Afaids

High West Old Fashioned Review

4

High West was an industry disrupter in the early 2010s with their innovative blends and finishes, pioneering techniques such as sourcing whiskey to blend with their distillate before it became standard practice, and experimenting with high-aged ryes that few others were.

This year, they released two ready-to-drink cocktails, including this barrel-finished Old Fashioned. Each 375ml bottle makes six cocktails, while one full-sized bottle can serve up to 12.

Taste

High West Double Rye whiskey is an intensely flavorful spirit with an exquisite profile that can stand independently. Perfect for sipping neat or mixing into classic cocktails like the Manhattan and Old Fashioned, its 92-proof strength delivers strong yet balanced flavor without losing smoothness. Bottled non-chill filtered to preserve the full range of flavors for an exquisite palate and complex profile that will satisfy whiskey enthusiasts everywhere.

On the nose, this whiskey displays notes of sweet honey, golden syrup, honeyed toffee with a subtle hint of peat smoke, and subtle notes of rye spice and earthy-sweet corn for an unforgettable taste. Distilled using a traditional copper pot still at Wanship Distillery in Utah, aged for several months in used rye barrels for maximum complexity in flavor profile, then blended before finally being aged further to produce this unique product.

This whiskey is smooth and balanced with subtle sweetness and spice notes. Its creamy texture and long finish make it an ideal candidate for cocktail creation, as well as for newcomers looking to start drinking whiskey. A versatile whiskey that will satisfy both novices and experienced whiskey drinkers.

High West Whiskey offers two year-round rye whiskies: Rendezvous Rye and this bottle. Both are produced at their distillery in Wanship, Utah and contain different blends depending on the availability of higher aged sources (MGP or Barton) as well as High West’s distillate; for this release, the mixture was composed of 4-7-year-old MGP and 16-year-old Barton rye from previous releases.

The High West Barrel Finished Old Fashioned is a pre-made cocktail made with rye whiskey and other ingredients, perfect for those without time or equipment to craft classic cocktails from scratch. Aged in used rye barrels for an enhanced flavor profile and smooth finish, it makes an excellent addition to your bar. It comes in either 375ml bottles that serve six people or larger 750ml bottles suitable for larger gatherings.

Aroma

Few cocktails do a better job showcasing whiskey’s complexity than an old-fashioned. High West takes this classic drink and adds its signature twist by resting it in used rye barrels for added depth and complexity. This results in a wonderfully balanced cocktail perfect for enjoying on cozy nights at home or serving at cocktail parties!

Aromas include vanilla, caramel, and smoke notes reminiscent of vanilla beans. There is also light spice from rye whiskies, balanced by sweetness from unrefined sugar and bitters.

People who can’t make their own old-fashioned or want a more straightforward solution may prefer premade cocktails, as the ingredients have been carefully combined to produce a unique flavor profile that works well with bitters and sugar.

High West mixes a range of straight rye whiskeys with small amounts of bourbon to create its Barrel Finished Cocktail, adding complexity to its drink. Once prepared, these cocktails are rested in used rye whiskey barrels for an exquisite, well-rounded experience – making for a rich and satisfying cocktail suitable for sipping on ice or in rocks glasses!

Rendezvous Rye impressed me with its balanced flavor profile and high proof. Blending 4-7-year-old MGP, Diageo distillate ryes, and some 16+-year-old Barton rye that may no longer be readily available offer an exceptional whiskey experience.

This high-rye rye whiskey is an outstanding example of an elevated rye blend that perfectly balances its many flavor notes and qualities with subtle oak-charred notes for an irresistibly satisfying drinking experience. I enjoyed drinking it straight up; however, its flavors would surely benefit from being mixed with water to clear your palate and enhance its flavors even further.

Mouthfeel

Few cocktails do more to highlight quality whiskey than the Old Fashioned. With only three required ingredients and no complex mixing process, its recipe makes for a leisurely drink that accentuates its unique spirit profile. High West’s new barrel-finished cocktail mixes do just that – featuring 37% ABV content, they combine bourbon and rye whiskeys using time-tested recipes before resting it in second-use rye barrels for additional depth and complexity. These ready-to-drink products come packaged in convenient 375ml bottles that serve six people, while more extensive options may help larger venues!

This marks their inaugural foray into creating whiskey cocktails, and while I find the results promising, more could be done to distinguish it in the market. They utilize MGP-sourced whiskies in this blend, yet it doesn’t remain easy to differentiate it from any other MGP blended bourbon offerings on sale.

If Utah Distillery and Saloon wants to stand out as a standout distillery and bar, they must create their signature bourbon that lives up to its name. They could achieve incredible things if they invested the same care and attention into creating this drink as their whiskey blends.

Utah’s high altitudes can have an unpredictable effect on whiskey during its maturation process. Although its idyllic mountain setting makes the idea of a distillery and saloon alluring, the climate doesn’t permit comparable production like in Kentucky. Unfortunately, High West fell victim to this mistake with this particular bourbon; that is unfortunate, given that I genuinely appreciate their blends and work done.

Finish

High West Distillery introduced two ready-to-drink barrel-aged cocktails a few years back: 36th Vote and Barreled Boulevardier were originally only available locally at their Park City distillery but are now part of their premium pre-batched cocktail line.

The Barrel-Finished Old Fashioned is crafted using a blend of straight whiskeys (with some bourbon for extra complexity) mixed with unrefined sugar and bitters before being aged in used rye whiskey barrels to give this classic cocktail even more depth and character. The result is an irresistibly delicious beverage perfect for sipping during an intimate night or serving at any upcoming cocktail party!

Plenty of bottled Manhattans are on the market, but many fall short regarding taste or balance. Not so with High West Manhattans; their recipe features all the right components to create an irresistibly refreshing cocktail experience for six guests, with each bottle weighing 375ml or larger (750ml available)!