Editor’s Note: Billy Usrey is our guest blogger today with his High West “A Midwinter Nights Dram” review. As with our other Help Wanted applicants we ask that you share your thoughts on his post in the comments as well as online where you can find Billy at @busrey.
What to drink on a blizzardy night here in North Carolina?
So much to choose from but one bottle stands out as appropriate–High West’s “A Midwinter Nights Dram®.”
Being originally from Kentucky I begrudgingly admit liking High West products. Can someone other than Kentucky distilleries make bourbon and rye whiskeys?
Okay, deep breath, it’s only finished and bottled in Utah. One of my favorites is their Rendezvous Rye. That’s right – it’s rye whiskey, not bourbon, so who cares where it’s made! High West is distilling their own whiskeys but does not have any rye actually made in Utah that is old enough to bottle so they are sourcing from somewhere else. High West isn’t exactly clear about this as they list MGP beside the barley malt line on the 6-year-old and Barton beside the barley malt line on the 16-year-old. They now produce a version of Rendezvous Rye that has been finished (the part they actually do in Utah) in French oak and port barrels. They call it “A Midwinter’s Night Dram” and it is dram good. [Sorry I couldn’t help myself.]
Reviews have been good and I ran across it on-line so I ordered a bottle. The bottle I received says Act 3 Scene 3. I’m not sure if that means the third bottling.
Yes, there are Shakespearean quotes on the back label.
Yes, there is French Oak that the French think is better than good ole American oak (come to think of it, Marker’s 46 is a bourbon finished with French oak and it makes Marker’s actually drinkable so maybe French oak is . . . Sorry I digress.)
High West claims (note to reader: claims on American whiskey bottles sometimes bear little connection to reality as a great story line is preferred to mere facts – much like what political candidates say) “the French oak provides a spice accent.” They say, “. . . tastes like a proper Christmas plum pudding with lovely mulling spices, dried fruits, and crème anglaise” (a fancy way to say boiled custard.)
A Midwinter Nights Dram Review
Bourbon Name: A Midwinter Nights Dram
Age: A blend of 6-year-old and 16-year-old straight rye whiskeys
How I Drank It: Neat, in a Glencairn whiskey glass.
My Nose Noticed:* This is a complex whiskey with an aroma of vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon. A hint of ruby port comes through bringing with it cherry and dried apple notes. The rye spice adds a nice accent coming through with cardamom, nutmeg, and allspice.
First Sip: Hints of ruby port, oak, cherry, dark fruit, and mulling spices
The Burn:** Mild but pleasant burn. Good clean finish with flavors lasting well over 30 seconds.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: Neat. High West recommends drinking this neat.
Share With: Close whiskey-loving friends by a fire with some soothing music playing in the background as the dessert course for the night.
Worth The Price: This isn’t a cheap whiskey and it is somewhat hard to find. I’m glad I bought it and will keep a bottle around for the right occasions. Is it worth the price? That answer will come down to whether paying $89 for an occasional whiskey is a problem for you. If it is not, then it is absolutely worth the price.
Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I enjoyed the nose and taste on this whiskey so I give it the bottle recommendation.
This is very good. I don’t usually like the same whiskey night after night because my tastes and mood vary from day-to-day. That said, I tried this for three nights in a row and found it was a pleasurable end to the night all three times.
*I like to let my whiskey sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first. In this case thought, the whiskey really required more like 20 minutes to balance out.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?