- 98.6 Proof
This bottle was my Valentine's Day gift from my wife! After a long weekend of winter camping with the Cub Scouts, in which my son got incredibly sick and we had to pack up and leave in the middle of the night, seeing this bottle waiting for me in my cabinet when I got home late at night (or, rather, very early in the morning) was indeed the kind of cap to my weekend I needed!
I had not pulled the trigger on any of the previous releases of A Midwinter Nights Dram that High West put out, but luckily they've kept releasing them. I finally got my hands on one, and I'm so glad I did!
The nose is soft and subtle, revealing the dark fruit character of this rye. I noticed a blend of plum and dark cherry, along side vanilla and sweet tobacco leaf. While the traditional rye notes came through, this immediately came off as something different and unique . . . and tasty!
On first sip, it was clear that this is what many people describe as a "dessert whiskey," sweet and rich and, well, yummy! The port certainly lends a fruity profile to the rye, with notes of plum and blackberry. I'm not sure if it's the blend with the rye that provided the flavor or the port itself, but the dark fruit notes were complemented by a distinct dark chocolate flavor, so rich that it made me think of a dark chocolate and blackberry mousse (not that I've ever had such a dessert, but I'm sure it exists on some restaurant menu somewhere).
And that sweet, rich flavor was balanced out by the traditional rye flavors and spices, again offering a perfect complement to the other flavors. The rye provided a cinnamon and brown sugar flavor on the back end, offering just enough spice to add to the complexity of the whiskey and not to detract from the many other flavors.
The whiskey was smooth and coated the mouth well, but did not come across as too thick or oily. On the spectrum of viscosity, from watery to thick, I'd put this somewhere in the middle. It had plenty of "legs," though, to let me enjoy the flavors well after each swallow.
It's not a super-high proof whiskey, coming in at 98.6 proof, but even at that proof the alcohol burn is non-existent. Ultimately, this is an incredible rye, with the traditional rye flavors but the added bonus of the well-balanced port finish. High West did something incredibly right here. I had to force myself to slow down on this bottle and savor it a bit, otherwise I would have gone through this bottle in no time, it was so good.