High West Distillery was founded in 2006 by David Perkins and his wife where they became for the first legal distillery in Utah since 1870. The idea to open a distillery formed after a trip to the home of bourbon, Kentucky, in 2001. David a former biochemist, saw the parallels between the fermentation and distilling process and his own work in biochemistry.
High West American Prairie Bourbon is a blended bourbon from multiple sources and is said to be aged for at least 2 years.
The company donates 10% of after tax profits to the American Prairie Reserve in northeastern Montana. Once completed, the reserve will be approximately 5,000 square miles making it large than Yellowstone, Yosemite and Gran Teton National Parks combined. You can read about the cause at americanprairie.org.
Review: High West American Prairie
ABV: 46% (92 Proof)
Mash Bill: Blend
Location: Park City, Utah (USA)
The Nose: A citrus component appears in the form of orange peel but at first glance there really isn’t much going on with the aroma. Letting the glass sit for a bit a rather light aroma of dill and sea salt begin to form with the slightest hint of caramel.
The Experience: The initial sip as expected at the higher proof offers a little bit of heat and spice alongside abundance of anise on the long warm finish. Subsequently the High West American Prairie blended bourbon sees notes of burnt caramel, vanilla and anise with orange peel on the finish. The intense orange peel finish makes me wonder how this bourbon would be in a properly made old-fashioned.
The Pairing: We opted to pair this bourbon with Byron from Selected Tobacco because like this bourbon the blend is secret. In the past, we’ve had a barrel pick of this bourbon and thought it would pair well. Unfornately the two couldn’t find any enhancing qualities, but thankfully neither detracted from the other. We never allow our pairing to affect our scoring, but if we did it wouldn’t have changed a thing.
Conclusion: At a local cigar bar I go to with my wife, they have a barrel pick of High West Whiskey American Prairie Bourbon and I was hopeful this would have similarities, but they were incredibly different in my opinion. That doesn’t make this a bad bourbon, but nothing stands out making this a rather pedestrian offering. As a result, the bourbon falls short for me, and not even one of my favorite cigars could save that for me. I found myself focussing on my cigar and rarely reaching for my drink.
Price: $18.99 (375ml in New Hampshire)
Sometimes the barrel pick is the lessor; it’s good to find a place you can trust their taste. Overall the only High West I’ve enjoyed thus far is Midwinter Night’s Dram.