If there’s one thing Utah’s High West distillery does well, it’s blending whiskey to create something unique. Sometimes, it’s really different. Look no further than their Bourye, a bourbon and rye whiskey blend, or their Campfire whiskey, made up of bourbon, rye whiskey and peated Scotch. Other times, High West sticks to mixing similar types of whiskies together, which leads us to Rendezvous Rye.
As stated right on its label, Rendezvous Rye is a “blend of straight rye whiskies.” In the case of the current batch, it’s a blend of 6-year-old and 16-year-old rye whiskies. The younger rye comes from MGP in Indiana in the form of their famous 95% rye & 5% malted barley mashbill. The Barton distillery in Bardstown, KY, provides the 16-year-old rye whiskey. The mashbill here is 80% rye, 10% corn, and 10% barley.
High West does not chill filter their whiskies, and Rendezvous Rye is no exception. It’s proofed down to 46% abv (92 proof) and available for about $50. My sample bottle is from batch 15I22.
Based on the price point, it’s safe to say the majority of this blend is comprised of the younger whiskey, presumably giving it a youthful quality and showcasing the rye grain. The older rye should mellow things out and provide some more complex aromas and flavors.
The nose has that dill note usually found in MGP’s 95% rye whiskey, but this whiskey is not a one trick pony. I pick up some caramel and vanilla, as well as a little oak. The nose is just okay. Where this whisky really shines is in the flavor department. The entry is full of sweet cinnamon and a sharp rye grain. That develops into rich toffee, light brown sugar, and vanilla bean. A bit of astringency follows courtesy of oak from the older whiskey. Fresh spearmint shows up on the backend and freshens things up, leading to a long, semi-sweet and minty finish.
This is a VERY pleasing whiskey. Blends are nothing new in the American whiskey business, but High West is leagues ahead of most. Taking an already tasty 95% rye MGP whiskey and adding some much older rye of a different mashbill elevates this release from good to great. There are lots of decent rye whiskies on the market. Why choose decent when you can buy this for a price that won’t break the bank. Highly recommended.