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High West Campfire

Islay Bourbon

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@markjedi1Review by @markjedi1

9th Jul 2014


High West Campfire
  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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This Campfire from High West is a bit of an oddball. It is a blend of bourbon and rye and peated whisky from Scotland. Legend has it that David Perkins, the man behind High West, got pancakes with syrup for breakfast while visiting Islay. The syrup was created with Bruichladdich and he was so taken with it, that he wanted Islay whisky in his Campfire. I guess we know which one it is.

The nose starts somewhat closed, but with some hand warmth, it proves to be quite special. On the one hand, I get the typical bourbon traits in the shape of rye and caramel, in this case upholstered with some maple syrup, on the other hand it has a special smoky side – must be the Islay component – that tries to shine through, but seems a bit unsuccessful in doing so. I also get some soft yellow fruit. Think mirabelles and peach. There is a big floral note as well. Think jasmin and the sap of pine cones. A slice of dark bread. Interesting is the least one can say here.

It is quite oily on the palate, sweet on honey and rum raisins and some toffee, but the rye becomes very loud, giving it a huge spiciness. Together with the peat, that is now evolving towards a nice smokiness, it offers quite a special taste experience. Some candied oranges shine through, together with some blueberries.

The finish is very long and smoky to end in raisin sweetness.

Well, this was a strange experience, but not an unpleasant one. Quite special, is it not, this Islay bourbon, so to speak? Nice work from the boys in Utah!

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