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High West Whiskey - Rendevous

An award winning new rye whisky from High West

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Review: High West Whiskey – Rendezvous

  • Feb 25, 2010

High West Whiskey – Rendezvous (89.5/100)
A Review by Chip Dykstra (Aka Arctic Wolf)

A Brand new Whiskey company is on the block with their distillery in of all places Utah Wyoming.  Even more amazing is the ski in distillery salloon.  Although High west has not aged any of their own whiskey long enough to sell, I think we can gather some information about what their ultimate plans are by reviewing this unique blend of two straight Rye whiskeys. The first a 6 yr old 95% rye and the second a 16 yr old 80% rye. Each was aged in new oak prior to blending.  High West purchased the whisky in Kentucky and blended and bottled their Rendevous.

High West Rendezvous

In the Bottle: 3.5/5.0

A nice bottle design with a sealed cork topper. Close examination of the cork reveals a large crack, indicating break down of the cork already. I wish the topper would have been wax sealed for storage, and the entire presentation should have been in some sort of sleeve to protect against UV damage or the glass frosted. The protective sleeve is just a niggle, but as a collector I wish North American distillers would learn a little from the Scots. I may own a bottle for ten or twenty years before it is opened, or resold. I want the contents unchanged.

In the Glass: 9.5/10

Upon pouring the bottle we have a really nice nose. Full spicy Rye with a ribbon of bourbon vanilla. Swirling the glass we get some small legs indicating a little oil in the mix. Nice! Letting the glass sit the bourbon note becomes stronger but still spicy ryeness dominates. I wouldn’t call this floral, but we do have a bit of alpine meadow here.

In my Mouth: 54/60

I can taste three distinct flavours here. First is a spicy hard rye which reached up and grabbed my tonsils as soon as the first mouthful hit the back of my throat. Behind the first wave we have a smoother spice which coats my palate. I taste oak tannin disguising itself as cloves and cinnamon, but with a gentle oil giving this depth. The two ryes don’t really compete for my attention, The first rye grabs it and the second rye holds it. Entwined within this ocean of rye is a ribbon of bourbon and vanilla. Whether this is the result of fresh oak or the result of corn in one or both of the mashes I am not certain. We have a nice ocean of rye with a bourbon influence that compliments but does not dominate. However a certain bitter punkiness (probably wayward sulpher or maybe that oak tannin I mentioned earlier) arises in the very bottom of this ocean spoiling what could have been sensational.

In the Throat: 13.5/15

A very nice burn with a nice long finish. The spicy rye stays in my palate and the ribbons of bourbon leave their trails in my throat. A small foggy bitterness stays at the very back of the throat.

The Afterburn: 9.0/10

I really like how the rye is front and center. The 46% alcohol gave this a really nice kick as well. My final impression though is one of tiny details left undone, maybe the two ryes in the blend needed a marriage in oak before bottling. Maybe the inferior corkage put that hint of bitter note into the mix. It hard to say. I really want to score this higher but when I go through my ratings I just can’t quite justify it.

Please visit The Rum Howler Blog (and now Whisky Too!) for more great reviews

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March 09, 2010
Thanks for the review Chip! We are currently selling this product in Alberta, Canada but are in the process of getting it listed in other provinces. It is actually interesting to note that these US producers (what do they know about making a Canadian drink?!) blend a 16 year old rye that is made from 80% rye grain and a 6 year old rye that is made from 95% rye grain. Due to the cost of these grains most distillers will use cheaper grains. Judging by your review and the accolades it has earned I would say that it definitely makes a difference.
February 26, 2010
I've never seen whiskey broken down like this, but I love it.  So many factors to take into account that I've never even thought about, so thanks for sharing, Chip!  By the way, did you notice that this review was featured on Lunch's Facebook fan page this morning?  Bravo! :)
About the reviewer
Chip Dykstra ()
Ranked #1
I have my own Blog called The Rum Howler Blog (and Whisky now too!) where I review Spirits and try to pair them with great cocktails.   Member of RumXP (International Panel of Rum Experts)   … more
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About this product


High West is Utah’s first distillery since the 1870’s, .located  7000 feet in the Wasatch Range of the Rocky Mountains in Old Town Park City, Utah.  Amazingly The High West Distillery also features a ski in Saloon.

High West Distillery and Saloon began when distiller David Perkins married his background as a biochemist with his love of bourbon and his passion for the American West to bring the craft of small-batch distilling back to Utah, of all places.

The Rendevous Whisky won Double Gold at the prestigous San Franscisco Wold Spirits Competition.

Note: This information courtesy of www.highwest.com
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Brand: High West Whiskey - Rendevous
Category: American Whiskey

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