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.
Today we’ve got a distillery only bottling called “Yippee Ki-Yay” in glass. The details (taken from highwest.com) 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
•5% barley malt mashbill (LDI now MGP)
•The older rye has a “barely legal” rye mashbill of:
•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.
Surrounding 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.
In 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.