At the beginning of any distillery, a couple of things have to be established right away. Items like a name and location are obvious, but another important decision is whether or not the products you release in the first few years are going to be made by you. Many distilleries, for various reasons (chiefly among them the fact that whiskey takes time to age so you can’t just release a bourbon on day one) choose to buy product from a place like Midwest Grain Products of Indiana (MGP, for short).
MGP is a factory distillery in Lawrenceburg, Indiana that pumps out whiskey products for what seems like countless distilleries. That product is then blended by the distillery and put out under their label. This allows new distilleries to have aged products while their own spirit is sitting peacefully in barrels.
One of the distilleries that bought product was Park City’s High West Distillery, Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870 (in addition to being Whisky Advocate’s 2016 Distiller of the Year). This year, however, they are overhauling one of their core products, Double Rye!, by using rye whiskey that was made by the distillery, at the distillery (which is close to Park City in Wanship, Utah).
This newest release of Double Rye! combines two- to three-year-old high rye whiskey from MGP mingled with pot still rye whiskey made on-site at the High West Distillery. The MGP rye has a mashbill of 95 percent rye and 5 percent barley malt while the High West rye is made of 80 percent rye and 20 percent malted rye. The previous iteration featured 2-year-old MGP rye and 16-year-old rye from Barton 1792 Distillery in Kentucky.
“The addition of our own whiskey to our blends has always been part of our plan. As some of our sourced whiskeys get used up, we needed to make whiskey to hit the same taste profile; therefore, we have migrated into our own in-house whiskeys, which have the same effect in the overall blend,” said master distiller Brendan Coyle.
Another difference in this iteration of the whiskey compared to the previous one is the use of a pot still to make High West’s rye. This helps create a fuller character in younger whiskey, which ultimately helps maintain consistency of flavor, despite not using a sixteen-year-old product in Double Rye! any longer.
“Since the column still whiskey is aged for a long time to develop the heavier character, we can replace it with our own younger, but very full and heavy-bodied pot still whiskeys to achieve the same effect in the finished product,” Coyle said.
On the nose you’ll find mint, clove, chocolate, and some spice. On the palate, rye spice followed by mint, eucalyptus, all spice, and honey. Cinnamon, a little anise, and more mint come through on the finish.
Double Rye! is 92-proof and is available nationwide for around $35. To find the bottles that contain High West’s own whiskey, look for batch numbers beginning with “18.” You can purchase Double Rye! online here, though there’s no guarantee of which batch it is.