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Bhakta Innovates in the Armagnac Market

Last time we reported that Whistle Pig founder, Raj Bhakta, had bought the armagnac house Maison Ryst Dupeyron.  One wonders if he intends to do for armagnac what he did for rye whiskey over the past decade? After just 12 years of trading, Whistle Pig has become the leading supplier of rye whiskey and sells over 1.2 million cases per year.  Bhakta’s interest in armagnac began in 2017 when Whistle Pig took its priciest rye whiskey and finished it in armagnac barrels. The result, the Black Prince, won best overall whiskey at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. No longer a shareholder in Whistle Pig, Bhakta is now embarking on a new project with his armagnac house purchase.  His first release, Bhakta 50, is a blend of 8 vintages with a minimum age of 50 years which has been finished in smoky, Islay Scotch casks followed by new armagnac casks.  Bhakta feels that this “freshens up” the old spirit, although as a result, it can no longer be called ‘armagnac’.  Keen to bridge the gap between whiskey and armagnac he wants to be creative and “deliver a product of great value and rarity”.  It will be interesting to see if such innovation boosts armagnac’s presence across the brown spirits marketplace.