Rendezvous Rye, one of the flagship whiskeys from Utah’s High West Distillery, has had something of a refresh. It’s now a limited, seasonal release, and is made with a higher proportion of High West’s own-make pot still rye. The juice is a blend of four to nine-year-old straight rye whiskeys composed of a 95% rye and 5% malted barley whiskey sourced from MGP, and High West’s proprietary 80% rye, 20% malted rye whiskey.
Rendezvous Rye has a dry, oaky nose that presents fruit leathers, spice, orange peel, and a noticeable whiff of cool spearmint. On the palate, that spearmint feels particularly prominent up front, where it’s coupled to fruit leather and fig newtons. Those figgy, dried fruit flavors coalesce with baking spices to suggest spice cakes at the back, which meet a rich slather of honey and molasses until we approach its deep, hot finish with notes of bitter orange peel, oak, and nuts.
Rendezvous Rye’s final farewell has a decent length and a spice character that kicks but doesn’t quite buck—a plus or a minus, depending on how much torque you want from a rye. In my view, its satisfying and chewable conclusion was in line with its decidedly different character, whose qualities of spearmint, spice cake and honey made it a bit more interesting than the expected oak-and-vanilla-bombs tossed by other higher-proof, high-rye blends.
Lastly, I want to note how much I enjoyed its oily, substantial presence, which can feel a bit like a meal in itself, and I suspect comes from High West’s pot-stilled rye with a malted component.
As enjoyable as the spirit is by itself, it also makes for a bang-up Old-Fashioned. In that drink, the rye’s spearmint element really sings, and the richness of its fig and molasses notes play deliciously with the added spice from the bitters. Although it was the first whiskey the brand ever launched, enough has changed to consider High West Rendezvous Rye new—and certainly, improved.
— 46% ABV