High West Bourye

highwest_bourye_whiskey_zoom                                           A few weeks ago we reviewed Son of Bourye from High West. This week’s review is for the harder to find and much more expensive Bourye. Like the son, the parent is an aged blend of a Rye Whiskey and Bourbon, in both cases the Bourbon comes from Four Roses which is in itself a high Rye Bourbon. So, as we previously stated, with Son of Bourye, you are essentially drinking a Rye.

Bourye comes in the same old fashioned tall glass bottle that is a signature of High West. It is bottled at 92 proof and sells for around $90.00. We are not positive on the overall age. It is a blend of 17 year old Rye Whiskey, 13 year old Rye Whiskey and and a 9 year old Bourbon.

As stated above, Bourye is very hard to find, we understand this is because it is no longer in production but we couldn’t confirm that. We still come across a bottle in stores that sell high end spirits.

We were somewhat rough on Son of Bourye, will the father get better treatment?


Ron:  Initially I did not get much on the nose but patience paid off and eventually I got many great aromas. Foremost, it had a clean sherry like scent, along with that I detected oak, leather, tobacco and almonds. After a small cube melted, I got a hint of mint.

Todd:  Well, about the only thing we have in common is the fact that the nose took a little effort. I got a pepper-type spice up front, this was followed by slight whiffs of smoke, cherries, cedar and just a touch of cinnamon. Strange, also got an aroma like cotton candy.


Ron:  Pretty smooth for 92 proof. I tasted the sherry and leather that I got on the nose along with the pepper spice that Todd got on the nose. Behind that was a sweet citrus taste.

Todd:  Agreed that it is smooth and with the leather, citrus and spice. I tasted the slight smokiness, cedar and cinnamon that I got on the nose.


Ron:  Medium-long to long with a warm slightly bitter finish.

Todd:  Long finish with a surprisingly sweet and bitter ending.


Ron:  A great Whiskey but I must say I enjoyed Son of Bourye a bit more, especially when you consider the monetary investment.

Todd:  Really enjoyed drinking Bourye even though it is not overly complex. I liked Son of Bourye if not better than at least the same as Bourye. But the son is almost half the cost.

Nose   4 out of 5

Taste    8.5 out of 10

Finish   4 out of 5

Total score   16.5 Barrels

Well Bourye did score better than Son of Bourye, but then again it is aged longer and is almost twice the investment. To us though, it didn’t seem like we were drinking that old of a Rye. Although this is a very good Whiskey, we think there is a lot of juice out there just a good, if not better, at a lower prices. While Son of Bourye did score one point less, in our opinion it is probably the better buy.

Final thought, we recommend buying this only as a collector’s item or just out of curiosity, if you don’t mind laying down the cash.

Willett Straight Rye Whiskey

Willett-Rye                                           Willett is best known by Whiskey drinkers for it’s Pot Still Reserve Bourbon, and then more for the bottle than the actual juice.  The Pot Still got mixed reviews from Talking Bourbon.

This is the first we have tried Willett Family Estate, Small Batch, Straight Rye Whiskey. They have ages running from 2 to 8 years, the bottle we are sampling was aged 2 years. Willett Rye comes in the same ordinary looking bottle that all Willett comes in, except the previously mentioned Pot Still. It is bottled at 107.7 proof, sells for around $38 for the 750 ML and can be found at most places that sell higher end spirits.


Todd:  My first thought was Irish Whiskey. I don’t think I ever smelled a Rye like this and I don’t necessarily say that in a good way. Going beyond the Irish Whiskey I picked up some almonds, honey, malt and a slight banana scent. Just okay.

Ron:  Strong hot nose that actually tickled my nose hairs. Ignoring that I picked up aromas of spice, cedar, and anise. Also got hints of yeast and leather. All in all a decent nose.


Todd:  Very hot neat, needs water or melted ice. Got pretty much what I got on the nose with almonds, malt and that crazy Irish whiskey thing leading the way. I got a slight taste of some kind of grain or toast lingering in the back ground.

Ron:  Like Todd, I found the tastes very similar to the smells. Getting cedar, anise and spice along with citrus and tobacco as the dominant tastes. Coming in behind that was honey and that same toast like taste that Todd got. And while I hate to keep agreeing with Todd, if I didn’t know better I would swear I was drinking an Irish Whiskey.


Todd:  A nutty medium long finish.

Ron:   Medium long with not much change in the taste.


Todd:  I want to say that I love Irish Whiskey. Now having said that, when I buy a Rye I want it to taste like a Rye not like a bottle of Jamison’s. In fact, I like Jamison’s better than this. Anyway, I wasn’t blown away by the nose or the finish. The taste had some complexity but still lacked something.

Ron:  I liked it better than Todd, even though it does remind one of Irish Whiskey. Not sure I would buy it again.

Nose  3.25 out of 5

Taste  7.5 out of 10

Finish  3.25 out of 5

Total score     14 out of 20 Barrels

Some final thoughts on our review of Willett Rye, First, $38 is way too much to pay for a 2 year old Whiskey. Second, if you are going to charge that amount you better have an outstanding product which this is not. And third, a straight Rye should taste like Rye!