Barton

Review: High West Rendezvous Rye Straight Rye Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

High+West+Rendezvous+1.jpg
ABV
46%
Aging
New Charred Oak; 2 and 16 yrs old
Recipe
Blend of 6 and 16 year old straight rye
Distiller Multiple (USA)

Perhaps the most well known product from High West, Rendezvous is a blend of 2 rye whiskies – a 6 year old and a 16 year old. 6 year rye from MGP (95% rye, 5% barley) and the 16 year old rye is from a mashbill of 80% rye, 10% corn, and 10% malted barley from Barton. This uses a large proportion of unmalted rye. Now, the 16 year old rye from Barton is being phased out, replaced with High West’s own rye.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 16E11

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

A nice, rich, oaky nose – full of spicy mint and some terrific underlying floral notes. A terrific nose – great underlying dried fruit, cherry, earth, brown cardamom, corn husks, and some light mineral notes. Much richer and broader than double rye – buttery, oaky, and full of such rich rye to boot. The palate is spicy, broad, and complex – with a contrast between the sweet oak, spice, and rye floral notes. And great underlying vegetal notes. I do love floral rye. The finish shows some dried apricot and toasted macadamia. Terrific!

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. Great whisky, but fairly pricy too.


Review (2019)

  •  Batch: 17C23

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2018

This rye is still using the 16 year old rye from Barton, but it’s one of the last batches to do so.

Loads of dill, sweet and sharp oak, vanilla, cinnamon, rich marsh, arugula, mint, mixed berries, and some toasted fennel. What a nice whisky! The palate is oaky, spicy, and lightly fruity. Chipotles, oak, dill, maple, charred oak, sorrel, and a touch of nutmeg. The finish has some nice dill, oak, and clove. A nice mix of leafy, spicy vegetables (radish sprouts, arugula), baking spice, oak, and sweet oak.

Very Highly Recommended (18% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

The taste is on the edge in terms of this rating category, but this is such a classic example of a deep, complex, and broad American rye – it really is quite unique. Furthermore, it’s not too oaky and has a nice elegant touch to it as well. It’s one of my favourite – if not my favourite – American rye that is fairly easy to find.

Value: Average. It’s a very nice whisky, and sits in the average price range for a whisky of this qu


Review: 1792 Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

1792 Full Proof.jpg
ABV
62.5%
Aging
8.5 yrs; New Charred Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 15% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Barton (Bardstown, Kentucky)

As the industry listens to what bourbon fans want, we are continuing to see barrel proof versions of standard bourbons, like this 1792 (though this is a limited release, and not quite barrel proof).

The LCBO, classically, did their own testing of this bourbon when it came in and restamped all the bottles with 61.87% rather than the 62.5% advertised on the label (the ABV at which the liquid goes into the barrel). 8 and a half years old.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code:K16205 21:47 05

  • Botting Date: 2016

The nose has maple, dried apricot, prune, cinnamon, oak, cherry, pear,  menthol, and vanilla sugar. Rich, and dense – really opening up with water. The palate has a nice lacing of oak alongside lots of stone fruit, dark chocolate, cinnamon, and clove. It’s packed with flavor – fruit, oak, and spice. The finish is slightly tannic with a reasonable hit of spice, yet also retaining a dark fruit character and rich coconut. The complexity didn’t come out the way I hoped it would, given how I enjoy 1792. An enjoyable, high proof, modern bourbon.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, based on $65. According to my numerical scores that I assign, this is at the upper end of average. But good cask strength bourbons are pretty rare for these prices, so I bumped it up.


Review: High West Yippee Ki-Yay by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
New Charred Oak; 2 and 16 yrs old
Recipe
A blend of 2 straight rye whiskies finished in vermouth casks
Distiller Multiple (USA)

This is very unique - a blend of 2 straight rye whiskies (the same as in Double Rye), finished in Syrah wine and vermouth casks. Talk about interesting!


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 2

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Very interesting notes – a huge nose. Lots of fruit, nuts, and combined with spicy rye. Caramel, red tannic wine, raisins, oak, cinnamon, black cherry, almonds, cookie dough, and oxidized wine. A lot of black cherry. The palate is full of vermouth – rancio, spices, wine – sour, sweet, and spicy. It’s remarkable, but a bit too vermouth-y for my sort of whisky. Lots of cinnamon, star anise, and dry spices. The finish is terrific – buttery, oaky, and spicy – and I do love rancio.

