Thanks to /u/ScotchChick for the sample.
So let’s start High West Double Rye! That’s not me being excited, just the name of the whiskey. That’s a mixture of 2-year-old rye and 16-year-old rye, each sourced from a different company. This was made before they started adding in their own rye. Or is that Rendezvous now? I think that’s RR. None the less, we start with those.
Then we take ex-Quady Black Muscat port casks. Woah, what? Quady is a winery in southern California. Specifically the San Joaquin Valley. They started in 1975. Black Muscat, which they use in a dessert port-style wine, is a red Vitis vinifera grape variety known for being highly aromatic. So not a cloying sweet wine, more big and clean. Given the write-up, I’d assume the casks were from their Elysium wine, which has been going strong since 1983, aka when I was barely one year old.
The idea was they took in these grapes originally destined for a church that shut down and the driver needed to unload them.
Heck, they even recommend mixing this wine with whisky as a drink. So it makes sense to finish a whiskey with it.
But is this the right whiskey? Was it done the right amount? Do these question marks mean mean I’m finally getting to the review? Let’s see how it tastes, shall we?
Barrel No. 3052
Casks Used: Finished in ex-Quady Black Muscat port casks for 2.5 years
Colour: 5YR 3/8
Nose: Brown sugar, popcorn, oatmeal spice cookie, floral, plum
Okay, starts out like a rye. Nice molasses flavour, some buttery/cereal popcorn note, and some oatmeal spice.. Wait, what the fuck? Oh, there’s no comma there. Oatmeal spice cookie. Yeah, more of that sugar and cereal going on.
Water brings out some floral and plum elements. Now we’re into the port influence. They don’t seem to be lining up.
Taste: Licorice, gummy candy, ginger, lemonade
Spice, but that goes away. It’s here that there’s more sweet, fruity, candy-like notes. I keep searching for more and it doesn’t really deliver. There’s no strong plums or floral elements that I want and the spice is fighting with candy. Like I do. Every damn chance I have to have candy.
Finish: Strawberry, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, grape pop
Finish is nice with more fruit and some background spice. But it’s too background. We need more of the rye, and the wine casks have muted this.
It’s nice to sip on. Good fruit element. But maybe too much.
Conclusion: Really wish this had more spice. Think this may have gotten away from them. Or maybe this specific batch of Double Rye! wasn’t strong enough.
Here’s what I’m thinking: I still believe this mixture should work. It’s a no brainer. And I’m not just saying that because that POS pop song plays and gets stuck in my head. No, this should work. They just need to tweak it a lot. A stronger rye to hold up to the strong port cask.
That all said, that’s what I wanted. There’s very little here to turn you away. It is spice and port cask, and I’m a sucker for those things. This is your Autumn dram. With some polish I think this could be great. For now? Needs work.
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