A Midwinter Night’s Dram
A Midwinter Night’s Dram
Act 2-8, Scene 186
98.6 Proof Blend of two Rye Whiskeys
Well here’s one you don’t see every day. Being a limited release (I believe only once a year…anyone know? I can’t find any info on this…), I wasn’t sure I’d ever find a bottle of what I’ve heard some people say is High West’s best product. But last year our group managed to get two bottles, and we just found one bottle of the Act 3 release a couple weeks ago. We haven’t cracked that one yet, so for now you’ll have to hear what I think about last year’s batch.
You may remember that I’m a fan of High West as an NDP mostly because they give you as much detail about the source of their products as you could ask for. For this release they are taking their Rendezvous Rye blend (a 6 Year 95% LDI/MGP rye blended with a 16 Year 80/10/10 rye from Barton Distillery) and finishing it in both port and french oak barrels. Now I already love Rendezvous Rye (though I actually prefer their more fierce and slightly cheaper Double Rye!), so I was very intrigued by this bottle. Plus, it must be said that the bottle artwork is one of the more clever and classy whiskey labels out there.
The nose has me mostly sold right away…the rich plum and cinnamon spice are great, though it develops into a bit of a cherry cough drop note that makes me worried the port is going to overpower the rye on the palate. I’m fine with finished whiskeys, I welcome the variety, but a whiskey can be over finished for sure (example being the Willet 7 Year Rye XCF, just my opinion). But the palate is not a goner by any means. The port presence is very obvious, but a higher proof rye (this bottle is 98.6 proof) can really hold its own (like Rittenhouse 100 in a cocktail–you can always pick it out), and you end up with some beautiful flavors here. Sweet vanilla and caramel meet stewed cherries in a pie, finishes with spicy notes of clove and all spice, has a very Christmasy, mulled wine vibe to it. The whiskey version of that. I think the fruit component that the port brings is such a nice balance to the rye. This thing explodes with flavor. I side-by-sided this with the no-longer-produced Rittenhouse 80 proof (it was sitting next to me, and I used it as a reference for some reason), and the difference was astonishing. The Ritt 80 tasted like whiskey flavored water compared to this tongue-coating flavor monster.
I love this whiskey. I love many finished whiskeys, and if you don’t like finished whiskeys then you absolutely won’t love this whiskey. But if you like rye, and you like fun and happiness and Shakespeare, you’ll love this. Not an everyday pour, especially not at the finished whiskey premium price of $80 (your unfinished Rendezvous Rye is usually around $50-$55), but I’ll be drinking this with friends for the holidays for sure.
Rating 9.0 / 10
Most recent bottle I found was at Z&Z Package Store in Locust Grove, GA for $80. I bought the one and only bottle left on the shelf, sorry!