Spirit Of The Week: A Midwinter Night’s Dram Act 10 & The Encore Rye Whiskey

For the 10th anniversary of Hight West’s signature whiskey, the Utah distillery launched a complementary rye.

(High West/Dan Campbell Photography @dancampbellphoto

High West long ago established its place in American craft distilling lore. Pretty much shocking the world that quality whiskey could come from a teetotaling state like Utah, the upstart label even earned the Whisky Advocate’s prestigious “Distiller of the Year” award in 2016. 

And of all High West’s most beloved and anticipated stock has to be their annual A Midwinter Night’s Dram—of which they just released Act 10. 

(High West)

To celebrate a full decade in crafting delicious versions of this rye-based expression, this year High West adds to their annual release by introducing a complementary bottle: A Midwinter Night’s Dram: The Encore. 

Like Act 10 the tenth anniversary limited release The Encore blend also starts off with the excellent Rendezvous Rye partly made at their Wanship, Utah distillery (a blend of 95% rye / 5% barley malt from Indiana’s MGP with 80% rye / 20% malted rye from High West).

Instead of second finishing in Portuguese ruby and tawny port barrels, however, The Encore opts for wood that aged white port. The results are more subtle than with the bolder notes of Act 10, leaning towards white peach, meringue and mint chocolate. 

“It goes without saying that A Midwinter Night’s Dram is our most anticipated launch each year,” explains High West Master Distiller Brendan Coyle. 

“We really started to notice it taking off in the past five or six years, and the line that now forms at the Distillery bright and early on release day speaks for itself. Blending, discovering, and innovating is in High West’s DNA, as exhibited this year by both Act 10 and the debut of The Encore, and we’re constantly looking for unique expressions to bring consumers.” 

(High West)

A Midwinter Night’s Dram: Act 10 (98.6 Proof) can be found in highly allocated shops across the US, while The Encore (101.6 Proof) is only available at the Distillery in Wanship or the High West General Store in Park City. Act 10: $330, The Encore: $500

Follow Contributing Spirits Editor Nicolas Stecher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.