weller antique 107 review

High West Double Rye! Review

High West Double Rye review

Distillery: High West (sourced from MGP and Barton)

Type & Region: Rye Whiskey, USA

Alcohol: 46%

Composition: MGP – 95% rye, 5% barley, Barton – 53% rye, 37% corn

Aged: 2 years (blend of 2 year and 16 year old rye whiskeys – the blend of the pre-2018 batches)

Color: 1.2/2.0 on the color scale (chestnut, oloroso sherry)

Price: $30-40 MSRP

From the High West website:

“Double Rye! is a blend of two different rye whiskeys. It is also crafted to be twice as spicy (think cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves) as your average rye whiskey.”

Company Website

weller antique 107 overview

I’m very intrigued to review this 2016 batch of High West’s Double Rye! (the ! is not a typo). Double Rye is one of High West’s core rye whiskeys, and with Rendezvous Rye, Yippie Ki Yay, and A Midwinter Night’s Dram, it’s also the most affordable and accessible. I’m so interested to do this review because in 2018 (denoted by the first two numbers in the batch number), Double Rye underwent an overhaul of how it was blended, making this 2016 batch a somewhat unique whiskey that is becoming even more difficult to find.

 

Prior to 2018, Double Rye was a blend of 2 year old MGP rye and 16 year old Barton rye, making it 100% sourced. That 16 year old Barton rye now is highly valued and probably impossible to get, so of course High West had to replace it sooner than later. As of 2018, Double Rye is a blend of 2 year old MGP rye and their own distillate that’s up to 7 years old. If you want to learn more about the change, WhiskyAdvocate.com has an informative article that goes into more detail.

 

In this High West Double Rye review, let’s find out if these older batches are worth savoring and searching out for your shelf.   

weller antique 107 smell

Double Rye is quick to show off the sweet and vegetal honey, honeydew, dill, anise, and licorice, followed by a little caramel and cherry syrup. Double Rye has that quintessentially amazing (and often polarizing) high-rye nose. Next, I smell dark cherry, orange, grapefruit, and a light vegetal and herbal incense scent intermingled with everything. It’s such a rich and vibrant nose, but not particularly oaky. Oak mustiness, pine needles, and gin botanicals make an appearance now and then, but primarily stay in the background, as does the alcohol.

 

Swirling awakens some of the alcohol, more than the 46% indicates. After the alcohol ebbs, there’s that same grassy and herbal sweetness with honey, dill, rosemary, anise, citrus, dark cherry, guava, starfruit, and plum. I love how the high-rye brings a plethora of tropical fruits, earth, and life to the scents. It has such a nice richness and vibrance, even for 46%. There is some oak must and cinnamon, but Double Rye! overall is not that wood spicy in the way that bourbon is.

 

High West Double Rye overall is an incredible smelling whiskey. It is similar to other awesome high-rye rye whiskeys such as Bulleit 12 and Sagamore Spirit Barrel Select. I highly recommend letting Double Rye sit for at least 20-30 minutes to let the whiskey breathe. It makes it smell so much richer and complex, and there are so many scents to uncover. 

weller antique 107 taste & aftertaste

Double Rye bears all of its rye-ness with sweet and herbal licorice, honey, orange with a little cocoa, cinnamon, and dill. It bites a tad more than 46% might indicate, but that’s ok. The first sip is delicious, but I feel like it hasn’t opened up yet.

 

“Chewing” releases a heck of a lot more flavors. Again, it’s sweet and herbal with honey, dill, licorice, and rosemary. The rosemary also reminds me of gin botanicals, including pine, coriander, and dried citrus peel. More chewing teases out a little vanilla cream, rye bread, and slightly bitter dark chocolate. Everything seems to come together into a sort of southern sweet black tea with added herbal anise. There’s also a gentle sprinkling of oak, cinnamon, clove, and mint, but the flavors really are honey, dill, and anise-centric as one might expect with high-rye rye whiskey.

 

The finish is sweet and bitter with honey, licorice, oak, dark chocolate, and something vegetal like rosemary and mint. “Chewing” leaves a similar sweetness, bitter oak, and herbs with a little vanilla. The finish really lingers with darker oak, chocolate, licorice, cinnamon and mint, followed by green grapes. It’s a long sweet, herbal, and slightly bitter finish, like sweet tea brewed with extra tea bags / leaves. High West Double Rye is undoubtedly a great tasting rye whiskey.

Place on the Whiskey Shelf

Top Shelf

Wow, this 2016 batch of High West’s Double Rye is excellent. The flavors are complex, the nose is fragrant, and it overall is just fantastic. I’m a real sucker for nicely developed, rich, and refreshing rye-forward anise and dill. Thankfully, the “lower” 46% proof is also not detrimental to the experience.

 

This is incredible for what was a $30-40 rye whiskey, an absurd bargain. Even now I can still buy the post-2018 and occasionally 2016 batches for under $40. I haven’t had the 2018 or later versions yet, so I can’t say how much Double Rye has changed, but I’ll speculate that it’s different. If you enjoy rye whiskey, I highly recommend that you buy any pre-2018 bottles if you can still find them. You won’t be disappointed.

 

Having also reviewed Bulleit 12 Year Rye and compared SAOS 7 Year Rye to Bulleit 12 Year (post still to come), I’m noticing a possible trend that high-rye rye whiskeys may hold up better to dilution than bourbons do. The high-rye adds an incredible depth, richness, and vibrance that corn might not. I’ve always been a fan of rye whiskey, but it still continues to surprise me. 

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