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High West Bourye Showdown: Batch 15B11 Vs. Batch 16A13

High West Bourye Showdown: Batch 15B11 Vs. Batch 16A13

Bourye_vs_bourye

Background

Klaxons start blaring and red lights begin to strobe throughout a nondescript building in deafening fashion. Coffee is spilled from a white ceramic mug tumbling midair in slow motion.  Screams of bloody murder in the distance echo off long, painted cinderblock hallways. Red Alert! Code Midnight! Someone just mixed bourbon and rye together........in the same vat! Oh wait, its good. Lets market the shit out of it and sell at a premium. 

While some companies would have you believe the marketing hype about delicious accidents that is not this story. Cough, cough, Wild Turkey. Except that one time MGP accidentally mixed bourbon and Rye together which resulted in selling it at a loss to High West. Don't believe me? Check out my interview with David Perkins from High West Distillery

In 2010 High West Distillery released the first batch of Bourye, a blend of bourbon and rye. For the uninitiated Bourye is pronounced "boo-rye" and is literally a mashup of the words "bourbon" and "rye." This is quite possibly the first blend of bourbon and rye marketed as such. Fast forward 3 years to the fall of 2013 - both Jefferson's Chef's Collaboration and Wild Turkey Forgiven were released. I can't speak for those whiskeys as I have not tasted either. However, I do happen to have the two most recent releases of High West Bourye. Let the showdown begin.

High West Bourye Batch 15B11

Details

Cost: $72 in South Carolina (purchased mid-2015). Typical price ranges from $70 to $80. 

Filtration: Non-Chill 

Proof: 92

Blend Components: 

  • 9 year old MGP straight bourbon, 75% corn / 21% rye / 4% barley
  • 13 year old MGP straight rye whiskey, 95% rye / 5% barley
  • 17 year old MGP straight rye whiskey, 95% rye / 5% barley

Batch: 15B11

Tasting Notes

Pour: 2 oz neat in a Scottish Glencairn

Nose: Barrel char and wood spices - warm caramel and vanilla custard. A dash of rounded baking spices with cinnamon sLightly edging out the rest. RC cola and dark brown sugar. Day old Oatmeal raison cookies. 

Palate: Medium Viscosity. Layers of light brown sugar, caramel chews, and cinnamon/nutmeg. Faint mint and white pepper round this out before moving on to the finish.

Finish: Brown sugar, caramel, cinnamon/nutmeg. Medium fade with warm and lingering/bitter dryness.

Score: 3.5/5

High West Bourye Batch 16A13

Details

Cost: Sample provided by High West. Suggested retail price is $80.

Filtration: Non-Chill 

Proof: 92

Blend Components: 

  • 9 year old MGP straight bourbon, 75% corn / 21% rye / 4% barley
  • 13 year old MGP straight rye whiskey, 95% rye / 5% barley
  • 17 year old MGP straight rye whiskey, 95% rye / 5% barley

Batch: 16A13

Tasting Notes

Pour: 2 oz neat in a Scottish Glencairn

Nose: Warm wood spices: caramel and vanilla. Cola. Oak and faint mint. Balanced baking spices mixed with brown sugar. Hot, fresh out of the oven snickerdoodle cookies. 

Palate: Medium ViscositySugar in the raw, cinnamon, coarse ground white pepper, oak. The mint likes to play hide and seek.  Sweetness from the bourbon and dryness from the rye play back and forth but find a nice balance before transitioning to the finish. The age on the rye makes itself known - complex yet restrained. 

Finish: Brown sugar, caramel, rounded baking spices with a dash of white pepper  Medium fade with a nice warmth and lingering dryness 

Score: 4/5

Thoughts

High West never fails to impress me with their ability to expertly craft high quality whiskey blends. Bourye is no exception to that statement. Sweet and spice in all the right places with an underlying complexity at the core. The rye components bring in just the right amount of oak and spice to balance out the sweetness from the bourbon. This is good and deceptively drinkable if you couldn't already noticed from the liquid levels in the pics. My one gripe is that I would like to see a version of this in the future at a slightly higher proof - similar to the 100-104 proof range in the single barrel Rendezvous Rye program.

The latest batch (16A13) is the winner of the two releases but only just. The overall profile is punchier and more complex. Bourye Batch 15B11 is no slouch but the aroma/flavor profile is noticeably more mellow. Both of these whiskeys exhibit a similar flavor profile and level of complexity but the latest release was just a bit more assertive. I like assertive. It's also worth mentioning that the bottle of batch 15B11 has been open for 10 months with a generous amount of headspace. We all know that airtime will affect the flavor and aroma of the whiskey in the bottle. Was it fair to compare a newly opened bottle to an older, open bottle? Maybe, maybe not. Whichever way you spin it these are both fine whiskeys and one couldn't go wrong with either. Cheers. 

Recommended: High West Double Rye!, High West Rendezvous Rye, Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage

- Mark Millonzi @ Entry Proof

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