This is a private selection of High West’s American Prairie Bourbon by Ace Spirits. It was finished in Quady orange muscat barrels for 2.5 years and bottled at 49.9% ABV.
Nose: Super sweet up front with loads of brown sugar speckled with orange zest. Sourdough notes emerge as it turns a bit yeasty with vanilla extract and a hint of lilac.
Palate: Quite sweet with young oak notes springing up on entry. Orange rind is strong with lots of brown sugar and butterscotch. Turns a bit salty after a bit – some rye notes appear toward the back of the palate after the sweetness fades a bit.
Finish: Butterscotch and orange liqueur notes linger.
Rating: 82/100 – Rather sweet, but the orange muscat definitely shows up which makes for an interesting bourbon profile.
Value for the money: Guessing these retailed around $60-70, and I’d probably pass at that price point.
This is a blend from High West that’s made up of LDI bourbon, LDI rye, and a 100% peated blended malt scotch from an undisclosed distillery.
Nose: Muted rye bread with cardamom, vanilla cream, and oatmeal with cinnamon.
Palate: Young rye up front taking on more of a fresh grain note with a hint of acetone – strong pepper and nutmeg.
Finish: Oak turns quite bitter with a hint of smoke as rye notes fade quickly
Rating: 82/100 – I reviewed this sample before I looked at the makeup of the whiskey, so I didn’t realize there was any peated malt in there. Not sure if it’s a gimmick of sorts with this blend, or if I just didn’t pick up on it the first time.
Value for the money: These retail around $55 or so and I think that’s a pretty fair price.
This is a High West Double Rye Campfire that was finished in a used american oak barrel for 19 months. It was selected by the Reddit /r/bourbon Cask Force and bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Bold young rye with acetone and fresh grains. Rich cake mixed with toasted oak profile.
Palate: Oddly sweet with gingerbread, rye crackers, a dash of salt, and some oak tannins which lend to a great oily mouthfeel.
Finish: Rye lingers for a bit with the toasted oak note, but relatively short and mild all around.
Rating: 82/100 – The rye seems quite muted to me throughout – would’ve liked it to be a bit stronger.
Value for the money: Guesssing this retailed for around $40-$50 or so, which is an ok price.
This is the newer release of the Bourye from High West which is bottled at 46% ABV. Bourye was originally released many years back from High West and was a blend of a 10 year Four Roses bourbon. a 12 year MGP rye, and a 16 year Barton rye. They re-released it last year with a slightly different makeup of a 17 year MGP rye, a 13 year MGP rye, and a 9 year MGP bourbon.
Nose: Interesting – the MGP bourbon really comes off with a typical Brown-Forman profile full of brown sugar and bananas. It’s a bit distracting as while you’re nosing it, it will bounce back and forth between a rye and bourbon in terms of the dominant note. A bit of acetone, old oak, and musty corn.
Palate: Again, strikes me initially as a 10-15 year Brown-Forman bourbon profile being very sweet and fruit forward. Rye kicks in immediately though and adds some nice spice and complexity. A bit more muddled overall than the nose.
Finish: Sweet corn, spicy rye, and young oak – relatively short.
Rating: 85/100 – Looking back, I liked the original Bourye release a decent amount more, but overall this one is still very enjoyable. It’s a unique blend that showcases how bourbon and rye can actually go nicely together.
Value for the money: I believe I paid around $75 for this bottle which I think is a fair price.
This is the 3rd release of the Midwinter Night’s Dram from High West that came out in 2015. This expression is a blend of a 6 year MGP straight rye and a 16 year Barton straight rye that was finished in port wine and French oak barrels. It’s bottled at 49.3% ABV.
Nose: Freshly ground bowl of rye with plums, young oak, berry cobbler, and french vanilla. The port influence is strong here overtaking the powerful rye notes.
Palate: Port taking the lead again with bold fruits accompanied by a nutty oak, rich rye grains, and buttered yeast rolls.
