Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by High West. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
A fan favorite from High West Distillery has been missing from liquor store shelves across the nation. If you wanted a bottle of High West Campfire, you would have to go directly to the distillery in Park City, Utah. After an overwhelming consumer demand, however, High West has returned to the beloved Campfire — and for a good cause.
The wildfires in the West have no doubt been out of control in recent years. Destroying fragile ecosystems and landscapes, High West is releasing Campfire in honor of their Protect the West campaign. A $1 million commitment over the course of three years will go to foundations aligned with their initiative. The first of the donations this year are going to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation, Protect Our Winters, and American Prairie.
So what makes the High West Campfire so unique? It is an amalgamation of three types of whiskeys that you wouldn’t think would be tastily blended. Bourbon, rye, and peated Scotch are stand-alone whiskeys for most people, but after having dessert at the Bruichladdich Distillery on Islay, David Perkins was inspired. Thus, Campfire was born.
High West sources the bourbon and rye from MGP, but they remain hush-hush about their whisky source. Despite the odd combination, the blending of the High West Campfire is an art. Because it is like nothing else on the market, I tend to think of the Campfire as a gateway. I suggest putting together a flight of the classic mash bills from MGP, both bourbon and rye, along with a smoky Scotch to taste next to the High West Campfire.
High West Campfire (image via Courtney Kristjana/The Whiskey Wash)
Vital Stats: 46% ABV, 92 proof. Blend of MGP rye, bourbon, and an undisclosed peated whisky. 750ml $80.
Nose: Right off the bat I am greeted by the aroma of poached pears dusted with cinnamon. The dram initially reminds me of brandy or Cognac until the Scotch notes arrive. Fresh mint mingles among orange oil and green apple skin. From the middle to the end there is the more medicinal scent of iodine and subtle smoke.
Palate: The whiskey has a velvety mouthfeel. The fresh mint and green apple from the nose are bright and robust on the tongue. As far as sweetness goes, the whiskey brings up granulated white sugar. The most interesting taste of the whiskey is melted butter— salty, creamy, and fatty. Like the nose, the smoke is subtle on the palate throughout, and that bandaid taste. I also get a little bit of clay on the finish.
Whiskey Review: High West Campfire
The High West Campfire is truly unique. Somehow all the best elements from the individual whiskeys peak while sipping without getting muddled. However, instead of a robust burning fire, it reminds me more of a campfire on a rainy night with damp firewood.
Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...