Something about this bottling always makes me think of Christmas, which it really has no connection to whatsoever being completely and wholly inspired by William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” In my defense I will say that this is a beverage best consumed sitting next to a fire with snow falling outside which does make me think of the holidays. I live in Texas however, and I drink it just fine on any day that ends in “y” with or without snow and often with the heat of a thousand suns beating down on me, it is Texas after all. It’s not that often however that one can pair the works of Shakespeare with bourbon, but what a unique and interesting way to build interest in this tasty dram.
Who Makes A Midwinter Night’s Dram?
A Midwinter Night’s Dram is made by High West Distillery in Park City Utah. High West was founded in 2006 on the foundation of sourcing good juice from others and blending and finishing it in unique ways. In 2014 High West opened its own distillery and was acquired just two short years later by Constellation Brands. It however has stuck to its ethos of continuing to blend sourced whiskies as well as production of its own.
Is A Midwinter Night’s Dram a Whiskey?
Yes. A Midwinter Night’s Dram is in fact a rye whiskey. A Midwinter Night’s Dram is a limited release of Rendezvous Rye with the added “umph” and “hazzah” of an extra couple years of finishing in French oak port barrels. Each year the distillery releases a slightly unique bottling compared to the year prior. Certainly, rye whiskey’s popularity has been on an upward trend and this bottling adds to a body of great brownwater driving that interest. Check out our post on “An American Rye Revival” to learn more about how rye whiskey is making a comeback here in the states!
What’s the Difference Between Acts and Scenes?
Now in its 10th year, High West’s Midwinter Night’s Dram bottling includes on the bottom of the front label detail depicting which Act and Scene that bottling is from. The Act represents the year of bottling, for example, 2017 was Act 5. The Scene refers to the bottling batch for the year. All bottles are filled by hand over a period of a few days. As mentioned earlier, there is variation in the juice from year to year, but all Scenes within a given Act are the same juice.
***Fun fact, Act 10 debuted with a masquerade ball; the Encore was also announced at the event.
A Midwinter Night’s Dram: The Encore
Not to be confused with the end of the dram line, the Encore was released as a complement to the traditional ruby and tawny port finishes used by the brand, with this release being finished in white port barrels. The naming was meant to convey a “surprise performance.” High West suggests that The Encore is best enjoyed neat due to the many layers of complexity. The distillery further notes that the white port barrels used for this bottling are much more difficult to procure, being imported from Portugal, and impart a brandy-like characteristic to this cask finish. A distillery-only release, good luck finding your bottle of this rather limited offering. Check the Bourbon Blue Book for the latest pricing on this and other bourbons and ryes on the Secondary Market.
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