It took all year but here is the end of my 30 part series on finished American whiskies. In addition to drinking a lot of finished bourbon and rye this year I got to do participate in my first and second finished whiskey picks with two High West selections for Debs Liquor here in Austin.
For the first selection me and one other guy tasted through 10 barrels with 6 Double Ryes and 4 American Prairie Bourbons. It was very clear after the initial tasting that we wanted to go with a Double Rye. We narrowed it down to a funky Jamaican Rum and a more accessible Syrah finish that was reminiscent of a higher proof, less sweet Yippe Ki Yay. After some deliberation we landed on the Syrah.
Age: NAS - finished for 9 months in Syrah
Abv: 103 proof
Barrel Number: 17247
Nose: Strong wine influence with lots of dark fruit and warm spice with subtler oak and vanilla.
Taste: A lot going on with rye spice, red wine, cloves, rich herbs and oak notes.
Finish: Long slightly dry finish with lingering baking spice and oak.
Obviously I am fan of the barrel we picked but I’m also biased since I picked it. For our second pick we unfortunately did not get the same wide selection. This time we only had 3 options with 2 Double Ryes and an American Prairie Bourbon. This time it was obvious which barrel we wanted to pick with a Double Rye finished in PX Sheryy easily outclassing the other two options. The barrel unfortunately got delayed into next year so it didn’t make it into this series but I’m looking forward to it as well.
Overall I’ve enjoyed tasting through so many finished American whiskies this year and I’m still a fan of what using a finishing cask can do. Scotch has been using wine casks to produce excellent whiskies forever and I’m glad to see this practice continuing to gain traction in America.
Lastly I am never writing a 30 part series again!
TL;DR: After writing about finished whiskey all year getting to do 2 finished rye picks was awesome! 30 parts is too many.