...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, June 3, 2019

High West A Midwinter Night's Dram, Act 6 Scene 2

After my Rendezvous Rye and Elijah Craig posts, some readers assumed that I still drink American whiskey -- which is technically true since summer has arrived early -- and provided me with three samples of High West ryes. Since I'm about to flood everyone with more single malt scotch reviews, now would be a good time to pause and post some rye stuff.

The first sample, donated by Jack (thank you!), is a recent batch of Midwinter Night's Dram. As you see from the post's title, High West has now flown beyond Shakespeare's usual five-act structure into the undiscovered country of a sixth act. Who knows what will happen with their new ownership, other than the nuking of their ryes, so let's enjoy the MWNDs while they're still here.

If you're new to the game, A Midwinter Night's Dram is Rendezvous Rye finished in Port casks. I've heard that recent batches have been winier than the early ones, and there seems to be combination of the old recipe and new recipe involved (see below) now. In any case, here's 2018's Act 6, Scene 2.

Producer/Blender: High West
Ownership: Constellation Brands
Type: Blend of Straight Rye Whiskies
Region: Indiana (MGP), Kentucky (Barton), Utah (High West)
Mashbill: 95% rye, 5% barley malt from MGP; 
80% rye, 20% malted rye from High West Distillery; 
53% rye, 37% corn, 10% barley malt from Barton Distillery; 
80% rye, 10% corn, 10% barley malt from Barton Distillery
Primary Maturation: charred white oak barrels
Secondary Maturation: "port and french oak barrels"
Alcohol by Volume: 49.3%

Berry-loaded tawny port arrives first in the nose, with hints of mesquite and tar in the background. Then cherries, plum wine and roasted corn. Hints of ume, rye bread, fennel seeds and celery appear occasionally. With time, there's more rye and milk chocolate. Lots of sweet citrus, plum wine, caramel apples and cayenne pepper in the palate. It reads more like bourbon than rye. Well, it reads more like fortified wine than either of those. It gets sweeter and jammier with time, while also picking up some good tartness. The finish is sweet, plummy and minty. Sawdust, raspberry jam, black pepper and tart citrus.

While it's indeed winey or porty, this batch of Midwinter Night's Dram works as a dessert whisky. I mean, I shouldn't like as much as I do. There's no balance between the port, oak and whiskey (unlike the other two batches I've reviewed); and it's as sweet as a liqueur. But it's yummy. And the yummy factor is difficult to discount. So there it is. You may take the below rating with a spoonful of sugar.

Also, My Gourd, the price?!

Availability - Probably sold out
Pricing - recent batches are going for $90-$180, some comedians are charging $300
Rating - 84