Review #50: High West Yippee Ki-Yay 2018

It’s time to move up to the higher end of High West’s offerings with the 2018 Yippee Ki-Yay. The 2018 bottling is a blend of MGP, Barton and High West distillate that is finished in vermouth and syrah barrels and then blended again. Also this year’s bottling is another example of High West’s website and back label being at odds with one another as the back label claims “we didn’t distill the whiskeys in this bottle” even though one of them is High West distillate. Seriously I love these guys but they need to get the label game shit in a pile. Anyways labels and shit piles aside let’s get to tasting!


Age: 2 to 16 years

Abv: 92 Proof

Mashbill: A blend of 3 straight rye whiskies:

  • 95% rye, 5% barley malt from MGP
  • 53% rye, 37% corn, 10% barley from Barton
  • 80% Rye, 20% malted rye from High West Distillery

Color: A deep, red tinged amber

Price: $79.99


Nose: Delicate herbal notes share the nose with sweet dark fruits.

Taste: The syrah and vermouth barrel influence is very strong here with sweet, dark cherry notes with more traditional MGP rye herbal notes in the background

Finish: Long and sweet with more dark cherry and cinnamon notes

On a rock

Nose: The ice lightly subdues the dark cherry notes bringing the herbal notes forward and revealing some caramel notes in the background.

Taste: The herbal, dill note I associate with MGP rye is much more clear with the ice but the cherry notes are still strong and a sweet vanilla note is in the background

Finish: Short and herbal finish with just a hint of dark cherry


This is very nontraditional for a rye whiskey but I love it. The sweetness and dark cherry notes from the syrah and vermouth are very prominent. If you want a spicy rye definitely look elsewhere but if you have a sweet tooth and like syrah or zinfandel definitely check this out. It’s my favorite of the easy to find High West offerings and also makes for an excellent manhattan. If it’s too fruity for you neat adding a bit of ice or water unlocks the herbal notes and is my preferred way to drink it; High West’s website be damned.

Also 50 whiskey reviews; here’s to a whole lot more!

8 - an excellent bottle I’ll buy from time to time

Fair - Worth the money, happy with my purchase


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