Well this is a new one for me. High West Distillery is a relatively new outfit from Utah – and is the first legal distillery to open in that state. It seems that while they’ve started distilling their own product, none of it has aged enough for their standards, so Rendezvous was created from two whiskeys distilled in Kentucky: a 6-year old rye and a 16-year old rye. This seems like a decent way to solve the problem of having to wait for the barrels to do their work before having anything to sell – this way High West has product on the shelves, paving the way for their own stuff. It also doesn’t hurt that their blend has won some accolades either. Let’s see what it’s like.
– Blended by High West Distillery
– 92 proof
Hmm. Rendezvous crosses just about every line of taste I’ve outlined in the past year plus on this blog. Two large paragraphs of text on the back, faux-aged type, Old-West rustic style bottle, and questionable claims to an authenticity-granting history.
Some quick research shows that High West ran into some trouble among the bourbon community for not being clearer that Rendezvous was not distilled, but only blended, by High West itself. I’m not sure how important this ultimately is so long as the end-product is good – but it is odd to try so hard with the packaging to grasp at historical and narrative authenticity while remaining a little shady on an actual issue of authenticity.
To the nose I get a sensation of pancakes and maples syrup as well as some citrus/orange. The mouth feel is pretty luxurious on this and this comes across right away. Over it all, there’s a bit of smoke lingering around. There’s a creamy taste to this that moves into a strong rye flavor with a bit of a tart bite to it at the end. The finish is reasonably long and quite spicy, which is a nice touch.
As I said before, Rendezvous goes against all my sensibilities when it comes to American whiskey packaging – but this is one of the better whiskeys I’ve tasted lately. The product itself is definitely impressive and I’ll come back to this one for sure. Let’s just hope they revamp their angle when it comes to presentation.