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Drink this now: High West Campfire Whiskey

campfireAs a man that loves his whiskey, I usually have anywhere from 8 to 12 different bottles of the brown stuff stocked in my bar on any given day. I’ve got a handful of standby, must-haves that are always in the mix, one or two bottles of the fancy stuff, and then usually a few that I grabbed simply because I hadn’t tried them before.

Given that I lean heavily towards bourbon above all other whiskeys, the Kentucky nectar usually makes up about 90% of my stash. And while there are differences between a sip of Blanton’s vs. Black Maple Hill (some more subtle than others), it is a rare bottle that truly tastes like nothing else I’ve had before.

Leave it up the mad geniuses at High West Distillery to come up with just such a bottle. Their Campfire Whiskey, released last summer, is a suicide blend of bourbon, rye, and peated scotch that is unlike any production whiskey I’ve tried before. And it is fantastic.

I always say that scotch drinkers and bourbon drinkers are kissing cousins, but most of us lean one way or the other. I’ll rotate in a glass of nice smoky scotch every now and again, but I’ll reach for the sweeter bourbon nearly every time, though the spicier, in-your-face ryes have been climbing up the ranks lately as well.

Campfire brings the best of all three and layers them into one of the most complex and enjoyable glasses of whiskey in recent memory. First, you get the spicy, boot-kickin’ rye and then before you can wrap your palate around it, you are on to the smooth honey sweetness of the bourbon finished with potent accent of peaty smoke. It is fun to watch someone enjoy their first glass and seeing the surprised look in their eyes as they move from one stage to the next.

A friend described it as “barbecued bourbon”. Very apropos.

A 750ml bottle retails in Atlanta for around $55/ea, depending on the store. If you are a whiskey lover and you have not had the chance to try this unique blend, do yourself a favor and go buy a bottle today.

- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog

8 comments Add your comment

J

January 11th, 2013
9:17 am

John, out of curiosity, what consists of your standbys? Always interested to see what fellow bourbon drinkers keep in the cabinet. Heard great things about this whiskey from a variety of sources. Looking forward to trying it.

y3ll0wjacket

January 11th, 2013
10:58 am

Do you typically drink your whiskey neat or on the rocks? I most often pour it over ice in an old fashioned glass. Never have been a fan of adding any additional water.

Jason E

January 11th, 2013
11:23 am

Went to their Whiskey dinner at Double Zero a few months ago and met the distiller (orig from Atl) and had 6 of their whiskeys: loved them all, but especially Campfire. It felt like a lovechild of Eagle Rare and Talisker.

Jon Watson

January 11th, 2013
12:34 pm

@J- I usually always have a bottle of Buffalo Trace, Blanton’s, and Woodford in there, though the list of stand-by bottles sometimes changes.

@y3llowjacket – I’m like you, a light rocks I’m an old fashioned glass kind of guy. I use a single huge cube to minimize the melting factor. But if it is a glass of something like Pappy or Jefferson’s 18 year reserve, then I pour it neat with rocks on the side.

Mat Garretson

January 11th, 2013
3:43 pm

Many thanks, Jon, for the kind words on our Campfire. Like our founder, David Perkins, I too am a Georgia Boy. Always great when we see nice things written about us from home!

Joshua Fischer

January 12th, 2013
9:10 am

Love the High West products and can’t wait to try the Campfire. Another gem is Willet…a must-try!

LanceH

January 12th, 2013
2:57 pm

Looking for a rye whiskey to make cocktails with (manhattan). Any suggestions?

Art

January 13th, 2013
1:53 pm

Was just introduced to High West Rye… Liked it a lot. My local store doesn’t carry the Campfire but I’ll keep looking. Nice trio of stand-by’s Jon; mine are more like Jack and Maker’s…. Yeah, I now Jack doesn’t count…