Finish: Sawdust with dark raisins and plums – lingers a good while.
Rating: 88/100 – I really enjoy these MWND, and looking back I appear to like this one better than the Act 2, but I still like the distillery-only Act 1 best of all.
Value for the money: These retailed for around $80 which I think is a fair price. I’ll buy another of the latest act at that price when my bottle runs out.
This is the second release of the MWND (the first being a distillery only expression). It’s a blend of ryes finished in port/french oak casks and bottled at 49.3% ABV.
Nose: Port comes through cleanly and nicely complements the rye notes. Lots of vanilla with plums, brown sugar, and merlot notes.
Palate: Big dose of rye with stewed fruits and rich oak.
Finish: Rye lingers for some time, but the sweeter port notes fade almost instantly.
Rating: 86/100 – I really the combination of port and rye as they complement each other so well in my book.
Value for the money: These typically retail around $80, and I’d buy an Act 3 if they’re still available at that price, but I’d pass on the Act 2 at retail.
This is a 85% oat/15% malted barley expression from High West that was aged 2-4 years and bottled at 42% ABV.
Nose: Raw oats with varnish, compost, and a strange chemical note that reminds me of a freshly opened pack of printer paper.
Palate: Oats with isopropyl alcohol and construction paper.
Finish: Raw alcohol with oatmeal.
Rating: 52/100 – I guess oat whiskey just isn’t for me.
Value for the money: I paid $30 for this, but I think I’d rather pay $30 for someone to take this bottle from me instead.
This was the first release of the High West MWND – it was a distillery only release. It’s a NAS release that’s bottled at 49.3%. It’s a blend of straight ryes that were finished in port barrels.
Nose: Very heavy port/raisin notes right off the bat – rye takes a backseat here. Pepper, french oak, plums, very rich overall.
Palate: Red grape and hot cinnamon spice with some nutmeg. Port casks really stand out.
Finish: Rye spice lingers on with seasoned oak.
Rating: 92/100 – Very good – port is much more noticeable on this release compared to Act 2. However, Act 3 has even more port influence in my mind than Act 1.
Value for the money: These are going for over $200+ on the secondary, but save some money and buy an Act 3 for $80 if they’re still available around you.
This is the original Bourye release from a few years back. High West released a newer version of the Bourye a year or so ago – but it was slightly different in makeup than the original. This is a marriage of a 10 year LDI bourbon, a 12 year LDI straight rye, and a 16 year Barton straight rye and it’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Reminds me of newer Wild Turkey distillate – lots of oak and rich grains. Corn dominant despite the high amount of rye in here – slight dark fruits on the less-sweet side.
Palate: Corn oils up front wrapped in oak with rye standing out much more than in the nose. It begins to take on a Sazerac 18 type rye profile.
Finish: Fairly sweet and grain forward – rye lingers on for a long time.
Rating: 90/100 – Very interesting blend of bourbon and rye – rich but spicy at the same time.
Value for the money: These originals are probably at about $250+ on the secondary, but I’d be a consumer under $100.
This is a 21 year “rye” from High West that was bottled at 46% ABV. I say “rye” as technically this isn’t a straight rye as it was aged in used oak barrels instead of new barrels.
Nose: Exceptionally fruity with strong banana and bing cherries. Rye is soft and delicate, and oak is quite minimal.
Palate: This is a real cherry bomb for me – continues from the nose and leads right into the palate. Oak is definitely more delicate for a 21 year rye – the used cooperage definitely makes a difference.
Finish: Dry, herbal oak with rye spice. Fairly short-lived overall.
Rating: 86/100 – This reminds me of a slightly fruitier Collingwood 21 rye. While it’s an enjoyable pour, would love to try this at a slightly higher proof.
Value for the money: I believe these go for $350+ at the moment, and it’s nowhere near worth that. Buy yourself a Collingwood 21 (retail $50) if they’re available in your state instead – another low proof, older rye that’s way more economical.