High West Campfire Review

High West Campfire Review

With the release of Campfire the lads at High West prove that they’re not just a two trick bourbon and rye blending pony. No sir they have grabbed Scotland by it’s peat and added it to the mixing party. It’s fantastically delicious, but I really have to wonder how David Perkins came up with the idea and why he thought it would work in the first place.

Was it a dare? Was it a mistake? Was David Perkins just sitting around one day with a bottle of Son of Bourye and a bottle of Laphroaig and decided to see what would happen? Well according to the High West site David and his wife were staying at the Bruichladdich distillery B&B where they had a dessert made from a ripe honeydew melon drizzled with a peated syrup. This combination of sweet and peat lead David to the idea of blending some smoky scotch with some sweet bourbon, and apparently some spicy rye, which gave us the Campfire we now know and love.

Overall I freaking love this whiskey. I love bourbon. I love rye. I love big peaty Islay whiskies and now I know that I love all three harmoniously blended together. It’s a complex configuration of sweet, spice and smoke that constantly takes me by surprise and it seems like I discover some new aspect of the whiskey every time I pour a dram. Well done Perkins and co… well done.

High West Campfire Review

Batch: 3
Bottle: 697

ABV: 46%
Price: $54
Distiller: LDI/MGP and undisclosed, though most likely Islay, distilleries
Blend and mashbills: LDI straight bourbon (75% corn, 20% rye & 5% barley malt), a LDI straight rye (95% rye & 5% barley malt), & a blended malt Scotch whiskey (100% peated barley malt)
Age: All whiskeys are at least 5 years

Dark caramel

Caramel, vanilla and bourbon spice arrive first followed by an undercurrent of cherry heavy dark fruit. Smoke, malt, dill, a light oak and smoked meat come sliding through next along with a complex host of delicate notes and hints. To me this is one of the most exciting aromas in whiskeydom because it marries all of my favorite whiskey aromas into a single glass.

Caramel arrives seconds before the peat and is quickly followed by vanilla, malt and a complex spice. Citrus, pepper, some leather, faint dark fruit and a bit of brine work together to create a churning surge of flavor. The taste of this is simply incredible with notes of scotch, rye and bourbon coming and going in rapid succession with each sip.

Astoundingly well balanced, especially considering it’s a blend of 3 distinct types of whiskey. Warm, rich and stunningly easy to drink with a round full body that keeps you coming back for more.

Peaty caramel blends with vanilla, malt, citrus and oak in a fantastically long slow fade.

SCORE: 94/100

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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8 Responses to High West Campfire Review

  1. Three words? No. Try three LETTERS: W.O.W.

    Sitting at Mirton’s Steakhouse, Toluca Lake. Management comped the pour. The experience in this glass… Just… defies all hyperbole.

    Ordering a case for Christmas. A few close buds are going to LOVE me on 12/25.

  2. Personally, I think it tastes like a mistake. When you’ve spent several days in the wilderness camping sitting out by the campfire for and you can’t find dry wood to burn. The smoke gets into your clothes, your throat and your pores. And even when you’re home you still stink. It was expensive so I will drink it out of necessity, but it isn’t an enjoyable spirit. It’s confused. Admittedly I prefer a sweeter profile, but the feeling I get is that the distiller sampled and thought it was going to be an average to sh!tty whiskey and decided to toss in smokey peat, turn on the marketing engine and try to call it something special…”Campfire.” If you ask me, don’t bother. It isn’t worth your money and I could give you a list of a half-dozen American whiskies that are infinitely better.

  3. Just received a bottle of this as a Christmas gift from my son. It will go into the “holding area” in my bunker to be tried at a later date and I will report back at that time. So many whisk(e)ys, so little time!

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