Sunday, November 10, 2019

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

- $45
- 102.6 Proof
- Finished 1 yr., 8 mos.
- Barrel #112653
- Utah

I feel like it's been a while since I've seen bottles of High West Barrel Select, but when they do appear they seem to always do so in groups. Recently, Binny's got in a bunch of different barrel finishes, including bourbons and/or ryes finished in Syrah, brandy and Scotch barrels. What intrigued me most, however, was this particular bottle, finished in Armagnac barrels for over a year and a half.

I've recently had the pleasure of enjoying some well-aged Armagnacs, and I very much found them to my liking. I have no idea what barrels were used for aging this rye, but if that Armagnac tasted anything even close to what I tried, then the result of the aging should be pretty incredible.

The nose smelled like candied pear and baked apple. It had that crisp, fleshy fruit flavor, but also had that cooked brown sugar note as well. It smelled like a rich, decadent dessert.  This tells me that the Armagnac really influenced the whiskey, so I was already looking forward to tasting it. I also got some cinnamon and even a bit of pecan to balance the sweetness and to add just a touch of earthiness and even a light bitterness to round things out.  I could have sat there sniffing this whiskey forever.

The flavor really followed suit with the nose. I immediately got that strong pear note, along with the brown sugar. That sweet fruitiness was constant from the first pour to the last and definitely dominated. However, the rye spice wasn't overwhelmed. A spicy cinnamon note was also present from front to back and from first pour to last. The combination was a rich, dessert like cooked pear flavor that was so inviting.

In addition to those note, I also got a white wine note throughout. However, it wasn't like a sauvignon blanc, but was sweeter, like a Gewurztraminer or Riesling. It was definitely white-grapey, though.  That sweetness was a bit tampered by the tannins that came through as well, really driving home that wine note that I was getting.

Towards the end I found myself picking up other, unique notes. At times I got a dried apricot note that was a bit fleeting and I wished were more prominent, because it was delicious while it was there.  I also got a bit of a tangy note, kind of like an amaretto liqueur, out of the later pours. This just added to that baked, candied pear flavor that I was getting throughout.

I was so happy to find these again, and I was very excited to try something new, and this absolutely did it for me. Not only was it something different, but it absolutely delivered on flavor. I only wish I had more!

Grade: A

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