Today, I am doing my first tandem review with my good friend, William, from http://dramgoodtime.com/. We both have tried this whiskey on several occasions, and hopefully seeing how we go about reviewing the whiskey will demonstrate how whiskey tastings can differ from person to person. As a disclaimer, William and I reviewed the same bottle separately, and we did not compare tasting notes prior to our posts.
The whiskey we have chosen for our first (of many, hopefully) tandem review is High West’s Campfire Whiskey. High West is a distillery and saloon from Park City, Utah. It is a relatively young distillery that has not started bottling its own whiskey yet. For now, High West is sourcing whiskey from a variety of distilleries and blending them to make some fantastic products. Most of the High West products are at least $40/750ml, so they are rarely bargain buys. However, they do make some great whiskeys for under $50 if you are interested in drinking some fine whiskey this holiday season.
High West’s Campfire Whiskey is a blend of a straight bourbon, a straight rye, and a blended, peated Scotch. All of the components are at least 5 years old. The two American components are LDI whiskeys from the old Seagram’s plant in Indiana. The source of the peated Scotch is kept secret by High West. They are all blended together in unknown quantities, and bottled at 92 proof. Needless to say, this is a unique whiskey.
On the nose, Campfire whiskey is unlike any whiskey I have sniffed before. There are notes of caramel, some vanilla, evergreen trees, and a nice puff of smoke now and again. With a few drops of water, the rye characteristics of evergreens, gin botanicals, and black licorice assert themselves a bit more. The palate begins sweet, with caramel, vanilla, and honey. It moves through some pine, holly, and juniper before it reaches the smokiness at the back of the palate. The finish is where the peat shows up most. The finish is medium-long, but very well balanced between sweet vanilla and wet peat.
Overall, this whiskey is unique and very enjoyable. It can be a little confusing on your senses, but that gives it a lot of versatility. My grade: B+. Price: $45-50/750ml. This is a great whiskey, and the price is reasonable. It is definitely worth a try if you are looking for something a little different.
Here are William’s thoughts (if you would like to read his blog, check it out here).
Color: Dark Amber/Copper
Nose: Smoldering pine needles and pine cones, soft peat, cinnamon, toffee, and with a little time it opens up with notes of heather honey.
Palate: The palate gets interesting with sharp black pepper, followed up with some dry oak, toffee, a bit of that smoke, vanilla, honey, and a light peat that goes right into the finish.
w/ Water: A little calmer with a bit more honey and sweetness showing, but the spices, light peat, and vanilla aren’t going anywhere.
Finish: Moderate to long, sweet and dry finish with pepper and hints of smoke and peat.
This is quite a unique dram with each whisk(e)y in this blend clearly present and pretty well balanced with the rest. The rye stands out slightly more but it works very well. I would personally enjoy just a bit more of a smoke and peat influence, but it’s not needed. Not a full campfire yet, but it’s definitely being lit; good stuff.
That concludes our review of High West Campfire whiskey. As you can see, we both reviewed this whiskey similarly. That will not always be the case, but for Campfire Whiskey, it is indicative of a very good pour of blended whiskey. Let it ride!