WhistlePig Boss Hog X Review [In Depth]

WhistlePig Boss Hog X The Commandments

Alex author
Founder, writer
whistlepig boss hog x review header

WhistlePig Boss Hog X Details

Distillery: WhistlePig

Type & Region: Rye whiskey, USA & Canada

Alcohol: 53.2%

Composition: I think that it’s 100% rye

Aged: Not stated

Color: 1.3/2.0 on the color scale (russet, muscat)

Price: $600-700

From the company website:

The Boss Hog X transcends tradition with a double finish inspired by our own land of milk and honey. Each barrel of Straight Rye Whiskey is aged in new American Oak before completing its journey in two unorthodox finishing barrels. The first is seasoned with our own experimental spirit – distilled from rye and whey, infused with aromatic resins from the genera commonly known as Frankincense and Myrrh – delivering notes of creme brulee, lemongrass and rosemary to the final whiskey. The second and final finish is aged in craft mead casks, offering a mellow, round-bodied finish with hints of red berries and freshly crushed black pepper.

WhistlePig Boss Hog X overview

I’ve never had WhistlePig Boss Hog before, but I suspect that most have not as well. I’ll get it out of the way quickly, WhistlePig Boss Hog, in every form, is very expensive: easily a $500-700 bottle of whiskey. It’s not targeted for everyone, just those with deep pockets or the fortunate whiskey blogger who somehow receives a bottle at no cost. I fall into the second category, which I feel fortunate.
That said, I’m certainly happy to get it, but of course I’ll be honest about how it is. I really hope that the whiskey is incredible too, but I’ve been known to piss off companies with my honesty.
WhistlePig Boss Hog is their premium and experimental line of rye whiskeys. They always go crazy on finishes, pushing the boundaries of what you can do or even should do. They’re doing stuff that no one has ever thought to try, or crazy enough to actually do.
For this specific release, Boss Hog X, WhistlePig has chosen to follow 10 commandments (they usually follow “just” 5 principles)…of their choosing. X, 10, do you see the connection?
I. Single Barrel (this one is barrel 18)
II. Bottled at Proof
III. Powerfully Complex
IV. Distinctly Unique From Anything
We’ve Done Before
V. Stupendous
VI. Fearlessly First Amongst All Whiskeys
VII. Inspired by the Unfamiliar
VIII. Irreverently Inventive
IX. Made for Drinking
X. Knows No Bounds
whistlepig boss hog x box inside
The other crazy releases withstanding, WhistlePig has really gone off the deep end here. This is rye whiskey (sourced from Canada) finished in barrels that held a wild experimental spirit made from rye and whey (derived from milk) that’s infused with Frankincense and Myrrh. After that, they finish the whiskey in mead (aka honey wine). There’s the whole milk and honey biblical thing going on.
First off, what the hell is this experimental spirit? Are they planning on releasing that so we can try it? I bet it’s wacky and not for everyone. I mean…holy moly they weren’t kidding with the tenants to be “Inspired by the Unfamiliar”, “Knows No Bounds”, and “Irreverently Inventive”. There’s no doubt that’s all true here.
Another thing to mention, Boss Hog X base is Canadian whiskey, as denoted by the distilled in Canada on the back label. It’s not a good or bad thing, I’m just pointing out that fact. It’s also not all that clear how old the rye whiskey is.
Let’s find out if these ten commandments lead to a 10/10 whiskey in this Whistlepig Boss Hog X review.
Thank you to WhistlePig for providing this ludicrous full bottle as a media sample. All opinions are still my own.
whistlepig boss hog x box front close

As an FYI, I bought and use these Glencairn glasses for everything (they’re the best): Glencairn Crystal Whiskey Glass Set of 6, Set of 4Set of 2, or just one. Full transparency, this is an affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

WhistlePig Boss Hog X smell

WhistlePig Boss Hog X has honey, licorice, orange peel, oak, cinnamon, a unique type of earthy herbalness (probably the Frankincense and Myrrh) that’s not the usual pumpernickel or caraway seed, vanilla, coconut, darker preserved lemon, apricot, and rosemary. There’s no heat at all.
No kidding, this is very honey-forward, which is not surprising given that rye on its own is often honey forward. The mead finish would just add to it, and it does.
This isn’t the bright and vibrant rye whiskey that I’m accustomed to, which I find their WhistlePig 10 Year to be. Even other ryes such as Willett 4 Year, Sagamore Spirit everything, and Knob Creek Rye have way more tropical and herbal character.
To be honest, I have no idea how Frankincense and Myrrh actually smell, so I’m not even going to bullshit you by writing that it smells like that. Nonetheless, WhistlePig Boss Hog X has amazing viscosity and density. The scents don’t necessarily explode out of the glass, but there’s a thickness to it that I rarely get from other whiskeys. I guess the finishes have added more density and darkness.
The dairy component isn’t that strong / in your face either, and there’s zero wackiness in this rye. Whatever it is, at minimum it’s not a bad addition. As much as I’ve written, I’m struggling to explain how WhistlePig Boss Hog X smells. It smells amazing. I just wish that it was a bit more pop and vibrance.
After swirling and rest, I get more of a slightly earthy dense honey sweetness (to me it’s like rosemary and thyme), dense vanilla cream, orange, roasted oak, cinnamon, licorice, preserved lemon, apricot, and this underlying earthiness. It’s a bit more bright and vibrant now, which I like, and still has the extra fullness, although it’s not super bright and expressive, which is how I prefer my ryes.
The honey component is still the most obvious component, but the whey is more prevalent too. If anything, the whey adds more vanilla extract and creaminess, both of which are welcome additions. It’s kind of like honey butter. The Frankincense and Myrrh are more subtle and fit in well. Rye often has a lot of earthiness already, so the Frankincense and Myrrh accent that more in a unique, but not in your face, way.
WhistlePig Boss Hog X has uniquely fragrant and awesome scents that feels artfully combined, and not at all janky as you might expect from the crazy stuff they did.
whistlepig boss hog x box front

