A Pair of Rare and Coveted High West Single Barrel Exclusives – American Whiskey News

Collector Favorites from One of America’s Most Exciting Whiskey Brands
“These coveted High West Single Barrels never disappoint…”
— Andrew Whiteley, K&L NorCal Spirits Buyer

If you are a fan of High West, or even more generally American whiskey, then you simply have to experience these single barrel exclusives. These meticulously crafted blends were specifically selected for a unique wood treatment. The first, a double rye, spent its time in a Scotch cask, while the second, a bourbon blend, was finished in an Armagnac barrel. These results are, in a word, transcendent. Profoundly engaging, strikingly complex, and undeniably delicious, this pair over-delivers in a big way. As one would expect, the Scotch-finished double rye offers a distinctly smoky element, reminiscent of High West’s wildly popular Campfire bottling. Graced with enticing notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and mint, it also delivers just the right amount of heat. The Armagnac-finished bourbon bottling for its part offers a panoply of exotic spices and a pleasing sweetness that carries from the first sip to the last. $55 is a very small price for whiskeys of this caliber. We’ve already sold through a significant portion of our allocation, so you’ll want to act now to secure these resplendent expressions.

This incredible single cask of High West’s famous Double Rye spent one year and 11 months finishing in a Scotch barrel that previously held the mysterious whisky that is added to their Campfire blend. While High West declines to share the source of this magical smoky dram, it’s a fair bet it’s from everyone’s favorite Scottish island famous for peat smoke. Basically this drinks like a spicier and cask strength version of Campfire, and it’s incredible. The double rye is made up of MGPs classic 95% rye, 5% malted barley and High West’s own 80% rye, 20% malted rye distillate ranging from 2-7 years old. The younger whiskey provides the spice and heat, and the older whiskey provides the mellow sweet vanilla components. With nearly two additional years in a Scotch barrel to bring it all together and impart that special salt and smoke, this barrel is a unique twist on High West’s classic Campfire Whiskey.

High West “Double Rye” K&L Exclusive Barrel #9281 Scotch Cask Finished Rye Whiskey (750ml) ($54.99)

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 05, 2020

Upon the first pour the nose doesn’t display a ton of smoke, but after letting it coat and mellow in the glass, it shows up in a big way. It’s a rich smoke, heavy and lingering, but not overwhelming. The pervasive intensity of High West’s Double Rye stands up like a brave cowboy in a gunfight ready to duel the smoke from the barrel. A sweet eucalyptus/mint note cools the situation off. A little bit of salt plays well with the cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and caramel that abound. The finish really highlights the smoke beautifully—just a whisper of the peat that created it is to be found, a mossy and cool ground under a canopy of higher-toned flavors. These coveted High West single barrels never disappoint, but if you’re a Scotch lover, this may just be the best one you’ll see.

Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: January 05, 2020

This incredibly unique bottling of High West incorporates pretty much every element you could want in a great whiskey. High West starts with a blend of two ryes, one younger and one older, each with their distinct flavors to balance each other. The younger rye adds anise, eucalyptus, and cinnamon, while the older rye gives classic vanilla and caramel to fluff it out a bit. The nose is soft and sweet without much hint of smoke. If double rye wasn’t impressive enough, it’s finished in an old Scotch whisky barrel. The Scotch barrel lends a sweet, earthy smoke note on the back end. This results in an incredible blend of sweet and slightly peaty whiskey with great depth and length. This is one of the better whiskeys I’ve come across in a while, and I was truly impressed by its complexity.

High West “American Prairie” K&L Exclusive Single Barrel Armagnac Finish Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) ($54.99)

The fabulous whiskies coming out of High West have long been regulars on our shelf, but it’s the single barrel offerings that really take it to the next level. Each year they come through with a smattering of hand-selected casks. These are unusual for a number of reasons. First, they are actually finished blends re-casked in various oak. For instance the standard American Prairie is a blend of 2 to 13 year old straight bourbons from several distilleries. The blend is then re-casked for marrying purposes before bottling. After the marrying period, this whisky—likely two barrels worth were dumped in to an old Armagnac barrel for almost two years before bottling. We’re pretty picky about barrel finishes, but High West is consistently knocking it out of the park. The old Gascogne oak does a lot to frame the excellent bourbon flavors without masking or marring the inherent goodness that the High West blending team has created. Add the fact that she’s clocking in at a healthy 102.2 proof cask strength and you’ve got one of the most exciting whiskies of the season. For once we’ve got decent stocks of a single barrel, because since the Armagnac cask can hold two whole bourbon barrels, we were able to secure over 400 bottles of this beauty. Nonetheless, it will be years until we see another whisky quite like this one coming out of Utah. Expect unctuous sweetness and powerful vanilla pointed by exotic spice from the rare French oak.

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