From the bottle label:
Are you sure That we are awake? It seems to me That yet we sleep, we dream. - Demetrius, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 4, Scene 1 - Wm. Shakespeare
As I sit by the first fire with @amongstthefernsco in our new home tonight, I can't help but feel grateful for all the things that are going well for us this year. I feel a connection to my Spirit Animal folks - the fun holiday colors of our glencairns adorning my mantle. I'm excited to see where we go next! This should be a fun tasting. If you have any of these batches let me know what you think of them! Time to get into some fun (trouble).
A Midwinter Night's Dram
Company on Label: High West
Whiskey Type: A Blend of Straight Rye Whiskeys
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed proportions of 95% Rye, 5% Barley and 80% Rye, 20% Malted Rye
Age: NAS (mix of MGP and High West barrels that vary in age ranges)
Further identification: These are High West Rendezvous Rye finished in French oak port barrels;
Act 7 Scene 6 is the Fall 2019 release
Act 8 Scene 4 is the Fall 2020 release
Act 9 Scene 1 + 3 is the Fall 2021 release
The difference between Scene 1 and Scene 3 from Act 9 is that they are individual batches
Act 7 Scene 6 Review
Lumber yard. Soft, wavy vanilla. Smooth, creamy nose feel. Spiced salt water taffy. Soft hot chocolate notes diving the nose deep in the glass. Slight dryer sheet alongside infinitely complex vanilla. I am liking the nose on this one the best so far. Finished? Finished in what? This is the best example of the bunch of letting the whiskey shine. I mainly taste a delicious rye - minty, herbal, with citrus zest and caramel. This one dances a bit on your tongue and then lingers in a delicious pool of sweetness at the back of your mouth. Yum! Woah, great complexity again here. Now the finish is starting to come in a bit stronger, but again as a welcome addition to the awesome base whiskey notes. There's more spice on this with faint clove and punchy rye spice. This really drinks mainly like a fantastic rye. If you are in the mood for that it's got great depth, but less sweetness than Act 9 Scene 3.
Act 8 Scene 4 Review
Creamy caramel and dull metallics. Dry, tannic oak. Slightly grainy here on long draws through the nose. Dark chocolate. Going in for a taste reveals herbal funkiness, tannic oak, and a slow, soft wave of red wine. There are a few flashes of basil and thyme in the finish that reminds me of cooking my venison stew recipe. Sipping this one after Act 9, Scene 1 leaves Act 8 a little underwhelming - there's a bit of cinnamon that flashes up near my gums, but otherwise a low intensity experience compared to the other glasses. A bigger swig and swish is still rather plain with just hints of blood orange, caramel and maraschino cherry.
Act 9 Scene 1 Review
Syrupy cherry and a sweet funk. Faint vanilla and light allspice on deep inhales. Wow, the port influence on this one is the most apparent yet. Savoring a taste of this reveals beautiful, rich cherry notes up front with caramel, apricot and molasses following close behind. The linger on this is quite long and sweet. It reminds me of the mouth feel after drinking wine. If I had to guess, this batch spent longer in the finishing barrel than Scene 3. Coming back to this there is still so much port influence on the palate; it's a rich, dark sweetness that coats the mouth heavily. The linger is incredibly long but a little one directional; not at all disappointing if you like that sweet dark wine taste. Darker and more chocolate forward than Act 7. I like this one a lot but it's something I'd reach for on a moodier, stormier night than tonight.
Act 9 Scene 3 Review
Bright, shiny grape. Plum is soft and sugary without being too strong. Smoky oak. Bright citrus layers into a fresher hint-of-Spring oak. Sipping this first of the 4 glasses reveals a slightly chalky mouth feel with dry raisin, lemon zest and a long linger of dates and stewed sour cherries. Mmm, the fruitiness has built well in this glass with time. Sharp vanilla on the nose leads into some soft cereals and a nice wave of lemon buttercream frosting on the palate. Very much a raisin forward palate now with a slight bubble gum that leans towards spearmint. Lemon tea on the palate. Woah, this is mounting a comeback and is really trying to compete with Act 7. This might be a photo finish, or I'll have to call in a tie breaker palate... My final sip before deciding says: unreal butterscotch coffee bean, amaretto, syrupy maraschino cherries and Nilla wafers.
Final Ranking: Act 9 Scene 3 > Act 7 Scene 6 > Act 9 Scene 1 > Act 8 Scene 4
I know I was super nit-picky with my notes here tonight, but it's hard not to be when you are reviewing 4 of the same release. I wanted to illustrate some of the differences between the batches in an effort to be informative! Do you have a favorite batch? Any of these pours when the snow starts falling never fails to hit the spot. Here's to hoping for another Winter without back injuries during shoveling or ice skating! Act 8's aren't at all bad either based on the findings from this tasting. I had an Act 8, Scene 3 that I loved and killed really quickly the winter of last year with family. I also have an Act 8, Scene 5 to look forward to trying as well at some point. I find myself licking at my teeth to grab off any of the sweetness from all these incredible pours that may be stuck there. I'm still enjoying a blend of what remained of all of these at the end of my review. It's quite good all blended together. I may have to explore some of these in fixed volumes if there is any interest. I'll always be a fan of these releases and I hope to make some of these great batches last til next Winter!