Review: High West Campfire Whiskey

We’re big fans of Park City, Utah-based High West Distillery, and as such we were thrilled to get a preview sample of its latest creation, Campfire.

High West is fond of blending whiskeys into oddball conflagrations — Bourye and Son of Bourye are blends of Bourbon and Rye — and now it’s one-upping itself in the game. Campfire is a blend of bourbon, rye, and peated Scotch. The company says it is not sure if that has ever been done before. I am not sure if it is even legal. But what the hell. At least it’s not called Scobourye.

Campfire’s blend is thus:

  • A straight bourbon whiskey from 75 percent corn, 20 percent rye, and 5 percent barley malt.
  • A straight rye whiskey from 95 percent rye and 5 percent barley malt.
  • A blended malt Scotch whiskey, made of 100-percent barley malt that has been peated.

The proportion of each whiskey is not revealed, though all are at least five years old.

If I had to guess, I’d peg the percentages at 65% bourbon, 20% rye, and 15% Scotch. All the elements are here, dominated by vanilla and honey-flavored nougat. The nose offers the smoke — inescapable in even a mildly peated Scotch — and that carries through on the body, especially on the finish of the whiskey. In the middle, more sweetness, and a racy spiciness that speaks to the rye. (Peat will dominate all of these elements any day, especially the rye, hence my relatively low proportion of Scotch on my estimated blending bill.)

All in all, well, it works. High West even goes so far as to say “you may not like it at first” but I’m liking it from the get-go. All kinds of complexity here — tobacco leaf, tea, wood, leather, blackberries — but it all comes together in the end. Whiskey fans served blind will undoubtedly guess this is Scotch — Highlands, maybe — and that will surely serve to inform many a bar bet over the coming months until Campfire is sold out.

The rest of us can simply enjoy it on its own merits.

Lot #1 (preview bottling) reviewed. 92 proof.

A- / $60 / highwest.com [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

high west campfire whiskey Review: High West Campfire Whiskey

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