Why Buy: Raj Peter Bhakta founded WhistlePig Whiskey, and last year his eponymous start-up, BHAKTA Spirits, produced the "No. 1 Spirit in the World" at the 2023 Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Vintage bourbons, Armagnacs, and ryes are the beating heart of the BHAKTA mission, and we've been blown away by what we've tasted. And so we're back with two more from his portfolio, both limited releases: a 2013 Rye (just 800 cases produced) and a 2014 Bourbon (just 1500 cases produced) that will bring you many gorgeous hours of company and transport with their exceptional complexity, richness, and character.


* The rye, sourced from MGP in Indiana (and with a mashbill that's 95% rye, 5% malted barley), is a 2013 vintage bottling that aged for 10 years and 8 months, and was then given a final gilding of the lily: a 75-day stint in Calvados casks from France.

* The bourbon underwent a 125-day secondary cask finish in French oak barrels that held BHAKTA’s 1973 Armagnac vintage, named “No. 1 Spirit in the World” of 2023.


Our Tasting Notes:

* The rye seduces from the start with its golden orange color and patisserie notes on the nose, including creme caramel, along with praline, pecans, and Granny Smith apples. The Calvados finish has mellowed the vanilla character, making for a sumptuous integration of wood and spice and citrus. The palate is soft and silky, with a welcome undercurrent of pepper and spice, and this undercurrent carries you to the end, which is dry and mellow with oak and hints of rancio.

* Gorgeously amber-hued, the bourbon opens with high top-notes (grassy and herbaceous notes) and deep bass notes (toasted oak and carmel). The palate brings up-front spice, along with layers of rich complexity from the heady mix of charred oak, maraschino cherry, and maple syrup. The spice and sweetness continue all the way through to the finish, which leaves you with a hint of raisin rum cake.


The Story: When Raj Peter Bhakta sold Whistle Pig for a cool $1 billion in 2018, the spirits world wondered: what would the guy who had single-handedly created the modern, high-end rye come up with next? His sabbatical to India and Japan, and, most important of all, his discovery of a remarkable château in a small French village, led him to a bold and daring idea: a label built upon the idea of "vintage spirits." Unlike with spirits that bear an age statement, a vintage spirit is never going to be the same year to year and even from bottle to bottle; no two bottlings are technically alike, making each akin to a piece of art. Small batch production was important to him. So was the idea of wet-cask finishing — finishing the spirit in barrels that hold a small amount of Armagnac, to mute the presence of French oak and give the rye, bourbon, or rum greater balance.

ABV: Rye, 53.8% (107.6 proof); Bourbon, 52.7% (105.4 proof).

Fun Fact: Bhakta purchased a former college campus, Green Mountain College, in Vermont, to serve as the headquarters for his company.

Our Guarantee: We always buy and source direct, so you can be confident that your spirits will arrive in your hands with pristine provenance. Don't hesitate to secure yours today!


*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with items estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Summer 2024. With the supply chain issues that we are seeing globally, there may be some unforeseen delays which could affect the ETA. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer only valid in CA, CO, DE, FL, GA, IL, MA, MD, NJ, TX & WI. This offer will expire on Sunday, March 31, 2024.