A Midwinter Night’s Dram Straight Rye Whiskey | Blog #58

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2015! As promised in Blog# 27 I am starting a series of blog’s on some of my picks for drinking this Winter.

First whisky is the appropriately titled “A Midwinter Nights Dram” from High West Distillery in Utah.

A blend of Straight Rye whisky taken from their Rendezvous Rye stocks and finished in French oak and Port barrels, Straight Rye whisky is a designation that tells us it was aged for a minimum of 2 years. I do know however that this is a 6 year old Straight Rye Whisky as stated in the technical details on the High West Web Site

It is made up of 80% Rye which is a very high Rye content along with a splash 10% barley and 10% corn.

Bottled at cask strength of 49.3% this is an unusual bottling for American Rye as it is very hard to find anything not cut to some extent.

So on this my first blog for 2015 and with a balmy -10c and snow outside (better than -30c a week ago) it seemed the perfect time to get a fire going and jump into a Midwinter Nights Dram.

Thanks goes out to Jane my former business partner for the gift of this bottle….much appreciated.

Tasted in the 1st Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler

So lets delve in. Stunning colour deep reddish and amber hues.

Nose: Instantly recognizable as rye with spices that envelop and caress. Waves of soft mulling spice and fresh vanilla bean. Just the faintest hint that this is higher alcohol but never burning or overpowering. This is a wonderful nose and I could just sit and smell it for ages. I wonder if High West could come out with a range of car freshning Rye spice pouches…. I’d be a customer.

Palate: Cask strength comes through a little more at first sip and activates the entire palate with layers of dried fruits.

Finish: Drier than most rye I have had before probably thanks to the Port and French Oak finishing. Hints of caramel sweetness from the corn and a touch of the complex barley note complement the rye.

Water: I added the tiniest drops which seemed to heighten the Vanilla but brought out more of the vegetal rye characters and diminished the fruits. For this dram the cask strength is the way to go in my opinion.

David Perkins knows his stuff when it comes to blending and finishing great Rye and Bourbon. This is another delicious expression and it is a pity that it is not available for sale in Canada.

As a caveat I did used to represent High West which I unfortunately no longer do. I have found their Rye and Bourbon releases to be some of the yummiest I have had and this Midwinter Nights Dram would be something that I would encourage anyone travelling to the US to grab if you are a fan of Rye.

I am unashamedly an equal opportunity drinker especially when it comes to whisky. There is a lot of Scotch snobbery vs Bourbon or Rye but for me it’s all about Whisky or Whiskey in all of its amazing forms.

Next week I will grab another of my whiskies to try this Winter and I think I will be going for something extra special.

Have a fabulous week and stay warm!

“Swift as a shadow, short as any dream.
Brief as the lightning in the collied night …” – Lysander

As fleeting as true love can be as described in this quote from A Mid Summer Night’s Dream, so to can a dram of delicious whiskey disappear. Thankfully, I still have almost a full bottle.


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