High West Double Rye! Batch no. 15F23
Taste score: 92
Category: American Whisky, NDP, Blend
Whisky Cabinet Score: ★ ★ ★ ☆
High West Double Rye is an excellent example of why age statements aren't always relevant. Double Rye is, technically, a 2 year old whisky being sold for a deluxe price point. But one shouldn't focus on that.
The regulations say the youngest whisky in the bottle defines the age statement printed. In this case, High West takes 2 year old aggressive rye (95% rye, and 5% malted barley) and blends it with a "barley legal" rye (53% rye, and 37% corn) aged for 16 years. The young aggressive whisky gives this rye its edge. The older rye offers a depth of flavor. We've seen this typing of blending in other successful whiskies, such as Wild Turkey Rare Breed.
But who would pay this much for a rye that's technically a two year old whisky? Enthusiasts. Like many new distilleries, High West is too new to mass-produce its own whisky. Instead, they've purchased barrels of whisky from distilleries like MGP of Indiana. Unlike many young whisky producers, that attempt to hide where the whisky is from, High West discloses the source of the whisky. This openness appeals to an audience that appreciates the story of the whisky.
High West is a whisky I don't get to taste as often as I'd like to. The Whiskey Jug has reviewed many, and I recommend checking those out.
Nose: Earthy freshly cut grass floral nose, wet oak, hard candy, with a hint of maple sweetness. It's a little like walking through a forest after hours of rain, where the ground is just starting to dry. Big rye fans are likely to immediately love the nose.
Palate: Surprisingly soft start with caramel hard candy moving into soft melted caramel, and rye peppery spice. There are some charred notes, and the zest is in the realm of blood oranges. The finish is hot, peppery, with a wonderful toffee.
Conclusion: Wonderfully thoughtful rye that has a lot going on (in a good way!). Not all the flavours are in sync, but that edge gives the whisky a boisterous character that's quite lovely. The earthy notes on the nose are well worth savoring before the first sip.
*Whisky Cabinet Rating Explained:
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ Not recommended
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ Good whisky, but not a ‘must-have’
★ ★ ☆ ☆ Your great regular rotation whisky that'll come and go
★ ★ ★ ☆ Excellent, a near must-have
★ ★ ★ ★ Extraordinary, memorable, and original