WhistlePig Launches The Boss Hog: The Samurai Scientist

Luxury rye whiskey brand WhistlePig has announced the latest release in The Boss Hog series — The Samurai Scientist.

This is 16-year-old, single-barrel, straight rye whiskey. The Boss Hog: The Samurai Scientist is named after a Japanese chemist, Jōkichi Takamine, who introduced koji fermentation to the American whiskey industry in the 19th century. This limited-edition whiskey is a collaboration between WhistlePig’s team and Japanese brewers from Kitaya, a shōchū and umeshu producer located near Yame City in Fukuoka Prefecture on Japanʼs Kyushu Island.

The whiskey was distilled in Canada using koji fermentation, and aged for 16 years before being finished in umeshu-seasoned barrels. It was bottled on the WhistlePig Farm in Shoreham, VT. The umeshu used for this whiskey is Saikoo — an aged umeshu made by Kitaya.


“We finished one of our oldest whiskeys in barrels that held Kitaya’s eleven-year-old umeshu,” explains Pete Lynch, master blender, WhistlePig. “With umeshu being an intensely aromatic spirit, it does not take long to impart deeply complex flavors. Each barrel of The Samurai Scientist is bottled at proof. Only 90 barrels exist and each bottle notes the barrel number and proof, ranging between 120 – 122.”

The Samurai Scientist is crowned by a handmade Danforth pewter stopper representing Takamine’s family heritage and contributions in the field of chemistry, the company says. The whiskey comes in a gift box elaborating his story.


The Samurai Scientist has aromas of cinnamon, maple syrup and toasted marshmallow, the company says, followed by a palate of tobacco, ginger, baking spices and savory umami. With a few drops of water, the whiskey reveals notes of rye spice, oak char and vanilla. The finish on The Samurai Scientist is of oak spice, char and a touch of smoke.

The Samurai Scientist is 60-61% ABV. It is available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $499.99 per 750-ml. bottle. It is up for pre-sale via Caskers.com.

“It was an honor to work alongside the team at Kitaya to bring this collaboration to life in the form of the first American whiskey finished in Japanese umeshu barrels,” says Jeff Kozak, CEO, WhistlePig. “With the introduction of The Samurai Scientist, WhistlePig continues to pave the way for innovation across the rye category.”

This follows the 2018 release of The Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve.


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