Review #160-163: High West A Midwinter Nights Dram Acts 2, 5, 6, and 7

As is tradition I got a bottle of this year’s A Midwinter Nights Dram, specifically Act 7 Scene 4. I liked the new act though it seemed to be getting mixed feedback online with a fair number of folks pining for the older releases. I tend to that it’s about 50-50 when folks complain about how older whiskey was better. Sometimes the whiskey has gotten younger and worse for it but other times I think they are just looking back with rose colored glasses.

Anyways I set out to do a blind tasting of some newer and older MWNDs and was able to scrounge up samples of Acts 2, 5 and 6 to blind taste against Act 7. I recorded it and posted it to Instagram before sitting down the next day(yesterday) to write this version and spend a bit more time with each sample.

s Dram

Act 2.4 Scene 1048

Age: 6 year MGP and 16 year Barton

Abv: 98.6 proof

Mashbill:

  • 95/5 rye/malted barley (MGP)
  • 80/10/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)

Neat

Nose: Rye spice, rich herbal and subtler dark fruit notes

Taste: Spicy and herbal with rye spice, herbs including a distinct but not overwhelming dill note and a bit of sweetness. Great mouthfeel for the proof.

Finish: Very long, warm and sweet with a clear port influence and rich dark fruit and holiday spice notes that gets a little too spicy at the end for me.

7 - a great whiskey I’d order at a bar

Act 5 Scene 8

Age: NAS

Abv: 98.6 proof

Mashbill:

  • 95/5 rye/malted barley (MGP)
  • 53/37/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)
  • 80/10/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)

Neat

Nose: Warm spice, rye bread, cherry and vanilla notes.

Taste: Sweet dark fruit, herbal(no clear dill note but maybe a hint?) and warm spice notes with a hint of something else sweet. The mouthfeel is solid but not as nice as the Act 2.

Finish: Medium to long finish with more cherry and warm spice. Also gets a little too hot right at the end like the Act 2.

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home

Act 6 Scene 4

Age: NAS years

Abv: 98.6 proof

Mashbill:

  • 95/5 rye/malted barley (MGP)
  • 80/20 rye/malted rye (High West)
  • 53/37/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)
  • 80/10/10 rye/corn/malted barley (Barton)

Neat

Nose: Warm and sweet with cherry, vanilla, warm spice and herbal notes

Taste: Herbaceous then sweet with herbal notes, sweet cherry and a touch spice. Great mouthfeel but still not quite Act 2 level though a step up from Act 5.

Finish: Very long, sweet and lightly spicy with more cherry and baking spice notes. No heat flare from 2 or 5.

9 - a favorite I always try to keep on my shelf

Act 7 Scene 4

Age: NAS years

Abv: 98.6 proof

Mashbill:

  • 95/5 rye/malted barley (MGP)
  • 80/20 rye/malted rye from (High West)

Neat

Nose: Rye spice, dark fruit and vanilla notes

Taste: Warm and fruity with rye spice, cherry and vanilla notes. The mouthfeel is on par with Act 6.

Finish: Warm, sticky and sweet with cherry syrup and warm spice notes.

8 - an excellent bottle I’d like to have at home

Conclusion

These were all great! I feel pretty justified in my old reviews of Act 6 and Act 5 now as well. The older Acts(2 and 5) were much more traditional MGP/Barton ye with a lot of herbal notes and a little more heat. The more recent releases were definitely sweeter and fruitier which was great for me. Overall 6 was the clear winner and 2 was the clear loser with 5 getting a slight nod over 7.

I am going to keep buying these for the foreseeable future since they are trending up on average for me. I do hope they nail down a great ratio of their distillate to sourced stuff instead of radically changing it each year and lean in a little more on the port finishing time to hopefully get closer to replicating my favorite High West of all time.

TL;DR: MWND is good; 6>5>7>2 for me; more port finish is more my style

Scale

Scale

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