Monday, July 1, 2013

High West's Barreled Boulevardier

High West is both a distiller and a bottler/blender.  They've also done something fairly unique in bottling barrel aged cocktails.  I'm a big fan of High West's 36th Vote Barreled Manhattan, so I was excited to hear they were releasing a second barrel aged cocktail.  A Boulevardier is a bourbon Negroni, a combination of bourbon, bitter liqueur (usually Campari) and sweet vermouth.  The High West version combines two parts bourbon, one part Vya sweet vermouth and one half part Gran Classico, a Swiss amaro (using more bourbon and less bitter than is typical).  The bourbon is a six year old low-rye recipe bourbon from MGPI in Indiana.  It is then aged in bourbon barrels for four to six months. 

High West sent me a sample of the Barreled Boulevardier along with a non-aged version to compare.

High West, The Barreled Boulevardier, 36% abv ($50)

The Boulevardier has a pleasant herbal flavor.  The botanicals from the vermouth mix well with the bourbon.  The bitterness of the amaro is much more understated than in most Negronis I've had (which are usually made with Campari).  It really doesn't hit until the finish which has just a slight bitterness mixed in with the herbs.

Unaged, this was too sweet for me, but the barrel aging seems to mute the sweetness and bring out the spice.

This is a very nice cocktail and definitely worth trying for the cocktail fans out there.


sam k said...

Whether by design or happenstance (or a bit of both!) Mr. Perkins has become the most cutting-edge figure in American whiskey, and his examples are now being followed by many others.

Blending straight whiskeys of different types, to the point of including scotch, has become much more commonplace after his lead, as has the barrel aging of various cocktails. That, plus he's distilling his own stuff, and who knows what we'll see from that?

I'm pretty sure he's not even close to being done with his creative madness yet!

EllenJ said...

I believe Dave Perkins (High West) and Don Outterson (Woodstone Creek) are two of the most innovative creators of new categories of American spirits out there. Dave has the advantage of a much larger production facility, Don is transitioning from his back-room distillery to one where he can actually produce more than one barrel at a time (and be able to price accordingly). Others will follow soon, I know. And I can't WAIT to see what the next decade brings!