Fall is here in Georgia finally. Those 90 degree days are gone and we’re met with mild temperatures and cool breezes. Today in particular was just a rainy, cool, lazy Sunday and I had a craving for a pour of something that matched the weather and my mood. What better drink to start off Autumn with than High West’s A Midwinter Nights Dram?
This is one of my favorite fall/winter pours and is a perfect whiskey for sitting outside in the cool weather and just taking in a bit of nature as you sip away on this pleasant rye blend. MWND is one of High West’s special releases each year and is a blend of their Rendezvous Rye whiskey that has been finished in French Oak port barrels. The Act denotes the year of production and the Scene denotes the bottling batch (i.e. Act 7 is the 7th year they’ve produced MWND and Scene 1 is the first batch produced this year).
Unlike Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye, this is how rye finished in port should be done. The whiskey first and foremost both smells and tastes like rye and then you get a bit of the port barrel influence that adds a fruity sweetness to an already pleasant rye. The nose is rich with rye spice, dried fruits from the port barrel and Christmas spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. The palate is sweet with vanilla, caramel and rye spices. There are hints of cinnamon and dark fruits as well, followed by a long and warm finish with the rye spice and cinnamon sweetness lingering on the tongue.
Doing a quick taste test comparing the bottle to last year’s release, Act 7 squeaks out ahead of last year’s ever so slightly. There’s a deeper richness to this year’s release and I’m not sure if that can be attributed to oxidization of my Act 6 since it’s been open a year or if there really is more flavor in this years release. The basic flavor profile is on point with both pours, but Act 7 is just a tiny bit sweeter and richer. I’d still take a bottle of either if offered, so take that for what you will.
MWND is a very well balanced rye that pairs well with crisp, cool weather and cloudy days. I would highly recommend this bottle to anyone that wants a unique rye experience or just wants to try something different. This could be a gateway whiskey for the wine fan in your life as it’s rather accessible at 98.6 proof and could be brought a bit lower with a few drops of water and still remain faithful to its flavor profile. MSRP on this bottle is $99 here in Georgia and I think while that’s a bit steep, it’s a fair price for this delicious bottle. I had to call several stores to get one for $99, with many charging as much as $149 for the handful of bottles they received, which I personally don’t think is worth the 50% markup. However, it seemed much easier to find this year, so I don’t know if production went up or if allocation in Georgia went up. Either way, I like that I was able to find one with relative ease this year even a week or two after they hit the state distribution. If you can find one for close to retail, I would recommend giving it a try. I don’t think you will be disappointed.