Thursday, May 5, 2016

High West Yippee Ki-Yay Blended Rye Whiskey

- $70
- 92 Proof
- Batch No. 1

There's always something about that exclusive bottle, the one that's only available at the distillery, the one that I won't be seeing here in Illinois, at least not any time in the immediate future, that just makes me want to have it. Usually it's a bit of a passing feeling, as wanting what I'll never have seems like a waste of time. But, in the case of High West's Yippee Ki-Yay, I actually had a real opportunity to get my hands on a bottle, despite it being available initially only in Utah.

Luckily for me, a friend of mine, the same one who likes to bring me back bottles from his trips to Cincinnati, also makes regular trips to Park City, Utah. So, when High West announced Yippee Ki-Yay, a blend of two ryes, one finished in a vermouth barrel and one in a syrah barrel, and further announced that the first batch would only be available at the distillery, I immediately texted my buddy, knowing he had a ski trip coming up. Lucky for me, when he returned from his trip, he did so with a bottle in hand!

The first thing I noticed is the very reddish hue to the whiskey. It was not only dark, but clearly red, likely from the wine barrel finishes.

On the nose and on the tongue, however, the first thing I noticed was how incredibly sweet this stuff is. It came across heavy on the cane sure, seeming as though rather than being wine barrel finished it was rum barrel finished. It reminded me a lot of the Angel's Envy Rye in this respect. To be honest, the substantial sweetness was a bit overwhelming.

Beyond the up-front sweetness were some really enjoyable flavors, however. There was a sweet cereal flavor to it not unlike that of graham crackers. According to the label, the rye used is High West's Double Rye, and the rye spices eventually make their way through the front line of sugar as well, adding some cinnamon to the finish that would linger around for a while.

In the end, however, the flavors from the vermouth barrel seemed to influence this rye the most, even overpowering the typical, more strong-willed rye flavors and spices.  I really wanted to love this whiskey, but in the end it was, for me, good-but-not-great.

Grade: B-

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