Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Constellation Brands' Yippee Ki-Yay

There was big news a few weeks ago when Constellation Brand purchased High West. Constellation Brand formerly owned the Barton Distillery, but since selling it in 2009, they haven't had any American whiskey in their profile. High West, located in Utah, has been one of the break-out companies of the new whiskey boom. While they do distill, most of what they have released, and the whiskeys that have made a name for them, are blends of sourced whiskey, some of which, ironically, was distilled at the Barton Distillery.

With all this news, I thought it would be a good time to try one of High West's more recent offerings. Yippee Ki-Yay is High West's Double Rye (a mix of Barton and MGP rye) finished in Syrah and Vermouth casks.

High West Yippee Ki-Yay, 46% abv

The nose has a strong rye profile with lots of spice. On the palate it starts with rye but then the wine comes in and gives a really nice balance to the rye. Soon after that, boom, it's all vermouth.  Those botanical vermouth notes are big and stay with you through the finish, which pretty much tastes like you've been drinking a Manhattan.

This is a fun rye, but the vermouth notes are a bit overwhelming. I would have liked to taste the portion that was only finished in Syrah casks.

Thanks to Florin for the sample.


mike said...

Sku love your thoughts and opinions. felt the same way about this until i added vermouth and bitters and made an outstanding manhattan. im sure it wasnt intended to be consumed that way but, spectacular

sku said...

mike, that sounds like a great idea. You might not even need that much vermouth given the strong vermouth notes.

Unknown said...

Sku, great notes. I'm a new follower to your blog, so I'm not sure if you've tried their Midwinter. This year's version 4 just got released, and last year's was amazing

Sam Komlenic said...

I think it's worth mentioning that the vermouth barrels formerly contained Vya vermouth from Quady Winery. Vya is very distinctive, containing tons of those herbal notes you mention. I keep a bottle on hand at all times for an incredible Manhattan.

I also like Foro amaro as a substitute for vermouth; it makes a notably distinct Manhattan in its own right.

tanstaafl2 said...

I was fortunate to have an opportunity to try the Vya vermouth component of YKY by itself, courtesy of David Perkins, when this first came out and it was an absolutely cinnamon bomb but very enjoyable in its own right, particularly if you like Vya vermouth. I would love to have tried the Qupe Syrah finished portion on its own as well. I don't know what the proportions are but I have to think that only a small portion of the vermouth finish would be needed to drive the bus here.