High West Cask Strength Bourbon (Batch 23B17)


Classification: Blend of Straight Bourbons

Company: Constellation Brands

Distillery: Undisclosed

Release Date: 2023

Proof: 117.4

Age: NAS (Aged at least 4 years per TTB regulations)

Mashbill: Undisclosed

Color: Bright Gold

MSRP: $75 / 750mL (2024)

Official Website

High West Distillery is located in Wanship, Utah. The company also operates a saloon, which is located in Park City. The company is best known for their rye whiskeys, including their port wine finished A Midwinter Night’s Dram, which was first released in 2013 and was one of the first of its kind. High West has generally had only one bourbon in their brand lineup, which was rebranded from American Prairie Bourbon to simply High West Bourbon in 2022.

High West Cask Strength Bourbon was introduced quietly in late 2023. So far, it has been released in batches, which are generally specific to a market or retailer. The batch in review was batched for the Empire State Cask Collection, which is distributed across New York State.


Scents of green apple, caramel, and a floral essence introduce the whiskey. There’s a very slight degree of citrus present, but it’s very light. A swirl of the glass and deep inhale finds just a hint of creme brulee. The components that make up the aroma are fine, but its overall faintness doesn’t bring enough to the table, which considering the proof, is quite surprising.


A pleasant mix of caramel and vanilla combines with baking spices and seasoned oak. It’s a straightforward and familiar array of flavors. But I will stress that the whiskey has a nice weight to it that helps deliver these flavors effectively. Put simply, what it lacks in complexity, it makes up for with drinkability.


Riding out the flavors from the palate, baking spices are most prominent up front. As they recede, caramel and vanilla custard emerge, along with cherry and black raspberry dark fruit notes. There’s also a bit of toffee and just a slight degree of peppery oak. The finish is highly effective and brings the whiskey home as it holds on for some time, and is the best part of the sip.


High West was one of the first innovators to dive into modern-day American whiskey blending. Dave Perkins, the company’s founder, was a chemist and applied his skills to combining whiskeys from multiple distilleries across the country to create highly regarded and generally accessible whiskey blends. The company opened their distillery in Wanship in 2015, and was subsequently acquired by Constellation Brands in 2016. Since then, we have seen little innovation from the company, with the exception of ever-changing labels and introducing their own distillate into some of their blends.

Since High West has focused primarily on rye whiskey, it’s exciting to finally see them releasing a cask strength bourbon, though it has not been a typical release so far, as it feels more like an expanded single barrel program. High West does not disclose where the bourbons used in Cask Strength Bourbon’s blend originate from, however we know that their standard High West Bourbon includes a bourbon from MGP and two bourbons from Kentucky. We also know Bardstown Bourbon Company contract distills for High West, so that is one of the numerous possible sources.

On the uniqueness scale, Cask Strength Bourbon doesn’t move the needle too far. It has slightly unique green apple and citrus scents on the nose, but the palate and finish are familiar with predominant caramel, vanilla, and baking spice notes. The whiskey does have a nice weight to it, and the finish is long and enjoyable, but beyond that, its flavor profile, while enjoyable, is familiar. It does get a slight uptick due to the fact that it presumably combines bourbons from multiple states, but we don’t have much in the way of details by that measure. It is interesting that the batches were designated to different state collections or done specifically for retailers, but it’s a bit confusing as well. It’s an area that High West could have capitalized on more effectively by providing more specific details about what Cask Strength Bourbon is really all about.


High West typically prices their whiskeys in fair territory, and while their pricing has risen like many other whiskeys over the years, they have generally stayed within accessible territory. Coming in at $75 for a sourced barrel proof bourbon is about average nowadays. There is some excitement that goes with a barrel proof bourbon from High West, as the distillery focuses primarily on rye whiskeys so it just isn’t something you would have seen before. With that being said, the whiskey drinks right about where its price point suggests it should, no more or less, and a lot of that excitement fades as the whiskey just doesn’t reach the higher potential I hoped it would have. That being said, for the sip the MSRP is fine, but I would avoid paying any more than that and I would like to see High West maintain this price point for as long as possible, I would also like them to share more about what goes into the bottle, and take some risk by venturing outside of the “familiar” flavor profile range for future renditions of it.


Finally a cask strength bourbon from High West and the result is a nice sipping bourbon, but one that also raises a lot of questions.

High West has been an interesting distillery to follow over the years. Company founder David Perkins originally helped lay the groundwork for what has become much more commonplace today - blending and finishing American whiskey. Since the opening of their distillery in Wanship and their acquisition by Constellation Brands, High West seems like it basically froze in time. Despite some product alterations, including inserting their own distillate into blends and re-branding labels and whiskey names in some cases, it feels as if High West lost the edge that it once had while Perkins was still at the helm. Seeing something a bit different from the company - a cask strength bourbon release in this case - raises a few eyebrows and generates some excitement for fans of High West. The company usually shares more details on its blends, and I would love to see more readily available details on their cask strength bourbon program. In the meantime, it’s a good sipper and worth picking up at MSRP if you like straightforward barrel proof bourbons. With that being said, I do hope we see more exciting versions in the future because I just don’t think this release really showcases High West’s full potential.

The sample used for this review was provided to us at no cost courtesy its respective company. We thank them for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.
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Written By: Nick Beiter

January 10, 2024
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