High West Yippie Ki-Yay

Some time ago I was lucky enough to be sent a very intriguing package from America. After a slight delay clearing customs, a box postmarked ‘Utah’ arrived on my doorstep. (Authors note: FedEx doesn’t actually postmark anything but you need a bit of artistic licence here and there) 

Inside was a bottle of High West Distilleries Yippie Ki-Yay Blended Straight Rye.  It’s a strange fusion of rye whiskies finished in Vermouth and Syrah casks.

I had, at the time, just been conversing with Ben Bowers who runs the charity campaign ‘A Dram A Day‘ and was featured in a previous Desert Island Dram article.

I ended up sending Ben a sample of this for his charity whisky challenge as he was in the middle of a run of bourbon reviews. You can listen to his thoughts here.

Yippie Ki-Yay, High West Distillery, Blended Rye, 46%abv, Press Sample


The nose is quite sweet. Deep, dark vanilla essence and some brown sugar. Caramelised brown sugar with a slight tannic edge.

The palate is sweet initially. It is thick and quite syrupy. A strange sharp element emerges which can only be the influence of the (somewhat strange) combination of casks. There is quite a tannic and dry feeling here. The rye emerges alongside the vanilla and a dry dustiness.

The finish is pretty much made up of the sharpness of the palate. When it fades the sweetness returns but slightly overshadowed by the tannic wine notes and the vermouth dryness.

A very strange whisky but really rather likeable, or maybe I don’t like it. I’m having difficulty deciding. It’s a bit of a mish mash of flavours and styles and is a ‘Mood Dram’.

This certainly wont agree with everyones palate but its always good to see companies who aren’t afraid to try new ideas. Open a bottle of this with friends and discussion and debate will soon flow.

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