Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Newest High West: Son of Bourye

I was a big fan of High West's innovative Bourye, a mix of a bourbon and two rye whiskeys. Stocks for that original recipe ran out so now High West has a similar blend it has bottled as Son of Bourye.

Son of Bourye combines a five year old Four Roses bourbon that is made from 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% barley malt and a three year old LDI rye that is 95% rye and 5% barley malt. This is a much younger affair than the original Bourye which contained the same bourbon at ten years old, the same rye at 12 years old and an additional 16 year old rye made by the Barton distillery. Son of Bourye also runs about $20 cheaper than the original.

High West Son of Bourye, Batch 2, 46% abv ($40)

Already on the nose it smells on the young side. I can pick up that strong rye that I associate with young LDI. Based on the nose, I braced myself for the heavily briny and vegetal rye palate you get with the youthful LDI ryes, but the palate is actually much more delicate. That young, bold rye is in there, no doubt, but it's balanced nicely with some sweet and slightly oaky notes. It may be that a shot of Four Roses is exactly what a three year old LDI rye needs to moderate some of its rough edges. There is a slightly diluted quality to this and I would have liked to taste a higher strength version, but it's quite drinkable.

I still have some of the original Bourye, so I did a head to head comparison. As you would expect, the original Bourye, made from much older whiskeys, is more complex with more interplay going on between the rye spice and the more bourbony notes. It's a more sophisticated whiskey, but of course, it's a completely different composition, and it is significantly more expensive than its more brash young son, which is fun and drinkable in its own right.

It may not have the complexity of Bourye, but Son of Bourye is a fun and drinkable whiskey that's worth trying.


AaronWF said...

I only had a brief taste of Boureye at WhiskeyFest last year, and I think I tasted it in the wrong context. I was already hopping between bourbon, rye and scotches of all hue, so when I got to the Boureye, it struck me more as a work of abstraction than a whiskey I would like to spend time with in the glass. Kind of like Danger Mouse's Grey Album.

But now I'm feeling that I might be missing out on the father of the reviewed whiskey...

SteveBM said...

Chalk me up as one who did not like the Bourye. First tried it in San Diego and then again in Seattle. I thought the rye completely overpowered any flavor the bourbon might've had and I guess I just didn't 'get it' as an experiment. Seemed like a waste of 3 good products to me. The overall flavor was, for lack of a better word, strange.