High West American Prairie Reserve
A Blend of Straight Bourbons
What the Blender Says:
High West Distillery is passionate about the American West’s culture, heritage, and natural beauty and wants to raise awareness of one of the most fantastic projects of our time: the American Prairie Reserve in northeastern Montana. We tip our hats to this amazing effort to assemble the largest wildlife reserve in the lower 48 states. When stepping onto the plains of American Prairie Reserve, it is not difficult to imagine the landscape as Lewis and Clark and Native Americans saw it, with thundering herds of bison, racing bands of pronghorn antelope and prairie dog towns dotting the horizon. When the Reserve is complete, it will be approximately 5,000 square miles, or roughly the size of Connecticut. On the front label: the stunning greater sage grouse is just one of the many beautiful species that call the American prairie home. Habitat destruction has led to steep declines in sage grouse populations across the West and the bird is now a candidate for Endangered Species Act protection. However, these beautiful birds still thrive on the Reserve. Visit in early spring to see male sage grouse vying for mates as they “dance” on the breeding ground, called a lek.
• 6 year old Bourbon
• Mashbill from 75% Corn
• 20% rye
• 5% barley malt (LDI now MGP)
• 10 year old Bourbon
• Mashbill from 60% Corn
• 35% rye
• 5% barley malt (a distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY)
Nose: A subtle, albeit pleasant, nose on the first pour. Opens up into a floraled butter corn, cotton candy, and fruit nose.
Taste: Candy sweetness is the first thing which explodes on your tongue. Super sweet, but it has a relatively dry mouthful throughout, meaning the sweetness does not overtake the senses in a more syrupy bourbon. The short rye spice and pecan pie finish is a good thing in this case, never overwhelming.
What Gary Says:
Nose: Musty oak sweetness, vanilla and toffee, fresh tobacco, leather, hints of coffee grounds and honey.
Palate: Creamy mouthfeel, luscious texture – nicely balanced caramel and chocolate sweetness, dried fruit with a bit of a pepper-spice edge.
Finish: Lingers nice and slowly, drying.
Comments: This is a really great whiskey for the price, and some of the proceeds go to a good cause. Incredibly easy to drink, but also the kind of pour I could spend ample time studying if that was what I was in the mood for. Note that there is an American Prairie and American Prairie Reserve – which are not the same. I appreciate the transparency from High West about what is in the bottle, and for the money – this is damned hard to beat!
Rating: Must Try
What Richard Says:
Nose: Cherries, oranges, corn pudding, and crushed mint.
Palate: Orange marmalade, vanilla cream, cinnamon, and anise.
Finish: Dry and woody with hints of chocolate and licorice.
Comments: A lovely solid bourbon on par with Four Roses Single Barrel or Russell’s Reserve. Not stunning but no slouch. Easy to drink and versatile in flavor and style.
Rating: Stands Out