Category Archives: High West

High West’s Yippee Ki-Yay (motherf#cker), batch no. 1


Region – Distilled in Indiana, matured and extra matured in Utah – ABV – 46%

High West and her various sourced ryes were the first ryes I got into when I started getting serious about American spirits.

Back then, High West had some 16 & 21yo ryes which were all over store shelves and at pretty decent prices. A bit later on I discovered their Rendezvous Rye (which is a staple here at Chez Hatton), and then even further on I found a truly ballsy one: Double Rye!

David Perkins of High West is quite open about sourcing whiskey and blending it in house. In today’s day and age where stories of “grandpa’s famous recipe has been discovered” are built around sourced hooch, it’s good to know there are people like David Perkins who will not use smoke and mirrors. Rather, he ensures High West is transparent and focuses on the blending techniques and extra maturation processes to make his whiskeys stand out amongst the rest.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Batch 1Today we’ve got a distillery only bottling called “Yippee Ki-Yay” in glass.  The details (taken from are as follows:

TTB designation: A Blend of Straight Whiskies 
• Proof: Bottled at 46 %ABV
• Ratio of component whiskeys: top secret!
• Not chill filtered
•Marriage of two straight rye whiskies
•The 2-year-old
•95% rye
•5% barley malt mashbill (LDI now MGP) 
•The older rye has a “barely legal” rye mashbill of:
•53% rye
•37% corn (Barton Distillery)
•Barrel type: Oak barrel that previously held Vermouth Barrel (Vya, Madera, CA), Oak barrel that previously held Qupé Syrah (Qupé Santa maria, CA)

The extra maturation in Vermouth and Qupé Syrah casks is unique and sounds amazing to me.

Color — Somewhere between Rainwater Madeira and a 10+ yr Madeira

On the nose — The backbone is pure LDI/MGP Rye. Think pine cones and pickles.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Batch 1Surrounding this are layers of cinnamon buns, strawberry sauce, melted butter on spelt bread toast, hints of dry vermouth and dill infused apple cider vinegar (if there were such a thing), dark chocolate, licorice all-sorts. Very herbaceous as well.

This is both very rye-like and very un-rye-like at the same time. A bit of a conundrum, if you will.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Batch 1In the mouth — Massive spice and dark fruits such as prunes, blackberries, black maraschino cherries, and fresh red plums. Salted, chocolate covered caramels.

All this is sitting on a foundation of pickling spices (mustard seed, caraway, dill weed). The mouthfeel is lush and satisfying.

Finish — A long, vermouthy finish with hints of cracked black pepper.

In sum — This is like a port that used rye whiskey for fortification rather than brandy. This is the ultimate dessert dram. Not a rye for everyone as it’s a departure from the category, but if you have an open mind, you will LOVE this.

I know I did. It’s gorgeous stuff.

An interview with David Perkins, the man behind High West Whiskey – part II of II


Video interview with David Perkins of High West – Part II of II: wherein David continues to take us through his new whiskey “Campfire” (my review of Campfire can be found beneath the videos) we discuss peat, blending and he then gives us a virtual tour of High West’s Distillery and award winning restaurant.

You can see Part I of this interview here.

I think the above intro basically tells all.  I hope you enjoy the balance of this interview as much as I enjoyed interviewing David:

And now the fourth and final video:

And finally, my review of High West’s Campfire whiskey – a blend of Bourbon, Rye whiskey and peated Scotch whisky:

High West Campfire – 46%ABV$50

On the nose  Spicy and bright nose. Hints of pine resin and toasted rye bread.  Brown spices and a touch of shoe leather.  Honey and chai.  Approachable/easy.  Joyful.

New charred-oak & subtle spice, jasmine & sandalwood.  Some citrus spice laced with just a hint of smoke as a backbone.

Given the name of the whiskey, not as much smoke on the nose as you’d expect.

On the mouth Forceful attack with big spice upfront.  A nice mouthfeel.   Toast and blueberry jam (notes I love to find with heavier toasted barrels).

Nutmeg, cinnamon and some orange zest.  Floral with citrus spice, like a rye IPA.

