Oh, sweet honey, buttery popcorn, cinnamon spice, a "bit o honey" candy-like feel that keeps going, coating your mouth with a honey roasted cashew smile and a touch of warmth.
WhistlePig 10: Sweet; hints of caramel and vanilla, followed by rye spice and mint.
Shortbarrel: The long, rich, creamy, honey finish remains after the warmth is gone.
WhistlePig 10: Long finish; warm butterscotch and caramel.
Shortbarrel: 5 years min (blend)
WhistlePig 10: 10 Years
Shortbarrel: 101 proof
WhistlePig 10: 100 proof
Shortbarrel: Undisclosed (Rye blend)
I give the slight edge on the nose to WhistlePig 10 Year Rye once it's in the glass. After the nose, there is not much of a comparison.
Shortbarrel Rye DOMINATES WhistlePig 10. If you look at the color of both, you will see the difference.
While both are good in their own right, Shortbarrel Rye has a much thicker viscosity. Shortbarrel is simply creamier and richer. Also, you can taste the authentic rye flavor intermingled with the creamy caramel. WhistlePig is relatively thin on the palate and the finish. WhistlePig also has a much lighter feel.
On the finish, Shortbarrel Rye has a nice medium-length finish that is very, very warm and gives you a friendly hug all the way the esophagus down without any sharpness. The WhistlePig finish is like the rest of the experience, mild.
For full tasting notes, see Shortbarrel Rye and WhistlePig 10 Year Rye.