This Whiskey Aged with a Wood Baseball Bat Is Perfect for Opening Day

Wood is integral to whiskey. Though, it usually doesn't involve baseball bats.

big papi whiskey baseball bat
Photo courtesy of WhistlePig
Photo courtesy of WhistlePig

The wood involved in the aging process of whiskey matters. It’s where so much of the flavor comes from. That’s why distilleries are always talking about how long a whiskey was aged, how it was finished, what kind of wood stave may have been dropped in, or even, in the case of Glendalough's recent release, where the wood was harvested.

WhistlePig Rye is collaborating with first-ballot Hall of Famer David Ortiz on a unique aging process. It’s the Big Papi Barrel, an expression of WhistlePig's PiggyBack that was finished with a toasted baseball bat in the liquid. For real. It’s the first release in a new single-barrel Legends Series.

Ortiz is kicking off the series that will see WhistlePig collaborate with “living legends” on each release. This expression of WhistlePig’s rye whiskey was aged for six years in American Oak barrels and finished in barrels with a toasted version of the DO34 maple wood bats. You aren't likely to find that combination anywhere else.

"If you ask anyone at the distillery, they'll tell you my signature quote is ‘I'll put anything in a barrel once.’ This experiment was particularly fun in that it brings together two of my favorite things--breaking new ground for rye whiskey and sports," said Meghan Ireland, WhistlePig Blender. "It was incredible to collaborate with David Ortiz, whose toasted maple bats add layers of spice and caramelized notes to the bold, 100% Rye character of WhistlePig PiggyBack." They, thankfully, did not say, 'It's a home run.' You can leave that for after you explain the whiskey to friends and they go, "Hmm. Interesting. Is it any good."

It’s bottled at 96.56 proof, and with the delayed opening day for the opening of the MLB season, you should be able to get one to enjoy as the season gets going on April 7. You can order one through the WhistlePig website starting on March 31. The 750ml bottle will run you $50. Alternatively, you can get a limited edition bottle signed by Ortiz for $340. Proceeds from that limited edition will benefit the David Ortiz Boston Heart Classic, which helps children who are in need of heart surgery.

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Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.