Friday, December 30, 2016

High West Double Rye! Binny's Barrel Select Blended Malt Scotch Finished

- $50
- 104.2 Proof
- Min. 2 years (then finished for 1.4 years)
- Barrel #3634

At the same time that I picked up a bottle of the Black Muscat finished Double Rye! from High West, I also grabbed a bottle of their Blended Malt Scotch finished Double Rye! For one reason or another, though, I took my time in getting around to this bottle. The idea behind it is interesting, though, as the traditional Scotches seem to have such contrasting and almost opposite flavors to that of American rye whiskeys, and to me this was a finish that was either going to work or it wasn't.

The first few pours of this didn't really give me a feeling one way or another though. The nose was almost all rye spice. It carried a lot of cinnamon overlying a healthy dose of vanilla. A few more whiffs and I was able to catch that Scotch influence, but I really had to work at it.

However, on the first sip, the Scotch influence was strong. The blended Scotch that was used had a decent amount of peat to it, which substantially carried over from the barrel and into this rye. The rye itself, though, has a big, bold flavor, resulting in a complex pour with a lot going on. It was like a sweet, heavily vanilla-influenced peated Scotch with significant cinnamon spice on the back end. Sometimes when you have so many different flavors going on, it just doesn't work. Here, they seemed to blend fairly well, though, admittedly, I wished the Rye had more predominance, as it seemed to be overwhelmed by the earthy, nutty and peaty flavor of the Scotch.

Unlike the Black Muscat finished rye, though, this bottle only got better and better over time and with each pour. From each glass to the next, the rye influence that I thought was missing came forward more and more. The result was a significantly sweeter pour, with the sweet vanilla flavor really taking center stage, but yet still balanced out by the campfire smokiness provided by the peat.

As I got to the end of the bottle, the last few pours were a completely different whiskey from the first few. The caramel and vanilla were dominant, and the walnut flavor from the Scotch really seemed to take a back seat. The rye sweetened up immensely, making this a very tasty after dinner drink. Yet the Scotch influence, particularly that smokiness, kept it from being too sweet. The cinnamon spice at the end remained as well, giving it the all the hallmarks of a delicious rye.

At first this struck me as an interesting experiment but something that would leave me desiring more. However, about half way through this bottle it became that something more that I was desiring, and I absolutely loved every sip! It's difficult to give this bottle a grade considering the wide gap in my impressions, but I'm going to lean towards the higher grade due to the strong finish that this one had. Now that it's gone, it's those last few pours that have me yearning for another bottle.

Grade: A-

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