On my recent travels I also visited some booze induced locations, like Utah’s High West Distillery in Park City. At first I was rather surprised to find a distillery in strictly regulated Utah, but I guess its not as bad as some people say it is, since they don’t seem to have any problems making and selling alcohol in the Mormon state.
High West distillery is located in Park City, one of Utah’s ski resort towns in a beautiful mountainous setting at about 7000 feet above sea level. One of the highest distilleries in the world. They have been bottling (mostly) rye whisky and vodka the last couple of years, but they have only started distilling a few years ago. Everything older than that is bought, blended and bottled. With their curious recipes and lack of fear of the unknown, I consider them to be a bit like the American counterpart to Compass Box.
Unfortunately, the tour guide had a couple of days off when we got there, so I only snapped some pictures of the stills and did a small tasting there, before lunch. The tasting consisted of four of their ‘whiskies’ varying from an oat spirit to a 21 year old rye.
High West Silver Whiskey Western Oat
A smooth and sweet scent with quite some fruit and mountains of cereals and grain. Oatmeal cookies and overripe melon. More spicy than I expected. Its spicy and smooth at the same time. Quite nice, but it might be a bit too simple to enjoy a whole bottle of. I would have loved if they had half bottles of this!
High West Double Rye
John Hansell wrote ‘Perhaps the spiciest American Whiskey I have ever tasted’ and I agree. Its not really pushing the limits of spice, since the pepper I smell and taste is wrapped in a creamy and sweet package. Cornbread and then the spices kick back in. Cinnamon, dark chocolate and quite gin like, in the way of herb flavours. Caramel and vanilla as well.
High West 21 year old Rye
I already tasted this once, and loved it. I didn’t change my opinion but I got some new tasting notes. Floral and sugary sweetness, also some light leaf herbs (basil?). The palate is soft but has the typical rye flavours of some wood spices. The finish is a little dry but very, very good.
High West BouRye
A bourbon and rye whiskey blend, something that hadn’t been done before. Its a 10 year old bourbon (75% corn, 20% rye, 5% barley) and a 16 year old rye (53% rye, 37% corn, 10% barley). The flavours and scents are a bit hard to wrap your tongue around, since they truly are a mix of styles. It has some molasses and caramel with a hint of coconut. I also get some vanilla and cinnamon. The longer you taste this, the stronger the rye impact gets, intensely spicy and quite dry on the finish.
So, highly recommended to go there if you’re in the area. The shop is a bit expensive on the non-booze items, but since the booze is what you came for, nobody really cares! I brought myself a bottle of the Double Rye, for about $40, very affordable.