The Spirits Business Global Luxury Masters - 2020READ MORE
Raj Peter Bhakta has been a successful entrepreneur, a former contestant on The Apprentice, and even a political candidate. But he is best known in the spirits industry as the founder of the premium rye whiskey brand WhistlePig. After selling the popular brand last year, Raj has now moved on to reviving another spirits category that has long been under appreciated - Armagnac brandy. Raj and I discuss his move from whiskey to brandy, the story behind these hidden vintages, and why you should be buying these bottles of history now.
Bit by a Fox Podcast - October 12, 2020LISTEN
A complex spirit that is ideal for the curious whiskey lover. Sweet and smoky but not overly so, this finishing process for 50+ year old Armagnac is unlike anything else. Raj had us all on our toes for this episode and we were excited to explore something so rare and unique. And don’t miss the teaser for Raj’s next big project; his whiskey project, called Empire, a “global whiskey” coming out next year.
The Bourbon Lens Podcast - October 12, 2020LISTEN
Raj Bhakta has moved on to his next endeavor - armagnac. BHAKTA 50 is an extremely limited release of rare, aged armagnac that he acquired and finished in Islay whisky barrels to impart a bit of smoke into the spirit, and then briefly put into a newer armagnac cask. The blend is composed of vintages ranging from 1868-1970, making this brandy a relative bargain compared to similarly aged scotch.
Departures Magazine - October 1, 2020READ MORE
It’s not every day you get to sip such an incredible piece of history, or is it? BHAKTA 50-Year- Old Brand is 100% Armagnac and like nothing else on the market today. The complexity of this spirit is truly an experience all in itself and the flavors are amazing. Put me in a comfortable chair with a glass of BHAKTA 50 and a fine cigar and I’ll be a happy man. If you’ve not yet put a foot into the world of brandy and Armagnac, BHAKTA 50 would be an incredible place to start. 9.2/10
Whiskey Consensus - September 14, 2020READ MORE
Raj Peter Bhakta, founder of WhistlePig and now Bhakta Farms, has found a stunning equilibrium with BHAKTA 50. He’s forged an entirely new category, taking 50 year-old Armagnac brandy and finishing it in Islay casks for the whiskey lover. This juice carries flooring complexity that keeps you coming back for more – from honeyed nose, to fruity-smoky interplay, to an almost minty finish. Throughout, Bhakta has included the perfect balance of Islay peatiness. This one’s for the bourbon lovers, the Scotch savorers: BHAKTA is the new “it” spirit, and it’s time to swap your snifters with the finest and rarest.
Whiskey Consensus - September 14, 2020READ MORE
The really unique twist here is that Bhakta 50 is finished in Islay whisky casks, which is perhaps the ballsiest decision I’ve ever heard of. As Bhakta notes, “there’s nothing like it on the market.” I don’t think there ever will be again. Bhakta says it’s “perhaps the rarest drink known to mankind,” which isn’t entirely untrue.
I would be remiss without noting that, at $299 a bottle, Bhakta 50 is definitely one of the cheapest ways to get into 50 year old brandy — not to mention anything with a toehold in the 1800s. For that reason alone, I’d snap this up immediately if I saw it on a shelf. Just imagine the talking points you can put together, folks.
Drinkhacker - September 9, 2020READ MORE
When you’re sipping this brandy, think of the history. The oldest liquid in your glass was distilled 152 years ago. Think about what the world was like when this brandy dripped off of a wood-fired still on a French countryside and into a lightly toasted barrel where it would patiently sit for decades. What has this amber-hued liquid witnessed in its lifetime? BHAKTA 50 is an interesting spirit, really a combination of two spirit families. The liquid itself is impressive and I believe a worthwhile pour for avid whiskey drinkers and rare spirits collectors alike.
