Aging gracefully is an art form. Whether it be a top-shelf whiskey or a big boss pony car, some things get better as the years pass by. High proof spirits and iconic Mopars are best enjoyed separately, but combining the two for a Great American Road trip pairs perfectly, and might be one the most unique journeys you’ve ever heard of.
WhistlePig Whiskey based out of Shoreham, Vermont, hatched an idea that puts a new twist on an old process to age and finish distilled spirits. After a batch of whiskey is conjured up, it is housed in a storage facility called a rickhouse for up to twenty years. Back in the day, when the whiskey was aged just right, it was transported to its final destination via rail or boat to the customer. Over the years it was discovered that the rhythm of the rails or the motion of the ocean would agitate the spirit inside, adding new flavors and notes to the batch.
With that in mind, the gang at WhistlePig created its flagship RoadStock Whiskey utilizing a “rolling” rickhouse. Not a train or a boat, but an 18-wheeler truck cruising the “riverways” of modern America, the US Interstate system. The journey begins at WhistlePig headquarters in Vermont, makes pit stops in Arizona and California, and then heads back to the East Coast totaling a whopping 6000 miles.
To celebrate this long-legged adventure, WhistlePig created a custom RoadStock Dodge Hellcat wrapped up in oak-barrel livery. The beast is powered by yup you guessed it, RoadStock Whiskey. VP Racing Fuels created a custom fuel blend with aged WhistlePig spirits that was track tested at Radford Racing School in Chandler, Arizona. To pilot the RoadStock Dodge Hellcat, WhistlePig engaged none other than renowned auto industry personalities Chris Jacobs and Cristy Lee, to accompany the rolling rickhouse for the last leg of the journey.
“I’ve had some unique experiences in the automotive space over the years, but when WhistlePig called and asked me if I would like to track test and then drive their whiskey powered Hellcat alongside the rolling rickhouse to Paso Robles, I mean, who could say no to that. What an amazing adventure,” says Chris Jacobs.
A coast-to-coast and back journey is a gigantic undertaking, but the folks at WhistlePig wanted to push the boundaries even further. One of the ways to finish a whiskey is to pour the brew into used wine or beer casks (barrels) that have been emptied or “disgorged,” of their former contents.
Before setting off on the cross-country journey, WhistlePig poured half of the batch of whiskey into empty Bordeaux wine barrels that were shipped to Vermont from Jordon’s Winery in Sonoma, California. The whiskey in Bordeaux blend; 78% Cabernet, 12% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 2% Malbec, would make the full 6000-mile roundtrip journey providing ample time for the brew to steal the nuanced complexity from these incredible casks. Known for elegant European wines, including their classic Cabernet Sauvignon, Jordan has been family-owned and operated since 1972.
They left Arizona weaving along the historic Route 66. Tailed by the RoadStock Dodge Hellcat piloted by Chris Jacobs, they headed north to one of the largest and most innovative craft breweries in the country, Firestone Walker Brewing Company in Paso Robles, California.
At Firestone Walker, the balance of the whiskey was transferred into Firestone’s Imperial Stout, Imperial Blonde Ale, and Experimental Ale barrels to finish on the long journey back to Vermont.
Megan Ireland, Blender at WhistlePig Whiskey explains further, “WhistlePig’s commitment to elevating great whiskey with unique finishes has been a passion since the very beginning, so when the opportunity arose to try something brand new in the category, we were all in. The barrels, still saturated with the distinctive aromas and flavors of their previous fills, were a game-changing match for what would become RoadStock Rye Whiskey.”
Ireland continues, “In the spirit of innovation, we decided to literally drag them from Vermont to California and back, knowing that the shake, rattle, and roll of a cross country road trip would ensure an incredible finish that could not be achieved any other way. The individual wine and beer finishes are fantastic on their own, but the final finish is pure gold,” When all is said and done, RoadStock will be the first-ever double American finish, on-the-road whiskey.
After clocking the 6,000 miles and a couple of weeks on the road, the RoadStock rolling rickhouse was finally back home in Vermont where the distillery team was chomping-at-the-bit to marry these unique finishes and get it into the RoadStock bottles adorned with a custom rubber tire topper that will forever commemorate this epic adventure.
The Dodge Challenger is the perfect four-wheeled companion in the endeavor. If there was ever an automobile that has been aged and finished to perfection, it would be the Mopar’s new-age, old-school muscle car.
The Challenger, introduced in 2008, will soon reach a 15-year production milestone before an electric replacement appears. With the tooling amortized long ago, the Challenger is a big moneymaker for Dodge. Like WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, the current car has been finished in new and interesting ways for over a decade.
From SRT8s, Scat Packs, Hellcats, and Demons, the Challenger has thrived with age-defying infusions, leveraging the car’s storied history. Although not really a pony car, (it’s more like a quarter-horse,) the 4200lbs Challenger Hellcat rips it up with a 717hp, supercharged 6.2L HEMI and goes like a scalded moose.
The LX platform and its variants, which underpin the Challenger, is based on borrowed Mercedes-Benz mechanicals and was the only noteworthy prodigy from the short-lived DaimlerChrysler marriage in 1998. Every Challenger that rolls down a street or dragstrip have roots that go back to the Fatherland.
Today, the car is still one of the best-looking and performing cars in North America, a testament indeed to its continual improvement. The Challenger has been a thorn in Ford and Chevy’s side as well selling in big numbers over the years. A new chapter is beginning for the Challenger, so stay tuned.
Consumers across the country will have a chance to experience both RoadStock Whiskey and the oak barrel-wrapped Dodge Hellcat firsthand as both will continue making stops in key markets promoting the brand. As always, cool cars and cool whiskey are best enjoyed separately. All automobile stunt footage was captured on a closed course with professional drivers. Please drink responsibly.
About WhistlePig Whiskey – Founded in 2007, WhistlePig has become the number one distiller in the ultra-premium and luxury rye whiskey category in North America, featuring the bold and often untapped flavor of Rye. WhistlePig is leading a surge of innovation in the emerging field of North American whiskey. As the most decorated Rye whiskey, they received the coveted ‘Best in Show Whiskey’ title from the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, WhistlePig is widely viewed as the world’s finest Rye. With the opening of its distillery on its 500-acre Vermont farm in the fall of 2015, WhistlePig has also become one of the leading farm-to-bottle Rye whiskeys in the world. For additional information, other products, and how to purchase, go here.