Rye whiskey can show a range of flavors, and it doesn’t have to dominate. High West Rye whiskey has a lineup that shines in that regard.

Ah, the romance of the American West…

Scenic vistas with roaming bison, snow-capped peaks in the distance, rodeos with cowboys on horseback…that’s what I remember from a camping trip with my family in Yellowstone National Park some ** ahem ** years ago. It truly was beautiful, and still is (at least when the area isn’t on fire or overrun with tourists). This scene popped in my head when I heard we were going to be sampling High West Rye whiskey at last week’s Whisky Wednesday at Gordon’s DTX. And for good reason…High West distillery, located in Park City, Utah, evokes the Old West in all its expressions. Yee-haw!

There was a time that I didn’t like rye whiskey, but slowly, over time I’ve come to appreciate its distinctive flavor. Whether there’s just a hint in the background to it hitting you in the face, rye doesn’t shrink from the limelight. If a distiller uses it in their mashbill, you can bet it’ll be tasted in some fashion. To me, rye has a range of flavors…lightly toasted almonds, caraway seeds, anise, or toasted walnuts. I can see how rye can add depth to whatever it’s in, so it’s interesting then that the rye in High West Rye whiskey isn’t always the dominant note but shares the stage with its fellow mashbill components. The lineup below really shows this notion well.

On to the tasting…

 

High West Rye whiskey sign
Evoking the Old West in the middle of Boston

High West Rye Whiskey

At Gordon’s DTX, August 18, 2018

High West Double Rye

46%ABV, 2 & 6 yr
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: American Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: caramel, rye, oak, white pepper
  • Taste: soft to start, gets sweeter, cinnamon and cloves, rye is gentle
  • Finish: fades to cinnamon red hots, the cloves grow
  • Comments: rye isn’t overpowering, mice and sweet; a good entry to rye (the name is misleading); good for cocktails

High West Rendezvous Rye

46%ABV, 6 & 16yr
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: American Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: sweet, spicy, orange peel, light cinnamon
  • Taste: soft the spicy, rye rises and dominates, baking spices rise up and last
  • Finish: the baking spices linger, brown sugar
  • Comments: more of a bite, very nice to sip and enjoy, has character

High West Yippee Ki-Yay

46%ABV
Rendezvous aged in Vermouth & Syrah
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: American Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, Rye Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey, Vermouth Cask Finish, Whiskey, Wine Cask Finish
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: soft sweet rye, some brown sugar, vanilla fudge
  • Taste: soft, spice delayed, cinnamon red hots tempered with brown sugar
  • Finish: the tempered baking spices fade slowly
  • Comments: layers upon layers, I really like this one

High West Rye whiskey - Double Rye, Rendezvous Rye, Yippee Ki-Yay Rye

 

High West Double Rye Barrel Select

51.3%ABV
Finished in an Islay scotch barrel, Gordon's Select bottle
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: American Whiskey, Cask Strength, Reused Peated Cask Finish, Rye Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: rye, cedar, vanilla, almost menthol
  • Taste: medium body, chewy, oily, vanilla, soft baking spices, green notes in the background
  • Finish: the baking spices linger, then menthol
  • Comments: it’s bourbon with a hint of pine

High West Campfire

46%ABV
Blend of bourbon, rye, and scotch from Islay
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: American Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, Bourbon, Islay, Rye Whiskey, Scotch, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: brown sugar, vanilla, lightly green
  • Taste: caramel, ash, light body, sweet & smoky, muted baking spices
  • Finish: the ash lingers, sweet brown sugar lasts softly on the tongue
  • Comments: the smoke adds another layer of flavor that’s very pleasant

High West Bourye

46%ABV
Blend of bourbon and rye
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: American Whiskey, Blended Whiskey, Bourbon, Rye Whiskey, Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Straight Rye Whiskey, Whiskey
Author: Tammy Spencer, Scotch & Scones

Tasting Notes

  • Nose: cinnamon, rye, vanilla
  • Taste: thick body, starts sweet, toasted walnuts show up
  • Finish: toasted walnuts give a deep tang
  • Comments: starts as bourbon, goes through rye, end in a dark flavor; so good!

High West Rye whiskey - Double Rye, Campfire Rye, Bourye

 

 

High West Rye whiskey bottles with glass
That’s some nice tasting juice, pard’ner

 

High West Rye whiskey bottle lineup
A fine rye whiskey lineup, this is

 

I can truly say that I like rye whiskey now, and will be open to trying more High West Rye whiskey. I’ll be visiting the West when drinking it, if only in my mind. If you get to go there, just remember…take only pictures and leave only footprints. And sip your whiskey.

Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!

Tammy

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