WhistlePig Boss Hog X taste and aftertaste

The flavors have dense honey, licorice, orange, and a lot of vanilla cream, then roasted oak, apricot, caraway seed, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, coconut meat, and preserved lemon. There’s a little bit of dry kick.
Boss Hog X has darker and richer sweetness and fruitiness that doesn’t necessarily taste much like rye whiskey. Rye whiskey, Canadian or American, tends to have a lot more licorice and caraway seed flavors, while this does not, so the finish has transformed this a lot.
The honey is very dense and the mouthfeel is quite creamy. In a good way, it’s like they infused creamer into this. Normally that would sound awful, but it feels good here. The added honey and whey (dairy part) are more prominent, but the herbal / earthy Frankincense and Myrrh are more like accents to the rye whiskey. It’s probably for the best, because I don’t think you’d want overly earthy flavors battling the honey and creaminess.
WhistlePig Boss Hog X is delicious. As weird as all the finishes may seem (to me at least), it all comes together very well and I enjoy it a lot.
whistlepig boss hog x box top
With intense “chewing”, I taste a rush of dense honey and vanilla extract, then orange, apricot, roasted oak, cinnamon, licorice, preserved lemon, lime, lemon meringue, and a little earthiness and dark caramel. WhistlePig Boss Hog X has very viscous and dense flavors with decadent creamy honey and citrus lemon meringue vibe. This is dessert.
The finish has a lot of honey, orange, and vanilla cream, then oak, licorice, apricot, and preserved lemon, leaving a pleasant lingering finish. Ah, this creamy vanilla coconut comes through more in the finish, which is abnormal for rye. That may be where the whey part of the finish comes through.
And after “chewing”, it leaves creamy honey, vanilla, and orange, then lighter roasted oak, cinnamon, caraway seed, lime, and this other earthiness I can’t adequately describe. It’s probably the Frankincense and Myrrh, however that tastes. This has a very creamy and pleasant finish, like the end of a decadent creamy vanilla chewy candy or vanilla ice cream with a little citrus.
WhistlePig Boss Hog X is special. “Chewing” unleashes the decadent creamy honey, vanilla, and fruit. This is where the finishes shine, fully expressing their amazing character with awesome pop and shine. While it doesn’t necessarily have impressive range, the depth and body are there in full force instead.
whistlepig boss hog x box back
I’ve unfortunately lost some Glencairn’s while in transit, and that made me very sad. So, I wised up and bought this Glencairn Travel Case that comes also comes with 2 glasses so I don’t need to worry so much about them breaking. I think it’s great, and I think you’ll love it too. Seriously, if you already have glasses, protect them.

WhistlePig Boss Hog X Rating

Top Shelf +
WhistlePig Boss Hog X may be non-traditional and ludicrous, but the results are spectacular nonetheless. I’m glad that the honey and whey are featured while the Frankincense and Myrrh stay in the back, because this also could have gone very poorly and been an epic disaster.
The mead finish adds very dense honey, which is fantastic but not groundbreaking. The mad scientist-level rye and whey spirit infused with Frankincense and Myrrh is also tasteful. The whey amplifies the creamy vanilla, which also makes sense. The Frankincense and Myrr, as unfamiliar as I am with them, add a gentle layer of herbalness and earthiness that wonderfully complement the rye whiskey.
The scents can be shy at times (albeit still delightful to smell), but “chewing” brings out everything to its full glory. It’s all integrated very well, so as weird as the whole concept sounds, it’s beautifully executed. The flavors especially are honey drizzled lemon meringue in a glass…yummy.
I suspect that this won’t be for everyone because not everyone’s going to like the creamy vanilla. Other than that, I think that most people would really enjoy this, even those who usually don’t enjoy rye whiskey. Then again, the price is going to keep most people away, which is a bummer because this is such a unique and fun whiskey.
Now for my brief talk about finishes. You can’t get these super dense honey and vanilla scents and flavors purely from a rye. It is what it is. The beauty of finishes, if done right, is that they can add new dimensions and layers to a whiskey, elevating the whole experience. Finishes aren’t only meant to cover up and lift up possibly flawed whiskey so it’s sellable. Well done finishes are a work of art, and WhistlePig did it well with Boss Hog X.
There’s still room for improvement, specifically using rye whiskey with a little more vibrant pop so they’re more range, but I suspect that they won’t be trying this again anytime soon. Maybe for the next time they bring this back.
The value is suspect, but ultimately you know if this is something you’re willing to buy. If you have the money for it, WhistlePig Boss Hog X provides a wildly unique and decadent experience that won’t disappoint. All things considered, WhistlePig delivered on their 10 commandments.
Alex author
Meet the Author: Alex

I have far too much fun writing about whiskey and singlehandedly running The Whiskey Shelf to bring you independent, honest, and useful reviews, comparisons, and more. I’m proudly Asian American and can speak Cantonese, Mandarin, and some Japanese.

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Shattered glass really sucks, so if you’re on the move, this Glencairn-like stainless steel snifter glass should survive your travels. Full transparency, this is an Amazon affiliate link, so I may earn a commission if you buy this or something else from Amazon.

BrüMate NOS’R, Double-Wall Stainless Steel Whiskey Nosing Glass – 7oz (Matte Black)