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Davin De Kergommeaux's Chat with WhistlePig's Raj Bhakta


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I found this pretty interesting:

http://whiskyadvocate.com/whisky/2014/03/19/a-revealing-chat-with-whistlepigs-raj-bhatka/

Especially this:

In any case, he is talking now, and is completely candid that the whiskey they are bottling today is still from the same single Canadian source, not five distilleries as Pickerell implies. “Yes, we’ve been growing our own grain,†he continued, “and we have been contracting others to distill it for us. We wanted to see how it turned out. That whiskey is currently maturing on the farm in Vermont, but it is not yet ready for release.†And the whiskey in the bottles? It’s still all Canadian rye whiskey, and will be for years to come.

So, which American distilleries are contract distilling 100 percent rye for WP?

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Harry in WashDC

I wonder if Davin's article in WA, which won't be out until Summer, will tell us. This posting certainly left me wanting additional info like: When's it likely WP will release its own rye products? I should live so long. :lol:.

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So, which American distilleries are contract distilling 100 percent rye for WP?

Well, they never said the contracted rye was 100% rye. MGP is the obvious choice. My understanding is you can bring them grains to use in your product, but I think it still has to be one of their standard mashbills. It could also be some of Pickerell's distillery clients. He has ties to a lot of distilleries at this point.

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True -- which is a question I hope Davin answers in the piece. What is this new stuff they're making? My guess is it will be something very different from the extant WP brands, since anything close to the standard 100 proof/100-percent rye mashbill will draw comparisons with their Canadian juice. And those comparisons probably won't be favorable.

And while you're right that the mystery producers could be anyone, I'd be sort of surprised if any of Dave's clients had the capacity and desire to contract distill (unless it's a very small amount), especially for a flashy NDP like WhistlePig.

Well, they never said the contracted rye was 100% rye. MGP is the obvious choice. My understanding is you can bring them grains to use in your product, but I think it still has to be one of their standard mashbills. It could also be some of Pickerell's distillery clients. He has ties to a lot of distilleries at this point.
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And while you're right that the mystery producers could be anyone, I'd be sort of surprised if any of Dave's clients had the capacity and desire to contract distill (unless it's a very small amount), especially for a flashy NDP like WhistlePig.

It sounded like they were just experimenting at this point; I figured the runs might be quite small, but Pickerell has a lot of contacts in general, so there are probably numerous possibilities.

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Sounds like the stuff they shovel out of horse stalls down on the farm. If anyone is curious though it would be easy to calculate. How many acres does WP have under cultivation?

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One of the two, either the owner or the "distiller", lacks credibility since one claims their current product distilled by a single source while the other claims it is distilled by multiple sources. They make it sound like all of their whiskey is produced by "homegrown" grain. I wonder if that is really true.

Edited by mbroo5880i
clarity
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One of the two, either the owner or the "distiller", lacks credibility since one claims their current product distilled by a single source while the other claims it is distilled by multiple sources. They make it sound like all of their whiskey is produced by "homegrown" grain. I wonder if that is really true.

Sounds like they may be comparing green apples and rotten oranges. My sense was that the multiple sources Pickerell notes are the "experiments" that are allegedly aging down on the farm may be made from local grain but what you get in the bottle now, and probably for a very long time to come, almost certainly is not. Unless you consider Canadian rye to be local! It is all still coming from a single source which is ADL.

But this snippet is not entirely clear on the point.

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When I talked to Dave in November, he said they were considering doing younger, limited-release bottlings of their own hooch to start building a bridge between the current ADL-sourced flagship and a new set of products. He made no commitment that that would happen, or give any more details, so take it for what it's worth.

Sounds like they may be comparing green apples and rotten oranges. My sense was that the multiple sources Pickerell notes are the "experiments" that are allegedly aging down on the farm may be made from local grain but what you get in the bottle now, and probably for a very long time to come, almost certainly is not. Unless you consider Canadian rye to be local! It is all still coming from a single source which is ADL.

But this snippet is not entirely clear on the point.

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TunnelTiger

Well they have already built their brand and they are just going to start putting younger stuff out there no matter the source.

I would also guess that when it reaches the shelf it won't be below $75 dollars a bottle.

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I wonder if a subscriber to the magazine can do me a small favor. Let me know if in the recent past, current issue, and/or the next one there is a full page spread for Whistlepig.

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I wonder if a subscriber to the magazine can do me a small favor. Let me know if in the recent past, current issue, and/or the next one there is a full page spread for Whistlepig.

I only have the current issue, but there are no WP ads.

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I wonder if a subscriber to the magazine can do me a small favor. Let me know if in the recent past, current issue, and/or the next one there is a full page spread for Whistlepig.

I checked the current and last issue (Spring and Winter) and didn't find any ads for them. In fact, the only picture I saw that appeared to include their products was a fan snapshot of their stash on the top right of page 155 in the Winter 2013 issue. This is pretty surprising to me because I thought: of course they would advertise there, everyone does. Even the Ron Burgundy stuff has an ad in the Spring issue.

In any event, the topic is genuinely interesting and people have said good things about their whiskey, although I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. I don't think the preview of the article indicates any sort of inappropriate influence. It seemed to have a neutral fact-oriented tone and it left me with a neutral impression of their operations.

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I wonder if a subscriber to the magazine can do me a small favor. Let me know if in the recent past, current issue, and/or the next one there is a full page spread for Whistlepig.

Not satisfied with Lew's rebuff of your supposition, eh? :cool:

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In any event, the topic is genuinely interesting and people have said good things about their whiskey . . .

That's because it is good whisky, ADL makes good Rye whisky. WP didn't make it so and if it were not for the internet WP would still be trying to pass it off as "theirs" which is technically true in that they briefly owned it before repackaging and selling it to us.