Smoke all around the edges, like burning twigs mayhaps…

Wonderful toasty and vanilla spice (chai) on the sides of the tongue.

Finish Long and spicy (with the spice staying toward the back of the tongue).

In sum — A warmer upper for sure.  This is a whiskey with a very “American” attitude however the addition of the Scotch whisky to the blend offers depth and dimension that many bourbons can’t provide.

Kudos to David Perkins for putting in some extra sweat equity in creating a truly different whisk(e)y experience.

Thanks, too, for the sample!

An interview with David Perkins, the man behind High West Whiskey – part I of II


Video interview with David Perkins of High West Part I of II: wherein David tells us about how he started High West and proceeds to take us through his new whiskey “Campfire.” (Campfire, if you’re not familiar, is a blend of bourbon, rye whiskey and peated Scotch whisky – cool stuff)

Over the past few years of running this blog I’ve had the opportunity to meet a whole host of wonderful people.  Whisky geeks and enthusiasts, brand ambassadors, malt masters, master distillers and master blenders.  The list can go on and on and it actually does and will continue to grow, I’m sure.

I met David Perkins, of High West fame, for the first time back in 2010 at WhiskyLive NYC.  High West was one of the tables I knew I had to get to and David Perkins was one of the people I knew I had to meet.  I’ve been a fan of High West for some time before coming to the show and people have told me that David was just a cool, cool guy.

We hit it off right from the get go.  David is a charming dude – smart and funny (not to mention a whiskey blending madman/mastermind).

Fast forward to 2012…  I asked David if he might be interested in being video-interviewed for the blog and he jumped at the chance (thanks again, David!).  So what you’ll see below is a recorded Skype video with David in the big portion of the screen and me in the lower left hand side of the video asking questions.

Rather than me go on and on about how cool David Perkins is, why don’t I let the videos speak for themselves:

Video Part I of IV (with a total of two out of the four videos being posted today):

And now, part II of IV (the second two will be posted tomorrow):

I hope you enjoyed the first installment in this interview.  Please be sure to check in tomorrow for the balance of the interview!

High West Silver Whiskey – Western Oat


Utah – 40%ABV – $25 – $42 (now THAT’s a spread!)

Oat whiskey?  Yeah, oat whiskey.

Actually, the mash bill is comprised of 85% oat and 15% malted barley.

People seem to love the stuff, too:

  • 92 Points “Very Stylish…Will Make Great Cocktails” Beverage Testing Institute
  • GOLD MEDAL – International Review Of Spirits 
  • “A” Rating — “One of the most enjoyable silver whiskeys I’ve ever had” Christopher Null – 

Me, I’m usually more of a malt whisk(e)y, bourbon or rye whiskey sort of a guy.  However, more so than my preferred tastes, I am an adventurous soul and when it comes to whisk(e)y, there’s isn’t anything I wouldn’t try.  Well, except for pissky maybe.

So let’s give this one a go, shall we?

On the nose  Sweet, soft and pillowy.  Much like Steve Martin’s lower cheeks in Planes, Train’s & Automobiles.

Better yet, more like marshmallows.

Speaking of…  There is a distinct marshmallow note to this whiskey.

Very light/clear olive oil.  (Not in color but in scent.  To clarify, more like olive oil from an economy brand bottle where the olive scents are very, very subtle.)

Soapy – and this is a good thing here as it lends a very clean quality to the stuff.

Not overly complex but quite enjoyable.

On the mouth Here’s where it gets good!  That marshmallow note is quite pronounced and the mouthfeel could not be better.  Oily verging on ooey.

Lot’s of dairy going on here as well – sweet cream, powdered creamer, evaporated milk… Dulce de leche?

Again, not super complex but the spirit is so nice.

Finish Somewhat short but those milk & marshmallow notes leave an impression.

In sum – A surprisingly good, easy sippin’, whiskey.  I actually had a small sip of this at WhiskyLive NYC back in 2011 but, admittedly, I was a few whisk(e)y samples in by then so I can’t say as I remembered it.

I know that there are some folks out there that dig their cocktails and I’d imagine that this would go well in one.  However, I really enjoyed this ‘as is’ and you may too.  Kudos to micro distillers that try new stuff.  Kudos to David Perkins and the rest of the people at High West for releasing such an interesting whiskey.

