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Pappy Van Winkle 15 vs Whistlepig 15: Which Wins?

Is Whistlepig as good as the revered Pappy Van Winkle? Discover the differences between Pappy Van Winkle 15 vs Whistlepig 15 in this comparison!

Pappy Van Winkle’s 15 Year Family Reserve

NoseCherry, honey, baking spice.
PalateVanilla, brown sugar, red fruit, chocolate
FinishToasty oak, cinnamon, brioche bread
Alcohol content107 proof (53.5% ABV)
How to drinkNeat

The nose is filled with sweetness, rich in cherry notes, honey and fine spice.

On the palate this bourbon explodes in rich flavors off the gate with great depth: notes of vanilla, brown sugar and chocolate.

Pappy 15 is incredibly tastyperfectly rounded, with an amazing mouthfeel, not insanely complex but with not a harsh or bitter element; this thing is a delicious dessert on glass.

Finish is flavorful, full of lingering sweet notes, a pleasant oaky note and with the right amount of heat. After tasting this bourbon I get why people have in such high regard Pappy Van Winkle’s releases.

This is the best 15 year old whiskey and the best Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, so you get an idea how good it is.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Pappy 15:

  • Pappy’s mash bill is unknown as the distiller does not disclose the amounts of grains used in the mix. What we know is that this bourbon has a fair amount of wheat content providing a delicious bready flavor.
  • Pappy is aged for 15 in charred new American oak barrels.
  • This whiskey is a real small batch offering as it is released twice a year, the main allocation in October/November then a bit in the spring.
  • Pappy Van Winkle is crafted at the Buffalo Trace Distillery located in Frankfort, KY.

Whistlepig 15 Estate Oak Rye

NoseOak, vanilla, leather
PalateCaramel, floral, rye spice, vanilla
FinishLong, oak, tobacco, cardamom
Alcohol content92 proof (46% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks

This is one of the few Rye Whiskeys made from a mash entirely made from rye grain; most are made using a mere 51%.

Nose is quite interesting as it offers the oaky and leathery notes commonly found in long aged Scotch whisky.

The palate is sweet, rich in honeysuckle (honey-floral, perfumed flavor) up-front with a rich rye spice hit mid-palate. Soft mouthfeel carries a slow and pleasing warming effect.

The finish is rich in toasty oak, tobacco and fine spices with little to no burn.

Overall, the Whistlepig 15 is enjoyable, easy to sip, has an interesting and tasty flavor profile although a bit too sweet and floral but an improvement over the 12 YO nonetheless and most importantly the best Whistlepig whiskey.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Whistlepig 15:

  • Aged for 15 years in three types of casks: new, charred American oak barrels; former bourbon barrels; and new, charred Vermont white oak.

  • Vermont oak has a tight grain pattern supposedly delivering more depth and flavor to the whiskey.

  • The white oak is grown on Whistlepig estate in Shoreham, VT.

  • Earned 97 Points from the Wine Enthusiast.

  • Whistlepig was created in 2006 by Master Distiller Dave Pickerell who worked for Maker’s Mark for 14 years and Raj Bhakta, an American entrepreneur, political candidate, and former reality show contestant; in 2004 was a contestant in the second season of The Apprentice.

Pappy 15 vs Whistlepig 15: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Pappy Van Winkle’s 15 Year Family Reserve$1,700
Whistlepig 15 Estate Oak Rye$250

Pappy Van Winkle 15 vs Whistlepig 15: Which is better?

Pappy 15 is the best Pappy and the best 15 YO Whiskey

WhiskeyPappy 15Whistlepig 15
  • Pappy 15 is not only better than the Whistlepig 15, but the best spirit aged for 15 years on the planet. I was skeptical at first about Pappy thinking it was just a hyped dram but after tasting it I can safely say that Pappy is the real deal.

  • Is it worth that much? That’s tough to answer but If you can get your hands on it rest assured that you will be drinking a heck of a dram.

  • The Whistlepig 15 is good and the best release from this brand, IMO. A bit too sweet and floral but it makes a good pour and a good option for those fond of rye spice blasts.

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