BHAKTA Spirits Releases 10-Year Finished Rye


January 25, 2024

Bhakta Spirits bottle with glass

BHAKTA Spirits announced the launch of its inaugural rye vintage, BHAKTA 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey.

After helping to incite the “Rye Revolution” of the ‘00s and ‘10s through the success of WhistlePig Whiskey — which he founded from a broken-down dairy farm in Vermont, and which exploded into a beloved billion-dollar brand — Bhakta made his name as a market-mover with a sixth sense for trendspotting.

Powered by his unorthodox instinct for brand-building, WhistlePig’s ascent brought the entire rye category along for the ride. Before WhistlePig, the rye segment registered an annual value of $15mm; after Bhakta’s exit from the brand, the category had grown an astonishing 1,473% to an annual value of $236mm (The Distilled Spirits Council of America, 2020). The rye category’s present value is now believed to be north of $300 million.

If America’s “First Rye Revolution” was defined by WhistlePig’s trinity of craft pedigree, agricultural authenticity, and luxury pricing, the “Second Rye Revolution” appears poised to push the category and overall market in an unexpected direction: single vintage spirits. While long sought-after for their specificity, status as collectibles, and year-over-year variation, single vintage spirits have until now remained a rare find outside of the industry’s pinnacle category, Armagnac.

BHAKTA 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey is a brash, spicy, and precise expression of the distillate of just one year’s harvest. After a decade of initial aging, this single vintage whiskey earned an extravagant 75-day finish in Calvados casks curated from the oldest-in-the-world collection of Château BHAKTA. Bottled at 107.6 proof and released at 10 years and 8 months of age, BHAKTA 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey carries a mash bill of 95% Rye and 5% Malted Barley MGPI.

Raj Bhakta’s return to rye comes on the heels of his Vermont-based brand’s national launch of BHAKTA 1928 (SRP $69), a boundary-breaking blend of rye whiskey, XO Calvados, and four rare Armagnac vintages — including the nearly-100-year-old 1928 vintage.

“Rye was truly the spirit that started it all for me,” Bhakta said in a news release. “Even after we exited WhistlePig, we knew we weren’t done with rye. And rye wasn’t done with us. Now we’re doing it again — but bigger, bolder, and better than we ever did it before. Single vintage, not an age statement. An entire college campus, not a decrepit farm. Same unstoppable belief in the barrels. And the same spirit of revolution.”

Much like Bhakta’s WhistlePig Boss Hog expressions of yesteryear, BHAKTA 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey is animated by a creative cask finish — this time Calvados, which imparts complexity, depth, and richness to the rye’s flavor profile. Finishing casks were curated from Château BHAKTA’s cellars. The exhaustive multi-year selection process was led personally by Bhakta and assisted by a secret panel of deputies including the château’s veteran Master Blender Bernard Domecq, BHAKTA Spirits Minister of Time Johnathan Page, and BHAKTA Spirits Chief Minister of Spirits Sean O’Rourke.

Located in Condom, France — the heart of the Armagnac region — Château BHAKTA boasts the world’s most comprehensive collection of ancient spirits. Its oldest existing stocks were distilled during the reign of Napoleon III. Most recently known as Maison Ryst-Dupeyron, the château was erected during the late Bourbon Dynasty by an aristocrat who subsequently lost his head in the French Revolution. Bhakta acquired the property in 2019.

“True to its status as a single vintage spirit, BHAKTA 2013 Straight Rye Whiskey represents the next level of rarity, transparency, variability, and specificity that spirits lovers are seeking like never before,” Chief Minister of Spirits Sean O’Rourke said. “The beauty of vintages is that no two releases are ever the same. I see this new ‘Drink Vintage’ revolution as bound to dethrone age statements in the status spirits segment.”

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