High West Midwinter Nights Dram – Act 1

Midwinter Nights Dram 1

Do I have to do a preamble to this one? I mean, unless you’re really, really new to this subreddit, you’ve heard everything about High West Midwinter Nights Dram – Act 1 over and over again. Finished in French Oak Barrels and Port pipes. It’s a rye from Utah. It was originally the Rendezvous Rye prior to being finished.

No, no, you people need something to hook you. Like something out of the Food Network.

Yeah, it was Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, and I split this sample, traded to me by the gracious /r/LetThereBeR0ck, with my uncle and my father. They need to try new things, they’re busy people.

The true, amazing part of this weekend, is my process in making a good turkey though.

First off, make sure you brine it. I don’t care what you put in your brine, however just brine it. This year I used brown sugar, honey, and spices (along with water and salt, duh-doy).

Midwinter Nights Dram 2

Price: I’ll be lucky if Act 4 makes it up here… if there ever is one. N/A in Ontario

Region: Utah

Abv: 49.3%

Mashbill: 6 year old straight rye whisky (95% rye and 5% barley malt MGP) and 16 year old straight rye (80% rye, 10% corn, 10% barley malt (Barton Distillery)

Colour: Dark brown

Nose: Orange, plum, nail polish remover, caramel, dark honey, dark fruits, smoke, light nutmeg

You have to give this one some time to breathe. Or add some water. Either way, it needs it. Starts off with a lot of orange and offensive notes, and then ends with nice winter notes. Perfect for a fall day.

Up next, make sure your turkey has a rub UNDER the skin, not on top of it. Take your hands, separate the skin and the meat. This is important. I use mostly butter and spices, with a dried Italian meat.

Taste: Grapes, plum, currant, smoke, anise, sea salt, light maple syrup (buttery flavour), caramel

Wow. This has a really nice, grape/dark fruit and smokey/salty flavour to it. I’m enjoying it more than other Port finishes. It’s lightly port influenced, and pairs well with the (assumed) floral aspects of the rye. There’s a big-ass (My Anaconda don’t want none unless you’ve got buns hun) caramel note too. Somewhat distracting, though not overly bad.

Up next, stuffing. If you can, just shove an apple up the turkey. If your family needs stuffing (like mine), just mix in some apple slices and sausage with the stuffing. Oh, and butter. I use boerewors and hot Italian Sausage. Don’t overcook the sausage. Also don’t use mild, just doesn’t help.

Finish: Currant, floral, allspice, papaya, white sugar, dill

I’m a little torn about the finish. It’s somewhat brief (not too short), has a nice rye element, and you can taste the French oak influence. That said, there’s an abrasive white sugar/dill mix in there that sticks out like a South Asian gentleman at a Nazi skinhead concert. It does somewhat throw the finish off enough that I’m not 100% sold on it.

Finally, it’s all in the detail at the end. I make sure I baste the turkey starting an hour after it’s on the smoker. I smoke the turkey, as that adds a nice flavour, and ensures indirect heat. The turkey is tied up tight to ensure good solid cooking. Learn how to properly dissect the bird afterward. And keep an eye on it.

Conclusion: And that’s how you make a nice turkey.

What? I thought people were bored of reviews of this dram?

Anyway, back to the dram at heart: It has a great nose, you just have to let it breathe or add some water. The taste is great, as they’ve created a different than other Port finished whisky taste that is unique and well worth trying. The finish needs work. Maybe more Port influence? Maybe it’s the MGP mashbill. It’s something. In the end, this is well worth buying.

85/100

Bourbon review #32, Utah review #4, Whiskey Network review #286

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