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

GSN Review: High West’s A Midwinter Night’s Dram Whiskey

Midsummer-Nights-Dram-web-1Now that we are fully into the first signs of spring, it seems a little odd to be reviewing a spirit crafted for mid-winter tippling, but be that as it may….

High West, out of Park City, Utah recently debuted another fine rye blend whiskey finished in port and French oak casks.  For those of you interested in the technical details: the final product is a blend of a 6-year old straight rye whiskey: 95% rye and 5% barley malt and a 16-year old straight rye: 80% rye, 10% corn, 10% barley malt.

GSN has previously reviewed several other whiskies in the High West portfolio here.

A Midwinter Nights Dram (98.6 proof)
Visual: Ruby tinged copper.
Nose: Rich, enveloping port notes create a dessert-like nose that opens the curtain onto a spicy and thoughtful stage of prominent actors.  Quite sultry and seductive.
Taste: A surprisingly fruity and cooking spice tinged entry reminiscent of ginger cake.  Hefty and hearty without being overwhelming, this whiskey manages to be assertive and yet quite confident in its presence.  There is a lot of dialogue going on between the spotlighted high notes and the more venerable low tonality.  An interesting concept.
Finish: Medium long with a lot of the fruitier port notes taking curtain calls.
Overall: A contemplative whiskey that is best enjoyed on a cool evening.  Quite remarkably memorable.
GSN Rating: A-

For more information go to: High West