A very interesting whisky, and a great one to have for the sake of diversity – but it is pushing the boundaries of whisky since it tastes more like a liquer than a whisky. Not a bad thing, but I do like grain and oak. If it were a bit less liquer-ish I’d rate it higher, but exceedingly complex and interesting. But the dynamics at play aren’t really driven by whisky, it’s just a vehicle.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). This is one of the most unique whiskies I’ve tasted…

Value: Low. I don’t quite like it enough to pay this for it, but it is rather unique!


Review: High West Campfire Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
>5 yrs old
Recipe
A blend of Scotch, Straight Bourbon, and Straight Rye Whiskey
Distiller Unknown (Scotland) and MGP (Indiana)

This is not something you see often (if ever) - a blend of blended malt scotch whisky,  straight bourbon, and straight rye. The scotch is peated, but not Islay, the bourbon is from MGP (75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley) and the rye is from MGP (95% rye, 5% malted barley).


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 14K20-A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2014

The nose is incredible – smoke, cedar hedges, wood, floral rye – lilacs and geraniums, buttery corn on the cob, bourbon – a terrific crossover between some great spirits. The peat character itself is quite dry, mineral, and woody – and marvelous with all the spices. The palate is buttery, peaty, spicy, and yet with the grain character of corn and rye – not something you see in Scotch, for even blended scotch is produced without showing the character of the underlying corn or wheat grains used. The finish is lightly sweet and confectionary, and yet with sharp smoke, spice, and a terrific thread of rye. Brilliant! High West is definitely a distillery to follow.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average. A bit expensive, but it is rather unique and it’s quite good!


Review: High West Double Rye Straight Rye Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46%
Aging
New Charred Oak; 2 and 16 yrs old
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Multiple (USA)

Called „the spiciest rye in the world”...not quite in my books (I think Wiser’s Triple Barrel even tops this). A blend of two different rye whiskies – the founder really liked a 2 year old rye from MGP, and wanted to tame it with an older rye – a 16 year old from Barton. 95% rye, 5% malted barley combined with 53% rye and 37% corn and 10% malted barley.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: 15D15

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: ~2015

Very spicy, with complex, young rye whisky – anise, peppercorn, celery, cinnamon, green oak, chicory, clove, mint, radish, pine, and corn husks. There is an ever so light oiliness that works great. A bit brash with all the youth – but still very nice. The palate continues, full of spice but tempered a bit with a middle that has some pear and peach, which carries it to a surprisingly soft finish – much like vanilla and spice poached peaches. The finish is nicely drying, and there are some great undertones of juniper, too. This stuff works really well. The rawness of the youth brings it down a touch, but it is still immensely interesting and well put together.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average.


Review: 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

ABV
46.85%
Aging
New Charred Oak
Recipe
~75% Corn, 15% Rye, 10% Malted Barley
Distiller Barton (Bardstown, Kentucky)

This whisky is 8 years old (well, was, I suppose, in 2013 before the age statement dropped) – older than the average bourbon, and very much done more in the style of a “modern” bourbon – a bit more of a silky and soft sort of bourbon. The distillery is owned by Sazerac, who also own Buffalo Trace Distillery, and they give quite a nice and different distilery tour which I quite recommend – it’s a bit more industrial than the others if you’re in the area and it’s not even on the official Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The 1792 on the bottle refers to the year that Kentucky became a state. Recently the bottled was changed and, to me, the new bottle looks much more like a cognac bottle than a bourbon bottle. Too bad, really – I quite like the look of the old bottle (as pictured above).


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: K13 207 08:19

  • Botting Date: 2013

Nose: Sweet nose, this one, and a touch sour. Very nutty- peanuts, pralines, hazlenuts, also with dried apricot, dried cherries, sultana raisins, fresh apricot, vanilla, marshmallows, caramel, maple cookies, chocolate, and earthy wood. A bit of a barnyard aroma here and there, as well. Some off-key harshness lifts off the glass too with time which I find quite detracting – but this dissipated once the bottle was open a few weeks. A great nose…the rich, fat grain is so enticing.

Taste: Thick, with chocolate and cherries before a bit of an mint-tinged oak takeover in quite decent fashion. The earthiness of the oak is enticing, as so often with good bourbons. Not hugely spicy, this one – it’s more of a honeyed and elegant bourbon rather than a spice bomb.

Finish: New oak, vanillins, corn influence, and some more of that nuttiness. The finish has decent length, though sometimes a bit simple and light.

Pleasant, easy sipper. It’s very nice –a bit different than the other bourbons produced out of that distillery which are a bit of an older style – a bit rougher and spicier (and I like them quite a bit!)

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, but nearly high, at this price ($50).