The first release of High West’s Bourye was in 2010. As Sku tells us, this was not the first blend of bourbon and rye (hence the name—everybody at the company must have been very tired that day) but it was the first premium blend of bourbon and rye. It was very well received (I wasn’t drinking much American whiskey then myself). I’m not sure how many more releases there have been of it since. In his review of a 2016 batch Sku refers to “the return of Bourye”, but this sample is from a 2015 release. If anyone knows more about this please chime in below. And please chime in as well if you know what exactly the 2015 release is a blend of. [Update: see the comments.]
I’ve not had very many of High West’s releases and while I’ve liked all I’ve tried a fair bit, I’m yet to have one that I’ve truly been blown away by (i.e nothing has made it to 90 points in my system). But I do appreciate that, unlike so many new American distilleries they don’t just release re-labelled sourced whiskey with only a tedious story tacked on to it. Anyway, let’s see what this is like.
High West Bourye (46%; 2015 release; batch 15B11; from a purchased sample)
Nose: A mix of sweet toffee and floral, herbal, spicy rye notes (clove, pine, dill). On the second sniff there’s some dusty oak and caramel corn—the bourbon seems to be trumping the rye. With more time it picks up some intensity and now the rye notes are holding their own; some orange peel too now. Softer with water with some vanilla showing up as well.
Palate: My first impression here is that the mouthfeel is too thin. All the stuff from the nose is here but the whole doesn’t pack much of a punch. More rye-forward here, more like a high rye bourbon (which makes sense, I guess). On the second sip there’s sour wood and cinnamon. Not much development here with time, maybe a little spicier. Water doesn’t do it any favours, thinning out the texture even more and diluting the flavours.
Finish: Medium. Spicy and increasingly mentholated and drying as it goes. As on the palate with water.
Comments: I’m not sure how long this bottle had been open before I got my sample from it but as it is this is a little lacking in oomph on the palate; the nose, however, is quite lovely. On the whole, it’s pleasant and drinkable but nothing very far out of the ordinary.
Rating: 85 points.