Utah’s High West Distillery had a busy close to 2022. Not only did they produce the latest version of their highly sought after Midwinter Night’s Dram expression, they also produced a distillery exclusive alt-version of that annual release, The Encore, which saw a blend of their rye whiskey finished in white Port barrels instead of the typical ruby Port. Seemingly not content with that flurry of activity, the brand also released their collaboration with California wine company The Prisoner which we will be considering today – High West The Prisoner’s Share.
The Prisoner’s Share contains straight bourbon and rye whiskeys aged between four and 15 years which are mingled and then finished in French oak barrels that once held a red blend provided by The Prisoner Wine Company.
The Prisoner’s Share tumbles into the glass leaving an immediately positive impression thanks to its dark amber color accented with a beautiful ruby hue. As the aromas in the whiskey reached the nose I was impressed by the slightly dusty quality that opens the door for rich Mcintosh apples and a considerable oak presence. Soon those notes are joined by the scent of pie crust, nutmeg, and date syrup. There’s even a bit of a stout beer aroma that merges with a flourish of cedar cigar box and a dry floral aspect over time.
Moving from the nose to the mouth, this pour begins a bit steely and muted in the middle of the tongue owing no doubt to the red wine finish. Once this passes, however, it bursts with macerated red fruit and black pepper before transitioning to a lengthy and juicy finish. Caramel, blood orange, and the creamy meat of Brazil nuts also present themselves on the palate although they’re all outperformed by the wine aspects of the finishing cask.
All in all this is a fantastic whiskey blend that delivers flavor in spades despite sacrificing a bit of balance for a unique tasting experience. The asking price is a bit of a hard sell, but you can expect to be rewarded with a rich and atypical tipple that’s sure to impress.
A- / $175 / highwest.com