High West - Bourye
Nose: The nose is a bit on the light side, with a decent amount of vanilla and some caramel. The scent is mild and inviting but nothing about it is particularly distinct. Palate: The first sip had a combination of spiciness and smokiness. The mouthfeel is a bit watery but still favors a linger in your mouth. The heat comes across mostly in the finish and is a pleasant warming, vice harsh or burning. Later sips definitely brought out the rye spiciness but added an interesting malty character. There was also some ginger and a little bit of cinnamon. The finish is on the shorter side of medium and the flavor doesn’t change all that much in the finish. This lends itself very nicely to a “long sipping session”, where you take your time with your glass. Much later sips seemed to get chewier, deeper in flavor and more complex, including some cocoa flavors. Interestingly, the rye spiciness seems to diminish in the much later sips. But….If you like a more rye heavy bourbon, you’ll like this. It doesn’t have the level of sweetness I usually like, but I still enjoyed this quite a bit. Comments: This is an early bottle of this High West variation. In fact, it is from Batch #1. It is 92 proof and it is a blend of Bourbon and Rye (thus, the name). This is sourced whiskey (recent releases came from MGP, according to the company website, but Internet sources indicate that for Batch #1, the bourbon came from Four Roses, the 12 yr rye from LDI and the 16 yr rye from Baron) and according to the back label, the bourbon is a 10 year old with a mashbill of 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% malted barley. That is blended with two different ryes; a 12 year old with a mashbill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley and a 16 year old with a mashbill of 87% rye, 5% corn and 10% malted barley. This is considered a “limited release”, so it may not be available all the time and newer versions are sure to be different than this one. They have also changed the label since I purchased this bottle years ago (possibly 2011). I find High West to be an interesting operation. They obviously have a person with a good palate for whiskey sourcing their products and they are still willing to take a risk now and again. This was a risk when they first brought it out, but it was well done, so it is still available, even though current versions will taste different than this one. Although the bottle is very tall and a bit of a pain to put on the shelf, I do like the design of it (the glass has an old-timey “wrinkled” look to it).