Monday, April 11, 2016

Bourbon Bliss in Park City, Utah

*(NOTE: This post is a reprint from my other blog from Fall 2015)

Who knew that drinking in Utah could be such a pleasure?

Coming to Park City, Utah for a nice fall vacation of hiking and relaxing, I didn't know I was going to discover a bourbon lovers delight, just off Main Street in the historic mountain town. Coming down from a nice hike up the Sweeney Switchbacks - and the ski runs above town - I discovered the High West Distillery on Park Avenue, which is producing some excellent quality rye whiskeys and bourbons, as well as a few variations I hadn't considered.  According to the local lore:

High West Distillery and Saloon started with one man’s passion to make a great Rocky Mountain Whiskey. Proprietor and distiller David Perkins married his background as a biochemist, his love of bourbon and cooking, and his passion for the American West to bring the craft of small-batch distilling back to Utah, of all places.

And the Whiskey of Wasatch is proof of a successful marriage. High West offers a tasty whiskey flight that will leave you wanting to expand the menu.  Beginning the flight with a crystal clear silver oat whiskey, I was advised to open my mouth a tad while breathing in the flavors, and the effect on my sinuses and palate was quite pleasant. The oat whiskey is more like a vodka, but the hints of banana and coconut make for a smooth, but potent, finish.  The double-rye and Son of Bourye were also rich, full of expertly blended flavors.  "Bou-rye" was a blend of bourbon and rye whiskeys, and I was intrigued enough to consider purchasing a bottle. However, I'm a bourbon man at heart, and the American Prairie Reserve was what ultimately is going home with me.  Of course, one flight is not enough, and I had to add a couple extra mini-flights to the order. The Barreled Manhattan is a whiskey experiment I've never encountered before - a Manhattan mix that is aged in a barrel. Fascinating.  Of course, that was nothing compared to the Barreled Boulevardier, which was a true whiskey lovers treat. It's not to be missed.

When I think of bourbon and whiskey, it's usually all about Kentucky and the traditional approach, which shouldn't surprise anyone. However, the whiskey magic being distilled in the Wasatch Valley of Utah is worthy of any bourbon and whiskey lovers attention.  For example, the Campfire blend is "the world's only and possibly first" mix of malt scotch, straight bourbon, and straight rye whiskeys. It was the most unique whiskey flavor I've had, with a real earthiness to the spices. While I was unsure of it on the nose and first taste, it really grew on me, and I would definitely take a chance on it again.

High West Distillery is doing some significant work with spirits, and it's worth a stop for any whiskey lover.  And I haven't even talked about the food.

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