High West Very Rare Light Whiskey 14 Years Old
What the Bottler Says:
Come see the light! High West Distillery, Utah’s first legal distillery since 1870, releases a limited edition 14-Year Light Whiskey. Beginning March 19, this special bottling is available exclusively to visitors at the High West Distillery at Blue Sky Ranch, followed by a roll out at the High West Saloon & Distillery in historic Old Town Park City on April 16.
“At High West, we believe education leads to appreciation so we wanted to shed some light on this rarely discussed type of whiskey,” says High West founder David Perkins. “This is a spirit that’s not likely to be available again for a long time.”
Light whiskey denotes a grain spirit that’s been distilled at a higher proof than a straight whiskey — between 80-95% alcohol by volume (ABV) versus less than 80% ABV respectively. It’s typically used as a component in about 95% of the world’s blended whiskeys. In the U.K., what they call grain whiskey is essentially the same thing as light whiskey.
“This whiskey was distilled at a higher proof on the still, which reduces the heaviness of the flavors, and reveals more floral and fruit subtleties,” said High West master distiller Brendan Coyle. “It was aged in used barrels, as opposed to first-use charred barrels, which lends more elegant complexities with a spirit-forward character.”
High West discovered 100 stunning barrels of light whiskey at MGP made from corn that was distilled between 1999 and 2001, aged in second-fill barrels. That wood aging imparted a traditionally light spirit with lovely vanilla and white chocolate notes, and an intriguing Concord grape overlay—to anything but typical results.
High West encourages you to indulge in this special offering all on its own—neat, with a touch of water, or on the rocks. The 14-Year Light Whiskey will retail for $99.95.
What Gary Says:
Nose: Subtle all around, faint oak, lightly sweet fruit, hints of cinnamon rolls (baked the day before) or apple pie (baked two days before).
Palate: Deliciously delicate, starts off soft and lightly sweet before some stronger fruit notes (figs and orange marmalade) and a bit of a nutty-spice kick in.
Finish: Lingers before slowly/softly slipping away.
Comments: For me this is a thinking/pondering dram. It is dangerously drinkable, but I don’t want to just throw it back – it begs to be studied carefully. It is very subtle and nuanced; more like a scotch than a bourbon (the aging and second-fill barrels certainly contribute to that). For a whiskey geek who is looking to experience “light whiskey” and try something different – this may be right up their alley, and I’d call it a “must-try”. For the casual whiskey drinker, you may not be happy dropping $100 on something you find “too subtle”.
Rating: Must Try
What Richard Says:
Nose: Lightly floral sweet.
Palate: Exceptionally creamy with a rich vanilla sweetness mixed with poached peach parfait.
Finish: The finish is almost non-existent. It is clean and short.
Comments: This is light in many more ways than name alone. This is an exceptionally delicate whiskey. It doesn’t necessarily have exceptional depth but it is very drinkable and intriguing for being a rare example of extra aged “light” whiskey. It reminds me more (as you would expect) of aged grain scotch much more than anything normally made in the U.S.
Rating: Stands Out
We would like to thank High West for sending us a sample to review.