High West 14-Year-Old Light Whiskey Review

Photo courtesy of High West.

Photo courtesy of High West.

A couple of weeks ago High West announced the release of a limited edition 14-year-old light whiskey.  The release is a blend of 100 barrels of light whiskey from MGP distilled between 1999 and 2001.  All were maturing in used barrels, as opposed to new barrels.  This means there isn’t as much barrel influence, making this whiskey more spirit-forward.

Light whiskey is distilled at a higher proof than, say bourbon, for example.  That proof is usually 160 – 100 proof, or 80-95% abv.  High West says it’s the same type of whiskey that the UK calls grain whiskey, a component of most blended whiskeys.

You don’t really see light whiskey here in the US anymore.  It was more prevalent in the 60s and 70s, when beverage companies thought the public wanted a lighter tasting spirit.

High West 14-year-old light whiskey is bottled at 92 proof.  It’s available only at the distillery for $99.95.

So, how is it?

The nose is full of fresh lemons, buttered corn and light toffee alongside a whiff of rubbing alcohol.  It’s not as “intense” as bourbon of the same proof.  The same can be said of the palate.  While it remains light, there are lots of flavor to be found in this whiskey.  Toffee, sweet corn and lemon rind are the prominent flavors.  Hiding just underneath is a nice floral note.  Some water highlights the sweet, rich toffee notes.  There’s a vodka-like burn followed by a some fresh mint on the short finish.  The finish does slightly improve with some airtime.

While not my favorite release from High West, this 14-year-old light whiskey is interesting to drink.  It’s definitely spirit-forward in terms of flavor and delivery.  I enjoy the light, airy nose and perfect-for-springtime palate.  As I mentioned earlier, the finish has a vodka-like quality that sort of turns me off. Does the rest of the tasting experience make up for the finish?  I think so, but ultimately that’s something only you can answer.  High West’s light whiskey may be a fine companion during those hot summer months.  Especially over some ice.

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


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