Review: WhistlePig The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song Is One Of The Most Interesting Rye Whiskeys You'll Sip

Since 2010, WhistlePig has been producing some of the finest, most interesting rye whiskeys you'll ever sip at its 500-acre, 150+-year-old former dairy farm. Unlike most American whiskey brands which are typically based in Kentucky, WhistlePigs's farm distillery is located in rural Vermont. Beyond the 300 acres dedicated to growing rye grain, two hairy, rotund Kunekune pigs, Mortimer Junior and Orwell, live on the farm and also appear on the WhistlePig logo dressed up in top hats and bow ties.

In an industry dominated by men, WhistlePig is women-led: Emily Harrison is the lead distiller, and its chief blender is former chemical engineer Meghan Ireland. Every autumn, their team releases a new, highly-anticipated, special edition of The Boss Hog, a single-barrel, barrel-strength rye.

The first edition was labeled simply "The Boss Hog," and each edition carries a slight twist on the name. The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song, is the whiskey we'll be looking at today.

How it's made: From the the Boss Hog to Siren's Song

Subsequent releases have been creatively named with a nod to the production process that year: The sixth edition was labeled "六: The Samurai Scientist" since it was a collaboration with Kitaya Sake Brewery in Japan.

The latest edition, WhistlePig's ninth, is named "Siren's Song" for the mythological sirens, half-woman, half-bird creatures that used their voices to lure sailors to their death towards jagged, rocky shorelines. These pewter muses, however, are not mythical women-like muses, but instead are pigs dressed in Ancient Greek duds, with each pig holding an emblem of the particular muse they represent.

A visit to Patras, Greece, where Rhodes and her team tasted the top tenturas, was the first step in the production of The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song. Produced in Patras, the regional capital of Western Greece, since at least the 15th century, Tentura (Greek: τεντούρα) is a distillate alcohol, typically brandy, flavored with cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and citrus fruits. Deep amber, tentura, known locally as μοσχοβολήθρα, boasts an alcohol content of about 25%.

Back on their farm in Vermont, WhistlePig whiskey makers Liz Rhoades and Meghan Ireland whipped up their own tentura using cinnamon, clone, nutmeg, orange peel, and honey to flavor their unique take on the classic Greek liquor.

Pewter toppers make Siren's Song the most collectible edition of Boss Hog to date

The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song is also the most collectible edition of Boss Hog to date, thanks to the nine different, delightful muse toppers made locally in Vermont by Danforth Pewter. Thomas Danforth II's pewter workshop operated in colonial Connecticut in the mid-18th century; 100+ years later, his fifth great-grandson Fred Danforth and his wife Judi are the owners of Danforth Pewter in Vermont since 1975. Every piece of Danforth pewter is handcrafted from 100% lead-free fine pewter, which adds to the overall value of this bottle.

If you're lucky, your bottle might be topped with the rarest muse of all, Melpomene, the muse of tragedy.

This is also the first time that WhistlePig has emblazoned the back labels of its Boss Hog series with NFC technology so that bottle collectors can both authenticate and register their treasured bottle with a simple tap of a smartphone. (NFC, or near-field communication, is a short-range wireless barcode that, when scanned with a smartphone app, opens to a website that also verifies the authenticity of the bottle).

Price and availability

The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song retails for about $500 and is available at fine liquor shops and restaurants across the country. It's also available online, so you can have a precious bottle shipped directly to your front door. Perhaps the best place to sip this outstanding whiskey, however, is at one of WhistlePig's tasting rooms: on the farm in Quechee, Vermont, or at the WhistlePig Pavilion at Stowe Mountain Resort.

The WhistlePig Pavilion at Stowe Mountain Resort is the hottest après-ski spot in town, located just steps from the Stowe Mountain slopes, near the Spruce Peak Ice Rink in the heart of the Village. Sip WhistlePig whiskey or handcrafted cocktails and local beers paired with warm bites like fire-baked raclette.

Located in picturesque Quechee, Vermont, the WhistlePig Whiskey Parlour is located on the second floor of the historic The Parker building, next door to Simon Pearce, a shop that specializes in handcrafted glassware and pottery.

Tasting notes

Opening a bottle of The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song is like opening a bottle that contains all things Christmas: Orange blossom hits the nose immediately, followed by floral notes, dried cranberries, and a slightly sweet hint of brown sugar. On the palate, the spices of Christmas dance.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove burst then fade into ripe black cherry and jammy plum. The finish features the jammy fig tentura notes, plus that classic rye spice that reminds you you're sipping whiskey (and not Christmas). The jammy fig notes, reminiscent of the classic British Christmas dessert, figgy pudding, linger on the palate.

This is a whiskey that should ultimately be served around the holidays because it encapsulates all the spices of the season, but truly it will serve as a pleasing post-dinner "dessert" any time of the year. Try it neat before adding water or ice so that you can sample this aroma-packed whiskey in its pure state.

How it compares to Whistle Pig Small Batch Rye

The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song is straight rye whiskey made with some of the oldest rye on the WhistlePig farm in Vermont, double-finished in barrels that formerly held Greek fig nectar and WhistlePig's own farm-made tentura. The result is an incredibly complex whiskey that's barrel strength and bottled between 102.5 proof to 106.2 proof. Barrel strength, if you're unfamiliar, is a term used by whiskey producers to describe a whiskey that hasn't been substantially diluted after its storage in a cask for maturation.

Whistle Pig Small Batch Rye is also a straight rye whiskey, made with 100% rye. It's barrel aged for 10 years and bottled at 50% ABV. Smooth and well-balanced, it has a hint of spice on the finish but none of the heady Christmas spice of Siren's Song.

Though you can mix both of these whiskeys into cocktails, they won't hold their magnificent flavor profiles after mixing or shaking with ice: These are whiskeys that are best enjoyed neat or on the rocks.

Is The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song worth the price?

The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song meets all of WhistlePig's high standards: It's a single barrel, bottled at barrel proof, powerfully complex, unique, and the quality is simply extraordinary. With this ninth installment of the coveted series, the Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song has emerged as one of the whiskey market's most collectible annual rye whiskey releases, making it well worth the steep retail price. The incredible craftsmanship, creating Greek fig nectar and tentura from scratch, plus careful finishing and blending, make it a uniquely sippable, unforgettable whiskey.

Fine whiskey tends to increase considerably in value, and no doubt The Boss Hog IX: Siren's Song makes for a winning whiskey investment. Save it for a special occasion down the road, or keep a bottle stored in your collection, and watch as it increases in value over time. Like all fine whiskeys, store your coveted, Greek muse pig-capped bottle upright, in a cool, dark place.