High West Yippee-Ki-Yay Whiskey Review

Rye whiskey finished in vermouth and Syrah barrels?  That’s something I never thought I’d see, but here it is in front of me.  A bottle of Yippee Ki-Yay from High West.  They took their Double Rye, which is a blend 2- and 16-year-old rye whiskies, and finished it in those ex-wine barrels I mentioned above.  Strange combination.

Sometimes I try to imagine what a whiskey will taste like before I open the bottle.  I couldn’t place this one, though.  As is standard protocol here at the blog, I offered my wife Carly the first sip.  She did not like it, as was evident by the look on her face and “Ew” that came out of her mouth.  She’s more a Scotch fan.  Laphroaig, in fact.  Things were not looking good for Yippee Ki-Yay.

So, I poured my glass, opened up my computer, and started typing some notes.  Time to take a whiff.  How is it?

Surprisingly good.  I shouldn’t be surprised given this is a High West product.  The young rye whiskey notes dominate the nose with dill, toasted rye grain and cinnamon.  Then, the wine barrel influence compliments the spicy and herbal rye notes with hints of black cherries, cloves and fresh blueberries.  Taste-wise, this whiskey is spicy, which is something I look for in a rye whiskey.  There’s hot cinnamon up front, along with a burnt caramel and fruity & slightly bitter wine.  The vermouth is there.  Some citrus brightens things up.  In a strange way, it sort of reminds me of sangria.  The finish is long and spicy, with allspice and caramel.

Yippee Ki-Yay is a rather fun and funky whiskey, and I use the latter term in a good way.  The young, brash rye whiskey is  somewhat rounded by the fruitiness instilled by the vermouth and Syrah barrels while still kicking around those spice notes.  The 2-year-old MGP rye whiskey is still the star here.  If you’re not a fan of young rye, you probably won’t like this one.  While it may not be for everyone, Yippee Ki-Yay is another interesting release from High West.  Owner David Perkins and Master Distiller Brendan Coyle seem to have fun with their blending experiments, and it shows in their whiskey.


Thanks to High West for the generous sample.  As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.

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