High West Bourye (2016) Review

The original bourbon and rye whiskey blend, High West’s Bourye hits shelves again in a limited release.  The first batch several years ago was a big hit for the Utah distillery.  Though High West distills whiskey, a large percentage of the current releases include sourced whiskies, something the distillery is very open about.

High West Bourye

All of the whiskies in this blend are sourced from MGP in Indiana.  They include a 9-year-old bourbon (75% corn, 21% rye, 4% malted barley), 13-year-old rye whiskey and 17-year-old rye whiskey.  The mashbill for the rye whiskies is 95% rye, 5% malted barley.  High West isn’t disclosing ratio of each whiskey in this blend.  Bourye is non-chill filtered and bottled at a very sippable 92 proof.  The suggested retail price is $79.99.

The rich nose comes across as more high-rye bourbon than rye whiskey upon pouring the glass. After a few moments, the aromatic rye whiskies make you stand up and take notice.  The older rye whiskies provide lovely baking spices, fruit and a not-quite-sharp rye grain, alongside toasted oak.  Corn and caramel come to us courtesy of the bourbon this blend.  The complex entry is full of cinnamon, cloves, rye grain and corn mingled together beautifully over a bed of dark brown sugar and old but not overly-dry oak.  I initially hoped for a higher bottling proof, but here 92 proof is spot on.  I don’t care to add water to this.  The medium-long finish is the weakest part of this whiskey.  It’s pure rye spice over a small amount of saccharine sweetness.  That odd sweetness is slightly disappointing, but still worthy of the whiskey overall.

Folks, I have a feeling this will make my Top 10 favorite whiskies list at the end of the year.  High West founder David Perkins and Head Distiller Brendan Coyle have done a fantastic job of balancing a nicely aged bourbon and older rye whiskies.  You really get the best of both worlds.  The strong nose and full-bodied palate cover the slight shortcomings of the finish, and at the end of the day it’s a whiskey I’m glad I tasted.  This batch of Bourye is highly recommended.

(Note: A small review sample was provided by High West.)

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