High West’s Cult-Favorite Campfire Whiskey Is Back

Utah’s finest is making another smoky splash on the whiskey scene.

(High West Distillery)

Sunset firepit season is coming, but so too is the annual release of High West Campfire whiskey—a famously smoky blend of bourbon, American rye and peated scotch. 

American whiskey has gotten comparably weird in the last few years, as rare wood finishes, tequila and beer barrels and a dozen fictional-sounding grains have mingled their way into a world once dominated by Kentucky and the bourbons it produces. But Campfire was here before most of that stuff was even a dream — and then it wasn’t.

For most of the 2010s, Campfire was a reliably find-able whiskey. High West’s Bourye (a bourbon-rye blend) and Midwinter Night’s Dram (rye finished predominantly in port barrels) were the A-tier, allocated products, while Campfire and the wine-finished Yippee Ki-Yay Rye could pile up in stored with less sophisticated consumers. 

Those days are gone. 

Campfire was somewhat suddenly reduced to a Utah-only exclusive in 2021, before returning last year as a nationwide effort. It’s clear that demand was outstretching supply — at least at the time — and so a year of drastically reduced production, followed by a move to annual releasees instead of continual batches was the right decision.

(High West Distillery)

If there’s good news to be found in this, it’s certainly that the supply is becoming more stable. The rye used in this recipe is 100 percent distilled on-site as of 2023, removing another level of sourcing dependence from a signature High West recipe. That means easier batch producing (and hopefully higher volumes) in the future.

There’s also the philanthropic impact of Campfire to appreciate. Like last year’s more modest release, the 2023 batch is attached to High West’s “Protect the West” initiative, for which they are donating $50,000 to the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, because smoke should be in your glass, not the air.

“Wildfire season in the West is no longer just a season, said Daniel Schear, General Manager of High West. “It’s year-round. As part of our Protect the West initiative, we’re once again supporting the brave few who run toward these fires. We hope you’ll join us in not lighting a campfire, but drinking one instead.”

That’s all nice, of course, but what does this mean for us consumers? In a word: hustle. As of now, the nationwide return means you’ll have to be actively pursuing a bottle for the next month, depending on where you live. 

High West Campfire ($80) is on select liquor store shelves now. If you come across a bottle, pounce before you’re stuck waiting another year. Trust me — the demand isn’t smoke and mirrors.