Wednesday, December 5, 2018

High West Double Rye! Binny's Private Selection Muscatel Finished Blended Rye

VITALS:
- $40
- 99.6 Proof
- Barrel No. 9595
- Min. 2 years
- Finish Time: 1 Year
- Utah

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.

Grade: B+

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