High West Whiskey

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High West Whiskey

Unread postby gillmang » Sat Aug 01, 2009 6:43 pm

This is a blend of two straight ryes only, a 6 year old rye from a 95% rye mashbill and a 16 year old rye made from 80% rye. High West is a relatively recent microdistilery in Utah so clearly this product was compounded from whiskeys sourced from a long-established distillery (or two of them). As I recall there was speculation that the former Seagram facility in Lawrenceburg, Indiana (now owned by Angostura) supplied it and it was rye that might have been used as a flavoring whiskey for Seagram 7 Crown and maybe other Seagram whiskies.

Wherever it was from, it is extremely good and very well put together. The whiskey is quite unlike any other straight rye I have had. It smells of some kind of hard candy and spices. The taste is rainwater soft with notes of old roses, golden syrup and something musky in the best possible way. Elements of it remind me of some other whiskeys I have had but in a combination I find unique. If this is typical of what Canadian and some American distilleries make in-house to flavor their blended whiskies, it is a pity these are not generally made available to the market uncut. I don't find the taste similar to Templeton's rye (also apparently from Lawrenceburg) yet both are excellent and offer a contrast to the well-known ryes from Kentucky.

There is a version which is offers just the 16 year component which I am sure is excellent but I haven't had as yet.

Great stuff and well worth the price (circa $50).

Gary
Last edited by gillmang on Sat Aug 01, 2009 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: High West Whiskey

Unread postby Mike » Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:56 pm

Your notes on this one (as always) are on the mark. It is indeed candy-like with some cinnamon, lots of flowers, and tangerines (sweeter smelling than oranges).

I too, get a bit of muskiness (even in the nose) that is reminenscent of old dried out wood, and it is a contributor, not a detractor to the aromas. This whiskey provides an ever changing aromatic three ring circus...............watch for the spice and you miss the fruit, watch the fruit and you miss the flowers, but like the ferris wheel, each returns in its time.

The taste is softly sweet (I claim that rye itself offers a subtle sweetness, without any proof whatsoever other than my own experience), yet fairly thick. I suspect that the hot spices are subdued by the marriage of the 6 YO and the 16 YO, because there is some dryness in the finish to dampen the rye bite.

I paid $47 for my bottle and find it to be quite aromatic, interesting, flavorful, delicious, and excellent. I would heartily recommend it to any whiskey-lover!

Thanks for your perceptive comments, Gary. Had you not made them, I don't know that I would have purchased this bottle............I am glad I did.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
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Re: High West Whiskey

Unread postby gillmang » Mon Aug 17, 2009 9:47 pm

Glad you liked it, Mike, it is a winner indeed. Good to hear too of your trip to chez Sousley. Wish I could have been there. (Actually, I was, not too long ago, and had a great time). I hope one day we can do this ensemble.

Jeff: your idea of a mixed mash bill is interesting and in fact, such things have been made. It would qualify as a non-bourbon or rye straight whiskey under the regulations if aged more than 2 years in new charred oak. The old "blend of straight whiskeys" might have included such products. (One variant of that was a mixture of bourbon and rye; another was a mixture of one or both of those and a whiskey(s) such as you suggest or only the latter).

Today though, this seems no longer done, except maybe for blending.

gary
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Re: High West Whiskey

Unread postby cowdery » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:19 pm

Although most ryes made to be sold as straight rye are 'barely legal' at 51%, flavoring whiskeys are a different matter. They are made to emphasize certain flavors, with the intention of blending with many other whiskeys to match a desired profile. Their makers never intended them to be drunk straight.

Based on some information I've received, I'm very confident Lawrenceburg was the source of this whiskey.
- Chuck Cowdery

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