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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

High West Double Rye Barrel Select for Cask Strength Society, barrel 7588

Let us transition from A Midwinter Night's Dram to a single barrel of Double Rye finished for 13 months in a former Midwinter Night's Dram barrel. High West's Barrel Select whiskies are fun on an intellectual level: Take a familiar High West product, finish it in a Wine, Scotch or former cask from the same distillery, then release it at a higher strength. And keep price the price close to that of the original whiskey. In this instance, High West tones down the potential fortified wine influence while also introducing a young rye to an older rye's barrel.

Product: Rendezvous Rye
Producer: High West
Distilleries: Barton and MGP (probably)
Type: Blend of Straight Rye Whiskies
Region: Indiana (MGP) and Kentucky (Barton)
Mashbills: 16 years, 53% rye 37% corn 10% malted barley (Barton) + 2 years, 95% rye 5% malted barley (MGP)
Maturation, part 1: Barton & MGP ryes in separate new white oak barrels
Maturation, part 2: 13-month marriage together in a Midwinter Night's Dram barrel
Barrel #: 7588
Exclusively for: Cask Strength Society
Alcohol by Volume: 49.9%
(Thanks again, Jack!)

There's a mild interplay between the spirit and the barrel, in the nose. On the Double Rye side there's pickle brine, ground mustard seed, anise, a vegetal note and rye white dog (rye dog?, while the MWND barrel brings in berry lollipops. At the intersection of the two is a glazed bacon note and a curious whiff of hot canola oil. The Double Rye rumble wins out in the palate, as it is mostly sharp zippy MGP stuff with a peep of blackberry jam. Mint, peppercorns, rock candy, heat and a hint of wood smoke. It finishes simply with lime candy, mint, wood smoke, black pepper and golden raisins.

The wisely subtle secondary maturation in a former MWND barrel does result in a small improvement over the old Double Rye recipe, which usually seemed younger than its younger ingredients and bereft of its older ryes. This barrel select is less sweet than MWND and doesn't hide its rye heart. It will appeal to those for whom wine cask whiskies are heresy. And it's better than any Double Rye batch I've had. Yet, like the Double Ryes I've had, it's sorely missing something older to bump up into Rendezvous territory.

Speaking of Rendezvous...

Availability - Sold out
Pricing - ???
Rating - 84