The OMG in High West’s Silver OMG Pure Rye doesn’t stands for Old MononGahela rye which refers to the Monongahela river in Pennsylvania. After the whiskey rebellion of 1794 the majority of America’s 2,500+ active stills were located in this area and pulling their water from that river. The water gave the whiskey a unique characteristic and soon the rye whiskey from this area became renowned across the 16-17 states that comprised the USA at the time. Wondering how water could be that important in the distillation process? Taste an un-peated Islay next to a Speyside and you’ll get an idea.
To create this particular expression the gang at High West did a passel of research to figure out what the typical mashbill of a Monongahela rye whiskey would be and then reproduced it to create this little guy. Though that’s just the start because High West didn’t stop at just making some rye white whiskey. Oh no, they put a bunch of this distillate into some barrels for aging and in a few years we’re going to get to see what this little guy tastes like after maturing in some charred oak. A day I’m looking forward to with glee.
Enough about the back story, what about the whiskey? Well, overall I’d have to say it’s an interesting whiskey. Drink it neat you get a chance to really explore the raw characteristics of rye in a whiskey so as a palate training aide it’s fantastic and it’s not too shabby in a cocktail either, but it’s not something I would want as a daily drinker. By no means is is terrible, it’s just not something I can get excited about, though give it a few years in some charred oak barrels and then there might be.
High West Silver Whiskey OMG Pure Rye Review
Distiller: High West
Mashbill: 80% Rye & 20% Malted Rye
Vanilla, light fruit and a mild floral character swirl together on their way out of the glass and combine with some raw grain, white chocolate and candied citrus to create a very unique aroma. A bit of acetone fades in and out, but isn’t overpowering.
Raw grain, citrus, vanilla and graham cracker float above an herbal underpinning. That same mild acetone shows it’s face again, but it’s much more mild and seems to keep an ambiguous background sweetness from taking over.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Rather smooth with a medium body. A heavy vanilla keeps me from saying it’s balanced, but it’s not completely out of whack.
Vanilla, graham and a burst of herbs that remind me a bit of gin fades to raw grains on a rather short finish.