Giving each whiskey (and whisky) I try a final grade, but only after reaching the bottom of the bottle. After all, just one drink is never enough!
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
High West Double Rye! Binny's Private Selection Muscatel Finished Blended Rye
- 99.6 Proof
- Barrel No. 9595
- Min. 2 years
- Finish Time: 1 Year
I feel like it's been quite some time since I've done a wine barrel-finished anything. That's a bit odd to me, as I've always enjoyed a good port or similar type of wine barrel-finished rye. Perhaps it's simply due to the fact that I just haven't been seeing these High West barrel finishes hitting the shelves like I used to. The other day, however, that iridescent, shiny bottle certainly caught my attention, and as is always the case with these, the price was right!
This had a decent amount of time in the Muscatel barrel, a full year, and it shows. The nose is pungent, full of black currant and plum. It also has a sweet and syrupy note to it, making it almost jammy. There's a richness to it as well, a sort of chocolate note. All in all, it combines with the traditional rye spices of cinnamon and clove to give an overall aroma that reminded me of mulled wine--something I've only had around Christmas time, making this a very timely bottle!
The palate is immediately plum and raisin up front, a rich, full flavored sweetness that overwhelms the tip of the tongue. Some cinnamon hits the back of the tongue pretty quickly as well, giving a nice contrast. Overall this has a really good mix of spices and dark, unsweetened fruit, bringing me right back to the mulled wine notes.
Everything about this makes me think of Christmas, and I really enjoyed it as I sat in my family room with a fire going inside while there was a blizzard outside. The wine notes are strong but not too sweet, and they work great with the cinnamon and black pepper spices from the rye. It also has a nice balance of graham cracker, vanilla and wood tones to keep everything on even keel.
The last few pours of this were certainly sweeter, but I actually found myself wishing they weren't. Although this may not fit all moods, I really enjoyed this for what it was on the first 3/4 of this bottle. It was a nice, warming pour, with rich fruit notes and spices that refrained from being overwhelming.
The last few pours were just too syrupy or jammy for my tastes. This is a rare instance, as I usually find myself enjoying those last few pours the most. While it was still good, and it wasn't exactly a drain pour or anything, it wasn't as good as it was at the start.
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