High West’s entry level rye whiskey, Double Rye! was one of the original products launched by the company around 2010. Originally it was a blend of 2 year old MGP rye whiskey and 16 year old Barton rye whiskey.
Ever since 2018, High West has stopped using the Barton rye whiskey simply because it ran out and they can’t get anymore. So now it is a blend of their own 4-7 year old rye whiskey that attempts to mimic the legendary Barton rye of the past.
With Double Rye!, it’s easy to find and cheap to buy and honestly, I will guide a new rye whiskey lover towards it 9 times out of 10 because I know it is so universally accepted. This is the label that secured High West’s future for years to come.
But how does it taste? I found a bottle that was produced in 2016 (the Batch Number reads 16H05 which probably means it was blended and bottled in August of 2016 and was the 5th batch that month…just a guess) and am reviewing it today.
If you own a bottle of this and find that your tasting notes aren’t the same, then perhaps you have a different batch number at the bottom. I’ll elaborate more on that at the bottom. I decided to taste this neat and in a glencairn to see how it is.
Nose: Like being in the great outdoors, there’s lots of pine needles and meadow grass on the nose immediately. It’s borderline a little antiseptic smelling because it’s so fresh and clean. There is a nice, light maple syrup scent on the nose with some cinnamon toast.
Palate: Some pleasant honeycomb sweetness intermixes with prickly cinnamon and ginger spice as well as fresh green apples. There’s also some tart cherry juice with slices of pears floating around.
This has all the hallmarks of a great rye whiskey with a decent amount of youth showing off the full power of a young rye. But it never gets out of hand.
Finish: More pine needles now mixes with a bit of alcohol sting. Not because this is high proof necessarily, but I think that has to do with the 2 year old MGP distillate within. It does not detract too much, instead, it just highlights most of the herbal and spice traits like black licorice, spearmint and tart cherries.
In the end, this is a rye whiskey that has a lot of good things going for it. It’s got a lot of rye traits that are front and center (probably from the 2 year old MGP rye) and just enough of the 16 year old Barton rye that it balances it out with sweetness and balance.
This rye always feels like it’s on the edge of becoming unbalanced, but it never crossed that line. It’s a pleasant enough sipper, even though it’s probably a better cocktail mixer. But the price is right and sometimes I can find this on sale around Indianapolis for only $20!
As with anything, you should always try to search for a bottle that was bottled before 2018 so that you can guarantee to be getting that sweet, precious 16 year old Barton rye whiskey in it. This is because they ran out sometime in late 2017 and then began using their own distillate in 2018.
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)
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