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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2009 and Virtuoso
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    High West Distillery

    I first reported about this venture about three years ago. My father-in-law lives in SLC and heard about this guy. Anyway, he has started distilling but his first product is a blend of two straight ryes he purchased. What is nice is that he states that it is a blend of a 6yo and a 16yo rye on his website.....he's not pretending he did the distilling.....just the blending. He has also made a vodka from oats. Someone to keep an eye out for. He told me several years ago he wants to make a specialty bourbon using "exotic" varieties of corn someday.

    www.highwestdistillery.com

    Randy

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: High West Distillery

    I have gotten into it a little bit with this guy in the past. Right before his web site went up he generated a bunch of publicity in which, somehow, all of the writers got the impression High West made the whiskey. Then the web site went up, where he admits he didn't. The point is that, like Scott Bush at Templeton, these guys are happy to create the illusion they made the product they're selling, and when they are called on it and admit they didn't, they get their backs up and get all hurt.

    Screw 'em.

    Although Perkins admits he didn't make the stuff, he won't tell us much that is meaningful about it and what he does say (e.g., "a 6-year-old 95% rye and an 16-year-old 80% rye.") is confusing. To what do the 95% and 80% refer. Mash bill? Why in the world would you make a 95% rye mash? Assuming the other 5% is malt, why bother? That's too little malt to effectively convert the starches. It just makes no sense. Who would make a rye that way? He won't tell us, naturally.

    He also writes, "A higher proportion of unmalted rye gives Rendezvous a unique flavor profile with notes of spicy cinnamon, caramel, honey, mint, and vanilla." Why say it's unmalted? Only Fritz Maytag uses malted rye. Unmalted is the norm. No one else points out that the rye in their rye whiskey is unmalted. Why does he? Naturally, he doesn't have answers to any of this.

    As for the oat vodka, from what I can tell he hasn't actually made anything yet. The web site talks about, "the 100-year-old livery stable that we are restoring as High West's home and the only ski-in distillery in the world." If they have some kind of current operation, they don't tell where it is.

    As I wrote when Perkins and I had our dust-up in January, "Far be it from me to strangle a baby in its bed, and I get the idea about getting some products out to get some cash coming in and some publicity going out, but the buzz you're creating is about people wanting to try that 18-year-old rye made in Utah, when it's nothing of the kind. I still have a problem with somebody calling himself a distiller and his company a distillery putting out a product he merely bought and bottled. It's not good for him in the long run. It's a bad way to start."

  3. #3
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    Re: High West Distillery

    I received a bottle for my birthday, along with 2 glasses that have a hand blown look. I haven't tried it as of yet, will let you know what I think once I do.
    Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

    Bob Marley.

  4. #4
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    Re: High West Distillery

    I tried the Rendezvous Rye,

    And now I never have to try it again. Of course I am going to let it rest now and give it another try.

    Don't ask me when.
    Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds.

    Bob Marley.

  5. #5

    Re: High West Distillery

    Chuck Cowdery says, "I still have a problem with somebody calling himself a distiller and his company a distillery putting out a product he merely bought and bottled." I agree. So I find myself annoyed by the concept of "Kentucky Bourbon Distillers" or "Old Pogue Distillery". Both outfits coyly imply that they distill their own products when we all know they do not. I even recall once meeting one of the Pogue clan at a local liquor store. I asked him where his product was distilled. He admitted that he did not distill it himself. Instead, he offered the explanation that Old Pogue is distilled by KBD. When I pointed out that KDB also does not distill (at least not yet), the Pogue guy maintained otherwise, directly contrary to the truth. I know that some enthusiasts argue we should only judge the product, not the advertising puffery. But history and tradition play a big role in the bourbon enthusiast's enjoyment of the drink. When non-distilling bottlers deliberately give the impression that they are distillers, the good name of a traditional product is diminished.
    Last edited by Sir Toby Belch; 09-25-2008 at 06:58.

  6. #6
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    Re: High West Distillery

    Quote Originally Posted by cowdery View Post
    Although Perkins admits he didn't make the stuff, he won't tell us much that is meaningful about it and what he does say (e.g., "a 6-year-old 95% rye and an 16-year-old 80% rye.") is confusing. To what do the 95% and 80% refer. Mash bill? Why in the world would you make a 95% rye mash? Assuming the other 5% is malt, why bother? That's too little malt to effectively convert the starches. It just makes no sense. Who would make a rye that way? He won't tell us, naturally.
    There are at least 3 ways I know to make a 95% rye mash bill ...

    1. Use 5% Gibb malt and hold the final mash temperature at about 146 degrees F for an unusually long time before pump out, then accept a moderately low conversion in exchange for the flavor profile you do get.

    2. Use 5% malted barley (Gibb or not) and enough malted rye to complete the conversion from starch to alcohol normally.

    3. Use 5% Gibb malt and supplement with enzymes to complete the conversion. There ARE bourbon mash bills in use right now that only use 5% Gibb malt with supplemental enzymes.. and they do just fine.... it's just not my method of choice ...
    Dave

    "Remember, the BEST bourbon is FREE bourbon ..."

  7. #7
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: High West Distillery

    The best information I've been able to obtain is that this whiskey came from Seagram's in Lawrenceburg, Indiana (now LDI). I can see them using a very high rye mash, since they were making it as blending whiskey, but there would be no reason to use an inefficient process, when say 90% rye and 10% malt (or whatever, Dave knows better than I) would have been an easy conversion.

    I also have no trouble believing they used supplemental enzymes.

  8. #8
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: High West Distillery

    Click here and look under "products" at what it says next to "rye."

  9. #9
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    Re: High West Distillery

    As I am interested in the ryes from high west I did mail to the distillery and asked were the different ryes (rendezvous, 16 and 21) were distilled. David Perkins answered that it was a secret, but that the 3 of them all came from different distilleries!? When I did prone and ask Brett at Binnyīs about rendezvous, he said that they had found the barrels at a Bartonís warehouse and that he though it probably was distilled at the old Seagramís in Indiana (as have been said before here) or at Bartonís (now Tom More) in Bardstown. Lots of questions mark as I see it, but of big interest so I hope anyone that get further information post it here.

    Leif
    Swedish lover of American whiskey

  10. #10
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: High West Distillery

    The information I have is that while all of the whiskey was distilled at Seagram's in Lawrenceburg, IN, it was obtained from different sources. Seagram's made it for blending and presumably sold some to other producers, such as Barton, who ultimately didn't need it and sold it to High West and Templeton.

    I have two issues with people who do this: (1) while most won't outright lie, they do try to get people to think they distilled the whiskey they're selling, and (2) I wonder if they ever really intended to make anything themselves?

 

 

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