A friend and I had occasion to visit 815, a prohibition-era speakeasy hidden away in the unlikeliest of places, Manchester, NH. People generally find out about this place by word of mouth – no sign on the street, no TV or radio commercials, and when you enter the building, no signs to guide you upstairs – where there is no door, sign or entrance. Just a sign in the hallway about prohibition, and a phone booth. From there you’re on your own 😉
Apparently I made it inside, where Andrew expertly served up a flight of High West Ryes.
And if you wanted something else to drink, 815 is certainly well-stocked.
So let’s see what we have.
High West Double Rye
A blend of straight Rye whiskeys ranging in age from 2 to 16 years. One is a very high rye sourced from MGP, and a standard rye from Barton. Aged in new, charred, white American oak barrels.
Nose: Mint, licorice.
Palate: Rye, something like menthol or eucayptus, and honey. Quite a shocker for someone used to bourbon or Irish whiskey, that I can say.
High West Rendezvous Rye
A blend of straight Rye whiskeys ranging in age from 5 to 19 years. One is a very high rye sourced from MGP, and a standard rye from Barton. Aged in new, charred, white American oak barrels.
Nose: Clove, caramelized sugar.
Taste: Very spicy and minty, with subtle notes of molasses or dark fruit. It finished with a large rye kick, and the flavor lingers – I had to wait a few minutes before tasting another whiskey.
The blend is described by High West as the same for those above – but this rye received a second aging, “finished in French oak barrels that previously contained vermouth and Syrah wine.”
Nose: I detected maple syrup, dark fruit, perhaps cherry.
Palet: Kicked me with a bright spicy rye burn, a bit of orange and berry, and perhaps black currants.
Midwinter Night’s Dram Act, Act IV, Scene 5.
High West reveals this blended from a 16 yo Barton and a 6 yo MGP, but the magic comes in finishing the blend in French Oak and Port barrels. Right off the bat I detected vanilla, caramel, and some rye spice, but the rye is much more subtle than the other three. It reminded me a bit of Angel’s Envy port-finished bourbon. Easily my favorite.