High West Showdown: High West Double Rye! & 12 Year Old Rye

High West Double Rye!, 46% abv (92 Proof), $35/bottle
This is an advance tasting of High West Double Rye!, a new product release for High West slated to hit the market within the next month. I’m very excited to be one of the first to publicly review and rate this whiskey. It turned out to be an excellent one indeed. Double Rye! is a blend of a 16 year old 53% Rye Whiskey (37% corn, 10% Barley Malt) and a 2 year old Rye Whiskey (95% rye).

Color: Pure Gold
Nose: Gin Botanicals, Juniper, Pine Sap, Evergreen, Eucalyptus, Menthol, Mint, Fresh herbs, Honey. Green and fresh with a lurking sweetness and oak character. Truly unique!
Flavor: Immediate rye punch of prickly spices, then Gin, menthol, mint, eucalyptus, wildflower honey, and confectioners sugar flavors abound. Those fantastic fresh notes the nose hinted at are present, but with a really pronounced spiced honey flavor that pieces everything together.
Finish: Long and lingering with honeyed sweetness and warm, prickly rye spice.
Overall: Simply put, one of THE most unique whiskeys I’ve ever tried. The nose is unlike anything I’ve sniffed. Truly it smells of gin and evergreen. These young, fresh flavors I assume come predominantly from the 2 year old rye, while the older 16 year old adds its subtle sweetness and depth as you sip. On the palate the gin-like flavors remain but are softened and rounded by the honey notes. If you enjoy Rye or want to try a really different product than what’s available on the market – Double Rye! fits that bill well. It should be coming your way soon.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.1 (Superb/Outstanding)


High West 12 year old Rye, 46% abv (92 Proof), $49/375ML bottle
High West sells this big ole rye whiskey directly from their Saloon and Distillery in Park City, UT. I believe they have somewhere around a half dozen barrels, so not quite enough to get it out to the masses, but worth a drop by to pick up if you are in the area. David Perkins has done a great job sourcing some of the best rye whiskey made. This one I feel is his very best.

Color: Deep Amber
Nose: Rich and deep at first, then yielding intense rye spice, caramel, honey, mint, anise/licorice, and Juicy Fruit gum. A “wow” rye nose.
Flavor: Caramel and honey entry then yielding to rye heat, clove, nutmeg, chili, and well integrated toasted oak. As the nose hinted, this one is big and rich. An almost bourbon drinker’s Rye. Thick and viscous in mouth feel – delicious!
Finish: Long, Intense, your whole tongue tingles with spice and warmth. Dry oak and rye is interplayed nicely with honey and caramel flavors.
Overall: One of the finest Rye whiskeys I have had in some time. Deep and rich with incredible rye intensity, well balanced sweetness, and oak. I mentioned almost a “bourbon drinker’s rye”. Clearly this is an unmistakable rye whiskey, but it carries a richness with it that few ryes can match. It gets our top marks for the year in the Rye category so far. That is saying a lot because I felt Whistlepig might be my favorite straight rye of the year. This one tops it. Highly recommended.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.5 (Superb/Outstanding)

High West Distillery and Saloon
703 Park Ave, Park City, UT 84060

Note: Samples were provided by High West

High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey

High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey, Batch 47, Bottle 421, 46% abv(92 proof), $40-45

A big ole nose of cinnamon stick, clove, vanilla, peppermint, and burned sugar is freshened up with crisp Green Apple. One of the more interesting noses I’ve been introduced to this year. The first sip is intense with rye spice, volumes of vanilla, some barrel char, and an extremely rich and viscous mouth feel – quite oily and coating. The finish takes hold with huge rye spice, cinnamon, mint, and vanilla and it lingers for ages. Outstanding finish to this whiskey. Drink neat at room temperature to get the full experience, but don’t hesitate to add a few teaspoons of spring water to cool it down a shade. Feel free to mix, but with a whiskey this fantastic, why would you? (Highly recommended).

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 9.4 (Outstanding/Superb)

Note: As mentioned in the video review, High West Rendezvous Rye Whiskey was sourced (read: not distilled by High West) from an undisclosed distillery. It’s a blending of two Ryes, a 6 year old 95% Rye and a 16 year old 80% Rye. This product has been out for a couple of years, but High West being a new distillery, wanted to put a whiskey out to market and did not have enough aged product to do so. Rendezvous Rye was the result. Whatever your opinion may be on “sourced” vs. distilled, or whether or not that’s a true “micro” or “artisan” distillery, the proof is always in the pudding. When these arguments are removed from the equation, this Whiskey stands on it’s own merit. High West does distill other products, namely Vodka, and to my knowledge is producing and aging its own whiskey.