Tucked up in the high desert wilderness outside the tiny town of Wanship, the High West Distillery location is a sight to behold, its owner, High West CEO David Perkins, who already made history opening the original High West Park City location in 2007, Utah’s first distillery since the 1870s. High West began with humble roots, opening a small, 250-gallon still and Saloon in an historic livery stable and garage. What was once a small operation in downtown Park City has grown to be an internationally-recognized brand with four unique locations. In 2015, High West opened their distillery in Wanship, Utah, which acts as a space for educational whiskey tasting, pairings and tours, and houses a 1600-gallon copper pot still. Meanwhile, the Saloon continues to operate as a must-visit gastro-distillery, featuring alpine-inspired western fare alongside the original still, the Nelson Cottage offers unique whiskey-paired dinners, and the Saloon at the Salt Lake City airport allows for some last tastes of High West on the way out of town. High West’s products have received numerous accolades and awards. In 2016, Whisky Advocate, America’s leading whiskey magazine, named High West its “Distiller of the Year.”
A deep, dark amber in colour. The bouquet shoes dried apricot, with definitive floral notes. There are definite hints of spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, and black pepper), but this trends towards the citrus side more than anything. There is lemon and orange zest a plenty, with a touch of aromatic wood. This one changes a bit as it travels across the palate. There are some definite initial vanilla, honey, and caramel flavors, this quickly evolves into a spicy and citrusy explosion on the mid and back palate. Lemon and peach abounds on the mid palate, while huge prickly bites of black pepper permeate the back of the throat. That black pepper spice wand citrus zest seem to linger long after. This is one of the longer finishes on a rye whiskey I’ve tasted. It’s warm and pleasant, with enough zest to keep the senses alert throughout.