During the depths of last year’s winter, I caught on to a local distillery in Denver, Colorado that had started to make waves in the craft whiskey scene.
Mile High Spirits had sourced their whiskey from MGP for a number of years while they patiently waited for their own distillate to come of age.
They felt that shortly after it reached 3 years old, that it had shown the maturity needed to stand on its own. The slew of Fireside whiskies they released was eye-popping because we came to find out that they had been working on not just one mashbill, but three.
I was curious enough to try them all out and found myself enjoying each one because of their distinct high-rye flavor profiles.
Now that the summer heat has passed and their whiskey has undergone another heat cycle, Mile High Spirits is bottling up more of their bourbon, this time with a four year age statement.
This has also led to the creation of a bottled-in-bond label too, but that will be reserved for another review. Today’s review will focus on this new four year-old age stated bourbon that they have bottled at their signature ABV of 52.80% (which is a double entendre for the elevation that Denver sets at).
Mile High not only uses this proof for that clever reason, but also because they generally find their whiskies taste best right around that spot. I tend to agree.
Before I dive into this new bourbon, here’s the specs on the bourbon being reviewed today. Mile High Spirits uses standard 53 gallon new charred oak barrels that receive a level 3 char before being filled with their own copper pot distilled bourbon distillate that uses 70% corn, 20% rye and 10% chocolate malted barley.
Their warehouse is single story for more consistent aging and is located within the city limits of Denver. But if you’ve ever lived/visited there in the summer, you know that the sun really gets cooking during that time. This should create conditions similar to hot Kentucky summers sans humidity.
So how is this bourbon now that it’s had some extra time to age? Let’s find out. I sampled this neat in a glencairn.
Sweetness comes courtesy of homemade fudge while I get some interesting notes of Blue Raspberry Laffy Taffy and lemon curd. The whole nose leans towards the bright and vibrant spectrum.
Palate: So many floral and herbal notes flood my tastebuds with the first sip. Cinnamon gum and flat root beer pave the way for a slightly spicy experience that pops off the tongue.
There are flavors of pine needles, popsicle sticks and a damp forest floor followed by brighter notes of citrus peel. Sweetness comes by way of powdered sugar and muddled raspberries and blackberries.
All of these notes are somewhat fitting to the name “Fireside” because they are distinctly outdoors-y.
Finish: The wood influence becomes a little bit dryer on the tongue after the sip is complete with additional notes of tobacco leaf and crushed pieces of slate.
Lingering notes of wintergreen gum, cinnamon gum and bubblegum still carry on the bright and vibrant profile that I’ve found throughout this whole dram which is nice because it doesn’t feel doused in wood and dark notes all the time.
The finish is slightly less sweet than the whole experience thus far with the sugars reflecting more cooked apricot and the caramelized top layer of crème brule.
Looking back to my previous review of Fireside Bourbon when it was a year younger, I find a positive trend in the direction of how the whiskey is aging.
The high-rye nature of the distillate still remains but is dropping off ever-so-slightly. The young, grassy flavors of the 3 year bourbon seem to be transforming into more berry and citrus-forward flavors. I dig that!
The tannins are also starting to develop as the wood has interacted with the distillate for another season. Some of the green-ish wood flavors and scents are developing into a more structured profile where leathers and tobaccos are making themselves known.
Overall, this is showing some great promise.
One of the issues I have with distilleries that are distilling and age their products out West is that their products tend to become overly dry and spicy. This stems from the lack of humidity and how that interacts with the whiskey inside of the barrels.
That lack of humidity can increase the overall proof inside of a barrel (yay!) but it also can make the whiskey inside taste dry, like you’ve thrown a handful of woodchips in your mouth (booo!).
Thankfully, Mile High’s products seem to have escaped the latter for the most part. Whatever their secret is to not having a drier whiskey profile, I hope they can keep it up.
Fireside Bourbon’s price among other craft distillers makes buying a bottle an easy choice. The price that some craft distiller’s products go for these days would make me hesitate because of their lack of transparency and absence of an age statement.
But Mile High Spirits has always been forthcoming about their products which makes me comfortable when considering if I should pull the trigger or not.
I am looking forward to seeing how this continues to age as time goes on but am impressed with what I have seen so far in their four year old products.
1 | Disgusting | Drain pour (Example: Jeffers Creek)
2 | Poor | Forced myself to drink it
3 | Bad | Flawed (AD Laws 4 Grain BiB, Clyde Mays anything)
4 | Sub-par | Many things I’d rather have (Tincup 10 year)
5 | Good | Good, solid, ordinary (Larceny, Sazerac Rye)
6 | Very Good | Better than average (Buffalo Trace, OGD BiB)
7 | Great | Well above average (Old Ezra Barrel Proof, Old Weller Antique)
8 | Excellent | Exceptional (Michter’s Barrel Proof Rye, Four Roses Barrel Strength)
9 | Incredible | Extraordinary (GTS, 13 Year MGP or Canadian Rye)
10 | Insurpassable | Nothing Else Comes Close (William Larue Weller)
*Bourbon Culture is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.