There’s an exclamation point at the end of High West’s latest rye whiskey: – the High West Double Rye! an interesting belend of whiskeys from two different distilleries. The first is a 2-year old whiskey that is a whopping 95% rye and 5% barley malt and the second is a 16-year which is 53% rye and 37% corn. This is an interesting paring, and High West has a solid reputation for finding, bottling and blending interesting and tasty spirits.
Doing a merchant whiskey or custom blend like this isn’t anything new. In the Scotch world you find companies like Gordon McPhail and Berry Bros buying, aging and blending whisky from the worlds top whisky producers. Here with High West, we have a craft distiller who is using their expertise to present flavors and taste experiences which are fairly unique to the market.
High West Whiskey Double Rye! (92 proof – $35) – is golden amber in color. The younger whiskey seems to dominate here making the color just slightly lighter than most rye whiskey we’ve seen on the market. The nose has some nice rye notes backed by a nice toasty oak with just a slight herbal note. Underneath the sweeter notes come through with light brown sugar and butterscotch. In all the nose is fairly soft and mellow compared to the power punch of flavor that’s in the taste. The entry is explosive with a fantastic spice that hits your palate right out of the gate. Things build to the mid-palate with rye, clove and anise with an undercurrent of butterscotch and vanilla. The heat joins in on the mid palate to accompany the spice really well. The finish is fairly long with the heat sticking around accompanied by a nice cool mint. It’s a lot like eating a spicy red hot and a mint at the same time.
High West Whiskey Double Rye! is a perfect example of how a small craft distiller can show off their sensibilities through buying and blending older spirits from other distillers. They’ve made it clear that this whiskey comes from other sources so there’s no smoke and mirrors here, just good solid blending. The Double Rye! is an interesting rye experience that brings in the nice sweet notes along with the spice and heat with a nice cooling. It’s an ideal mixing whiskey that gives a lot of flavor without completely dominating. Highly RecommendedHigh West Double Rye! Whiskey Review by Geoff Kleinman