GSN Review: High West’s 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan & Boulevardier

1397679085926The barrel-aged cocktail has officially arrived.  No longer just a novelty at your favorite world-class bar, several are now available on the shelves of your local liquor store.  Having made several iterations of aged cocktails myself, I was keen to try the two recently released from High West Distillery.  Their whiskies are sublime, so I imagined their pre-made cocktails would follow suit.

The Barreled Manhattan is named after the vote to repeal prohibition that the state of Utah cast on December 5, 1933.  Of the then 48 states, Utah’s vote was the 36th, thereby ending forever the “noble experiment”.  The Barreled Boulevardier is a less well-known cocktail, but one that fits well with the subtleties of aging.  Basically a Negroni utilizing bourbon instead of gin, it first appeared during prohibition in Harry McElhone’s 1927 cocktail book “Barflies and Cocktails”.

36th-vote-manhattan-bottle36th Vote Barreled Manhattan (74 proof)
Visual: Golden brown.
Nose: Herbal and feminine.  Quite shy and elusive.
Taste: More woody and darkly herbal than I’m used to.  There is a curious sage/woodruff flavor that seems somewhat at odds with the whiskey.  Not to say that this is a negative, it just makes for a flavor that makes me consider what I’m tasting.
Finish: Oddly enough, I get a grape-like Kool-Aid flavor after a minute.  The fade is fairly short, and I’m left with a sweet fruity essence.
Overall: Not the kind of Manhattan I make at home, but certainly an interesting version that is miles beyond what you would find at 90% of the bars in America.  I’m just not sure that the choices of ingredients work to this versions advantage.
GSN Rating: B

Boulevardier-no-reflection-e1373426819569Barreled Boulevardier (72 proof)
Visual: Golden brown.
Nose: Somewhat spicy and sweet.
Taste: Nicely balanced with the vermouth being more forward than the other flavors.
Finish: Interesting spice flavors have a depth that goes on for quite some time.
Overall: Quite tasty and with the extra flavor from aging, more contemplative.  A clear winner.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: High West

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