High West Double Rye!
High West Double Rye!
Blend of Two Rye Whiskeys
I live in Asheville, NC, AKA Beer City USA, and in the last few years I’ve seen over a dozen new breweries pop up here, all producing high quality products. This is happening all over the country, and more and more beer drinkers are discovering craft beer and moving away from the watery lagers produced by the Big Three (Budweiser, Miller, Coors). The fact of the matter is that the old guard of beer produces an inferior product to the new craft brewers. No accounting for taste of course, but I think most people agree the American Beer Palate has changed, and the craft breweries are reaping the rewards. Power to them!
What interests me is that this is not the case in the whiskey game. In this country, the big corporations and the distilleries operating under their umbrella have always made and continue to make the best whiskey produced in this country. Because worldwide interest in American Whiskey is on the rise, we have of course seen a boom in the “craft” (I use quotation marks because if you think the guys at Jim Beam or Heaven Hill haven’t perfected their craft, you don’t know nothin bout nothin) distilling business. There are now around 300 distilleries making spirits in the USA, and I imagine that number will double in the next ten years. But for the most part, most of the new “craft” distilleries are really not putting out that great of a product, not yet anyway.
Which brings me back to this review–High West Double Rye! High West is one of the few new distilleries that is actually putting out a product worth having, even if most of what they’ve put out so far is sourced distillate. The craziest part is they aren’t even anywhere near Kentucky! They are based out of Park City, Utah of all places, and are proud to be “the world’s only Ski-in Distillery and Gastro-Saloon.” At least they have a sense of humor.
Their Double Rye consists of (surprise) a blend of two ryes. One is a 2-year-old rye from LDI (now MGP) with a 95% rye / 5% barley mash bill, the other is a 16-year-old rye from Barton Distillery (makers of the under-rated Very Old Barton and my first love, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve). The 16-year-old has a 53% rye / 37% corn mash bill, and I’m guessing the other 10% is barley. All this info can be found on High West’s webpage, in fact props to them for having the most detailed, forward-with-information website of any whiskey producer I’ve come across.
The nose is very botanical–immediately I get leaves, wet grass, forest floor, and the classic LDI dill note which I’ve grown to love, but underneath I find sweet notes of caramel corn and angel food cake. It’s a totally weird, totally enticing nose. A nose that can only come from two vastly different whiskeys being blended together. I won’t even call it harmonious, in fact the two whiskeys are fighting each other in some ways, but I love the fight, and it makes this a special drink, one I’m quite fond of. On the palate the battle still rages, joined by cinnamon, honey, vanilla, and a little dark chocolate which all bring it back down to earth a bit, back to something more familiar I guess you could say. I’m sitting here smiling just thinking about all this beautiful stuff going on in the glass. It’s a damn nice pour.
Leave to the mavericks of the Wild West to blow me away with a bottle of some sourced, married whiskeys. I’m so excited about the future of High West I can hardly stand it!
Rating: 9.4 / 10
This bottle purchased at Total Wine and More in Greenville, SC for $34.99