High West Yippee Ki-Yay
A Blend of Straight Rye Whiskeys
What the Blender Says:
Available December 5th at High West locations. One day, just for fun, we put some rye whiskey into barrels originally used to age wine. When we mixed the ‘vermouth-ed’ (Vya, Madera, CA) and the ‘syrah-ed’ (Qupé Santa Maria, CA) we discovered an all-natural, not disgustingly sweet whiskey for the rest of us.
How to Enjoy:
Yippee Ki-Yay™ is great as an aperitif on ice, neat with dessert, or on its own. Try it in a Manhattan. This stuff rocks.
Where did “Yippee Ki-Yay” come from? Is it a real expression of joy popular with cowboys in the 19th century Western United States? Is it part of the greatest one liner in movie history? Was it influenced by the phrase ‘Yippie-yi-yo-ki-yay’ from the 1936 hit song “I’m an Old Cow Hand from the Rio Grande” about a 20th-century cowboy who has little in common with cowpunchers of old and sung by Bing Crosby in the film “Rhythm on the Range” (also sung later by Roy Rogers and Frank Sinatra) and considered one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time? We’re not sure. But we are sure we like how we feel when we say it… and recommend you use it every chance you get.
Back Label Story:
We confess…we didn’t coin the term “Yippee Ki-Yay”. Moreover, we didn’t paint the picture on the front label. It’s an historic poster (Gift of The Coe Foundation and Henry B. Balink) now at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming (centerofthewest.org, you really ought to visit). Furthermore, we didn’t distill the whiskeys in this bottle (it’s our Double Rye!® – sourced whiskey – see highwest.com for details). However, we did come up with a combination that we think will make you say…Yippee Ki-Yay drinkers of horrible tasting cheap flavored uisge beatha! One day, just for fun, we put Double Rye!® into oak barrels that had originally been used to age two different types of wine (see highwest.com for details) and discovered an all-natural, not disgustingly-sweet sipper for the rest of us.High West’s Yippee Ki-YayTM is great as an aperitif on ice, neat with dessert, on its own, or try it in a Manhattan. This stuff rocks.
Not chill filtered marriage of two straight rye whiskies
The 2-year-old: 95% rye, 5% barley malt mashbill (LDI now MGP)
The older rye has a “barely legal” rye mashbill of: 53% rye, 37% corn (Barton Distillery)
Barrel type: Oak barrel that previously held Vermouth Barrel (Vya, Madera, CA), Oak barrel that previously held Qupé Syrah (Qupé Santa maria, CA)
Color: An unusual beautiful ruby red (from the Syrah barrel finish)
Nose: Fresh cinnamon stick, crushed blackberries (cassis) with some herbs (thyme and sage) in the background.
Taste: A big, bold punch of cinnamon spice and blackberries on a foundation of vanilla and caramel, the long finish is dried orange rind and herbs.
What Gary Says:
Nose: Wow – like a funky cocktail! Heavy wine influence & vermouth, which for me overpowers the whiskey
Palate: Warm, odd fermented dark fruit with herbal notes (sage).
Finish: Moderate in length
Comments: First off, I consider myself a big High West fan. I think David Perkins is a class act, and High West has done some marvelous things – and I appreciate the transparency with which they’ve done them! This might be a great gateway whiskey for wine fans, but I didn’t love it – just too much of the wine & vermouth influence for me. Honestly, it could be fermented [fill in the blank]. The whiskey foundation for me was lost. It reminded me a bit of Perique (a tobacco liqueur), which I also like – but it isn’t whiskey. I applaud the innovation, and if you like vermouth and wine – you might absolutely love this. I’m not a big fan of either, and while a big rye fan – this wasn’t in my wheelhouse.
Rating: Stands Out
What Richard Says:
Nose: The wine really lays heavy on the nose with notes of cinnamon, stewed dark fruits, balsamic vinegar, and red wine.
Palate: Mulled wine with cinnamon sticks floating in it and a big spoonful of blackberry jam. It really kind of reminds me of Swedish Glogg a bit.
Finish: Minty and slightly woody.
Comments: Yum! I’m not the biggest vermouth fan but I really like this. It’s more in the vein of A Midwinter Night’s Dram. It reminds of a lovely evening by the fire during the holidays. Maybe it’s the association with Glogg but either way I really enjoy this. It’s like Angel’s Envy Rye in that I like it a lot but the unique flavor is something I would have to be in the mood for and wouldn’t want all the time.
Rating: Stands Out