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Not satisfied with Lew's rebuff of your supposition, eh? :cool:

Just saw that. :slappin:

"sonny", brilliant!

Every specialty publication ever known has made the claim that advertising sales have nothing to do with editorial content. Perhaps, but without the ads the mags don't exist, and companies don't like to place glossy photos of their products next to negative content about same, you do the math!

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JohnHansell
Every specialty publication ever known has made the claim that advertising sales have nothing to do with editorial content. Perhaps, but without the ads the mags don't exist, and companies don't like to place glossy photos of their products next to negative content about same, you do the math!

Portwood, I created this publication 22 years ago, and the rule I established from Day 1 is that advertising and editorial are 100% independent of each other. A magazine doesn't survive and continue to grow for two decades by being corrupt; It survives on integrity and respect.

You don't know anything about me, but you hide behind a false name and accuse me of something I have never done. It's not only sad, it's very hurtful. You attack my character, and I pride myself in being honest and doing the right thing.

Am I perfect? Far from it, but based on your false accusations, neither are you. At least I admit when I am wrong, lean from it, and endeavor to be a better person in the future.

We often get queries from potential advertisers, asking us to write about them if they advertise, because they tell us that other drinks magazines make these promises. Our answer is, and always has been, the same: "No. Take your business elsewhere." If anything it make me want to write about them less, because I don't respect them.

To further separate myself from even the appearance of impropriety, five years ago I made it a policy to no longer accept corporate press trips. If I want to visit a distillery, I pay my own way. No other full-time whisky writer has done this over the past five years.

So, before you make accusations, do your homework first.

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A magazine doesn't survive and continue to grow for two decades by being corrupt; It survives on integrity and respect.

Likewise for a business selling whiskey.

I have decided Whistlepig and its principals have no integrity and do not deserve my respect. Therefore, I will not buy their products. Others are free to make up their own minds and do whatever they want with their money. If enough people have a different opinion from mine, WP will not only survive but prosper.

I have also decided that publications that depend on advertising do not add enough value for me to pay for their content, regardless how well respected they are. Others are free to make up their own minds and do whatever they want with their money. The more people that have a different opinion from mine, the more subscribers you will have.

The beauty of the situation is that I don't need anyone on whiskey boards to respect me - I have nothing to sell to them. If I'm disrespectful to anyone, the mods will cut off my access. If things I say make no sense people will shout me down or ignore me. Either way, I disappear. OTOH, if my "accusations" have merit, people will discuss them further. If I'm wrong on this one, people will tell me so, and that will be that!

On your attack of my anonymity, same old ____, different day. Unlike you, I don't work in the booze business. Outside of a very small circle of people, alcohol consumption is not a topic for conversation - quite the opposite. At the moment, my job is relatively secure. However, if for some reason I were to go looking for another job, prospective employers are smart enough to use google. No matter how smart I may (or may not) sound in my rants, any prospective employer would be dumb to take the risk hiring me - I probably would think the same. So, despite the attacks from people that have decided openness is not detrimental to them, I'll remain anonymous.

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TunnelTiger
Likewise for a business selling whiskey.

I have decided Whistlepig and its principals have no integrity and do not deserve my respect. Therefore, I will not buy their products. Others are free to make up their own minds and do whatever they want with their money. If enough people have a different opinion from mine, WP will not only survive but prosper.

PW - I for one am in total agreement with this position. Other than a poor product (and this not) nothing turns me off faster than a lack of integrity or arrogance which to me WP has a double dose of.

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Others are free to make up their own minds and do whatever they want with their money.

Quite so, accordingly I've decided to renew my subscription to Whiskey Advocate.

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TunnelTiger
Quite so, accordingly I've decided to renew my subscription to Whiskey Advocate.

Well that's all the recommendation I need to start my initial subscription!

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Quite so, accordingly I've decided to renew my subscription to Whiskey Advocate.

I'd drink to that, if only you weren't hiding behind anonymity. :slappin:

Edited by portwood
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Likewise for a business selling whiskey.

I have decided Whistlepig and its principals have no integrity and do not deserve my respect. Therefore, I will not buy their products. Others are free to make up their own minds and do whatever they want with their money. If enough people have a different opinion from mine, WP will not only survive but prosper.

I have also decided that publications that depend on advertising do not add enough value for me to pay for their content, regardless how well respected they are. Others are free to make up their own minds and do whatever they want with their money. The more people that have a different opinion from mine, the more subscribers you will have.

The beauty of the situation is that I don't need anyone on whiskey boards to respect me - I have nothing to sell to them. If I'm disrespectful to anyone, the mods will cut off my access. If things I say make no sense people will shout me down or ignore me. Either way, I disappear. OTOH, if my "accusations" have merit, people will discuss them further. If I'm wrong on this one, people will tell me so, and that will be that!

On your attack of my anonymity, same old ____, different day. Unlike you, I don't work in the booze business. Outside of a very small circle of people, alcohol consumption is not a topic for conversation - quite the opposite. At the moment, my job is relatively secure. However, if for some reason I were to go looking for another job, prospective employers are smart enough to use google. No matter how smart I may (or may not) sound in my rants, any prospective employer would be dumb to take the risk hiring me - I probably would think the same. So, despite the attacks from people that have decided openness is not detrimental to them, I'll remain anonymous.

Wow, you accuse WA of trading editorial content for ad buys, John calls you in it to set the record straight and you don't apologize?

Moving the goalposts in your response is typical internet stuff, but overall that's pretty sad IMO.

Edited by callmeox
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I'd drink to that, if only you weren't hiding behind anonymity. :slappin:

Actually Squire is my real name as several hundred of my acquaintances can easily testify. I've never had a need for an internet cognomen.

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