Chicago Bourbon - September 9, 2020LEARN MORE
I tasted Barrel 3, exuding a rich, robust hit of brown sugar, oak and leather, rolling out with fig, caramel, honey and a subtle whisper of smoke from Islay peat. This is a unique line in a category that doesn’t see a lot of “new” releases. As I’ve had the privilege of tasting many spirits and fortified wines back to the 1840s, nothing (certainly not whisk(e)y!) ages like brandy. As this beauty of a bottling shows, brandy of this age is still alive, complex, gorgeous. 5/5
Distiller Magazine - September 8, 2020READ MORE
Raj Peter Bhakta is a personality to say the least – charming, charismatic, controversial, uncompromising. But it’s the combination of these traits that make the man one of the most interesting in the spirits world. I say “spirits” this week specifically, because while Raj is most known for his founding of and much talked-about departure from the American whiskey darling WhistlePig, he’s turned away from Rye and started a love affair with a different brown liquid – Armagnac. In typical Bhakta style, his latest release isn’t a traditional Armagnac – it’s a premium spirit blended from grapes harvested as far back as 1867 and finished in Islay Whisky casks. Raj is inspired by the idea of American Revival, and his passion for this is evident throughout the podcast, plus he gives us a pretty epic story about the legendary Dave Pickerell.
Hear in Spirit Podcast - August 14, 2020LISTEN
In 2018 Raj Peter Bhakta parted ways with WhistlePig Whiskey, the premium rye brand that he founded just ten years earlier. During his time with the Vermont-based operation, he propelled the liquid from local farmer's markets to international superstardom. At the onset, the idea of an $80 bottle of rye bordered on absurd. But Bhakta's steadfast commitment to the cause — realized through the meticulous craftsmanship of master distiller Dave Pickerell —helped redefine the category. Now he's hoping to do the same thing for Armagnac.
This summer he launched an eponymous line of spirits sourced from the south of France. Bhakta Brandy is the next chapter for an industry renegade who has already made a sizable fortune by bucking convention. And he doesn't seem willing to surrender that particular approach anytime soon.
Forbes - August 13, 2020READ MORE
- Raj Peter Bhakta
The Brandy came about after Raj purchased Armagnac Dupeyron last year and created Bhakta Spirits. It’s the entrepreneurs first venture since WhistlePig and in an interview with The Whiskey Wash, he relayed why he chose Armagnac over Cognac or Spanish Brandy: “Quality and value. Armagnac offers unparalleled quality and value. Cognac is the value coefficient of zero. Cognac is very expensive. It’s great product, but it’s very expensive. Armagnac is more flavorful than Cognac, and it has not been promoted. Armagnac doesn’t have a Hennessy, doesn’t have a Remy, doesn’t have anything like the big houses. This is all about the product.
SpiritedZine - July 25, 2020READ MORE
It became pretty clear to me that there really wasn’t anything like it on the planet. Think about Bhakta 50, with the 50-year-old age statement. I don’t think there’s any other spirits category where you can get a 50-year-old age statement for $250.
Now, admittedly, that price is going to go up and it’s going to go up fast, at least in my product line, but that pretty much says it in a nutshell. A 25-year-old bottle of Macallan is a $4,000 or $5,000 bottle. We’ve got something twice as old that, frankly, [that] costs eight times as much to distill, at five percent of the cost. That’s one of the accidents of history, that Armagnac, for whatever reason, just hasn’t popped. The product is exquisite. It’s almost inexplicable to me how such a gem could have been overlooked for so long.
The Whiskey Wash - July 24, 2020READ MORE
- Raj Peter Bhakta
Still, Bhakta thinks he can bridge the gap between Armagnac and whiskey by offering the best of both worlds. The exquisite, handcrafted nature of the former; the robust flavor profile of the latter, not to mention the limited-edition appeal so many whiskey geeks crave. Its price point is a key selling point for him as well, one that he believes makes it a surefire investment opportunity. “I can say with certainty that I find it to be the greatest value in the world of spirits,” he says, “and it’s only a matter of time before people realize that.”
VinePair - June 21, 2020READ MORE
- Raj Peter Bhakta
Tucker Carlson interviews Raj on his commitment to American Revival. For Raj, this means reviving rural life, reinvesting in our land, and rediscovering our individual spirit. Beginning with broad discontent in US cities, they discuss how Raj's rural lifestyle can provide the keys to a happier, safer, and more profitable future. Indeed, his family farm is gearing up to launch their new Bhakta 50 Year Armagnac and demonstrating that success is attainable far from downtown. As Bhakta explains, the countryside demands an individual mindset, which in turn can create a "niche" and a wealthy existence even better than a crowded city.
Fox News - June 16, 2020WATCH