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High West ‘American Prairie Bourbon’ (2020, OB, 46%)

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We continue to travel the length and breadth of the United States, and today we stop in Utah: this splendid land of parks, lakes and mountains will only ever remain linked in our provincial minds to the duo John Stockton and Karl Malone that we admired as children – nature is beautiful, but would you like to put a coast to coast by Postman or a delirious no-look by Stockton? But there’s more to life than nostalgia, so let’s bring it back to the present with this High West American Prairie Bourbon, put into glass by the High West distillery, based in Utah: for those of you who are nerds about the American spirit, it’s a blend of LDI and Four Roses. The LDI, produced in Lawrenceburg, Indiana (ahem, Reggie Miller anyone?), is a 6-year-old bourbon with a mashbill of 75% corn, 20% rye, and 5% barley. The Four Roses, on the other hand, is a 10 year old bourbon consisting of 60% corn, 35% rye, and 5% barley malt. A nice blend on paper. Will this combination win the ring or will they be left high and dry, like the Jazz in the 1997 Finals?

high-west-american-prairie-bourbon-1

N: very silky and welcoming, very elegant – we start with the spicy notes, made up of cloves and above all star anise. The delicacy of the nose is striking: here we have at most amaretto peaches. After a while, there is a hint of wood, as if from a sawmill, which comes and goes, but is perhaps the only defect. Cola.

P: fruit explodes, ripe and very sweet – perhaps too much so, in fact. Coconut and squashed banana, lots of vanilla, cream. Everything is refined by the wood, the long ageing can be felt, but it only smoothes out an incredible sugariness. After this first blow, which is truly devastating, the void opens up for a moment, the abyss of flavour, closing in on spices that are still aniseed-like and almost balsamic. Lots of cinnamon.

F: coconut, peaches and macaroons again. Buttered popcorn. Lots of cinnamon here too. Dried figs.

Good and very silky, really refined and elegant, to our taste certainly a little too sweet, especially on the palate. We have to admit, however, that after a while in the glass it becomes more enjoyable, but as we know, the American distillate, with such an imposing presence of corn, inevitably tends towards a sweetness that cannot help but seem a little cloying to those whose palates are more attuned to the harshness of Scotch. 84/100.

Recommended soundtrack: Ghostface Killah – Stroke of Death.

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