(Maybe you can do a 100% quinoa mash bill and make a whiskey from that so I can imbibe during Passover??)

Special thanks to High West for the sample!

High West Whiskey – Bourye vs Son of Bourye

Park City, Utah – Both bottled at 46%ABV (or 92 proof)

“Oh, how cruel!!  Oh, the humanity!  Yossi is pitting father against son!  How could he do it?  Does he have no heart?!  Isn’t he, himself, a father?!”


Like I’m the first to have even put a father vs son (or vice versa) in a story before.  Have you never heard of the binding of Issac?  Abraham was totally going to knife his kid!

Then there’s the misunderstanding between fathers and sons. Let’s think of Cat Stevens “Father and Son“…

Or even, the story from Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” – talk about a tear jerker!

What about Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker?!

Nah, what I’m offering up is not as intense as the aforementioned daddy-issue, issues.  Today we have a couple of very interesting bourbon/rye blends from High West.  First up:

High West Bourye – 46% ABV$55

Details on this whiskey from the High West folks:

“Bourye’s unique blend features three whiskies: a 10-year-old bourbon with a mash bill of 75 percent corn, 20 percent rye and 5 percent barley malt; a 12-year-old straight rye whiskey that’s 95 percent rye and five percent barley malt; and finally a 16-year-old straight rye with 53 percent rye, 37 percent corn and 10 percent malt. “

On the nose –  Much softer than previous High West Whiskeys I’ve tried but that lovely pickley-dill (piccadilly palare?) quality is wafting about.

Fresh cut grass and shots of wheatgrass.

Fennel seeds (again, like other High West).  Charred oak is obvious.

There is a corn-like quality here though, sweet creamed corn.

On the mouth – VERY much a bourbon.

The sweetness is here and the spice is slight.  Soft in the mouth, not very aggressive.

The second sip reverses the preceding sentence.

Pumpkin spices: Cinnamon, cardamom (slight), nutmeg, allspice (what the heck is allspice anyway?).

A very present and attention demanding whiskey.

Finish – Shortish with lingering vanilla and wood.

High West Bourye – 46% ABV$42

Details on this whiskey from the High West folks:

“Not chill filtered, not carbon treated. Whiskey #1: 5yr Old Bourbon- 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% barley malt, Whiskey #2: 3yr Old Rye – 95% rye, 5% barley malt. The ratios of whiskies are top secret! However, no bourbon today has more rye in the final product!”

On the nose –  Quite a different animal as compared his pop – peppermint and floral air fresheners.

Much more “clean” smelling than Mr. Bourye Senior.

Laminated cardboard candy boxes (that once held candy).

Cut greens yet not like grass – sweet spouts perhaps.

Pencil shavings and wood char.

On the mouth – If Bourye is taking the low road, Son of Bourye is taking the high road.  Not sure how to put this into words but this is light and airy compared to Bourye.

Very grassy which is not something I often get in American whiskeys.  Vegetal and garden like but not garden variety.  Focusing on greens, sweet greens.

The rye in present here, seemingly more so, in comparison with the Bourye, with some added citrus and spice.

Quite fresh and almost palate cleansing (yet full of flavor).  This is a kooky lil’ guy!  Me likey!

Finish – It’s all about subtlety here.  If you pay attention, the finish is long with a slight sweetness.  Spice & citrus all along the edges.

In sum – This is a tough one.  If you like the more fierce bourbons with a high-rye, slightly spicy type quality, then Bourye is for you.  I quite enjoyed the off-the-beaten-pathedness of the Son of Bourye.  It’s a wholly new experience — one that has won my heart.  Son of Bourye had me at Hello.

**As a note: these older whiskeys from High West have not been distilled at their location. Rather, they have purchased this whiskey and, as you can see, are making some amazing blends from that stock. The good news for you is two fold: 1) They have a good deal of this older, purchased stock and 2) High West is also now a true distillery and has been for a few years so we should be seeing some younger stuff come from them very shortly!!**

Special thanks goes out to David Perkins and Erik Fitchett for the samples!!