Thanks to /u/theslicknick6 for the sample
High West Midwinter Night Dram Act 4.1 is a blend of straight rye whiskeys. The rye whiskeys range from 5 – 20 years old, and this whiskey is released yearly, with a new act coming out each year.
The whiskey is aged in new, charred, white American oak and then finished in French oak port barrels.
The name is a play Midsummer’s Night Dream, which was written by William Shakespeare, and involves the Faeries, love potions, and someone making love to an ass.
The mashbills of the ryes used are as follows:
- 95% rye, 5% barley malt from MGP;
- 53% rye, 37% corn, 10% barley malt from Barton Distillery.
- 80% rye, 10% corn, 10% barley malt from Barton Distillery.
This is the fourth I’ve reviewed, and I preferred Act 1 so far. Let’s see how these do.
Price: N/A at the LCBO
Colour: 10R 4/8
Nose: Plums, violets, brown sugar, chilli flakes, Smarties (the Canadian ones), lavender
Violets have a sweet woody, powdery scent to them. Specifically I’m speaking of the flowers here, and not the leaves, which smell differently.
Smarties in Canada are different from Smarties in the US: In the US, they are sugar based powder candies. In Canada, they are a more waxy, thick sugar coated version of M&Ms. We still have M&Ms here.
It’s quite sweet on the nose, with the floral aspects. The violet woody smell eventually goes to a more fabric sweet floral note, which is what lavender smells like.
Taste: Cocoa, wheat, goat cheese, almond, floral, orange zest
Sweet, indistinct floral notes compared to the taste. There’s also some nice amount of orange, sweet soft creaminess/cheese, and it retains some wheat.
Nice amount of chocolate off of the port as well. It balances between the sweet aspects of the port and the rye. Not as spicy as I was expecting.
Finish: Smarties (again, the Canadian ones), brine, caramel, wheat, mace, rum, dill
Please see above for my explanation on what Smarties are.
The brine and dill from the rye pop out here. This is the least port based part of the whiskey. The strong caramel, spice, and rum like notes carry it, and are a nice finish. Some may find them a little disjoint compared to the previous, however the floral/wax/chocolate note ties it all together.
Conclusion: A very floral, chocolate forward dram. This one is stronger than Act 2 or 3, and actually the better than Act 1 as well.
I have a bias for enjoying floral whiskey, and this does floral really well. It’s complex, yet still retains that “bourbon does each individual flavour” really well vibe.
Personally really enjoyed how each flavour worked with one another. It may be too sweet for some. I have a sweet tooth, so that all worked for me.
So if you like floral and sweet flavours, check out this Act.
Bourbon review #197, Utah review #15, Whiskey Network review #1135