High n' Wicked Kentucky Straight Bourbon and Rye Reviews & Tasting Notes

High n’ Wicked was founded in 2019 by W.L. Lyons Brown III and Kevin E. Sachs, both formerly of Brown-Forman. The duo was instrumental in bringing Jack Daniel’s and Southern Comfort to the Asian and European markets.


“Our pursuit of distinctive distillates is relentless. While the soul of our brand franchise will always be Kentucky Bourbon and Kentucky Rye, we are not afraid to bottle whiskies from other parts of the country or from The Old World that meet our standards. We will throw in some secondary wood finishes from time to time to keep our offerings frothy.” – W.L. Lyons Brown III, CEO and Co-Founder


High n’ Wicked’s core expressions are a 5-year sweet mash Kentucky Straight Bourbon and a 5-year sour mash Kentucky Straight Rye. Something that earns a ton of respect from me is how transparent the brand is. We’ll discuss that more in a bit.


As alluded to earlier, High n’ Wicked also produces one-offs, including Bourbons, Single Malt Irish whiskeys, and Single Grain Irish whiskeys, some of which will feature unique aging and finishing components.


The brand is distributed to 41 states and the District of Columbia and can fulfill orders from its website.


Let’s #DrinkCurious and closely examine the two core whiskeys. First, I must thank High n’ Wicked for providing me samples in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest reviews. For the record, I sipped each whiskey neat from fresh Glencairn glasses.


High n’ Wicked Kentucky Straight Bourbon


·    Mashbill: Sweet mash of 51% corn, 39% rye, 10% malted barley by an undisclosed Kentucky distiller

·    Cooperage: 53-gallon, new, seasoned, medium-toast #4 charred oak

·      Non-Chill Filtered, 52% ABV (104°)

·      5 Years Old

·      MSRP: $79.99 for a 750ml


Sweet mash means only new yeast, fresh water, and grains were used in fermentation. A sweet mash usually has a higher pH and is far less common in American distilling. One of the benefits of sweet mash distilling is each batch is unique.


Appearance: The Bourbon presented as a coppery amber liquid and formed a thin rim that released lightning-fast, medium tears. However, sticky droplets remained after the rim disintegrated.


Nose: The aroma consisted of brown sugar, vanilla, boysenberries, plums, floral rye, and orange zest. Drawing the air through my lips gave me a taste of flan.


Palate: I found a mouthfeel that stopped me in my tracks. It was full-bodied and filled every nook and cranny. The front was full of rich, thick caramel, leather, and nutmeg. Flavors of vanilla cream, candied orange peel, and boysenberries dominated the middle. The back exposed me to charred oak, chocolate, and rye spice.  


Finish: The long – very long – finish included butterscotch, candied orange peel, berries, chocolate, dry leather, rye spice, and charred oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The first sip was an Oh My Gosh, Are You Kidding Me? moment. Seriously. It took me by complete surprise. Flavors just exploded in my mouth. The second was slightly less dramatic while equally pleasurable. There were so many layers on the palate and finish I found identifying them all challenging. Just when I thought I nailed everything down, another layer dropped. High n’ Wicked Kentucky Straight Bourbon is darned close to a life-changing experience, and at $80.00, it seems like a bargain. If you see it, grab a Bottle. You won’t regret it for a second.  




High n’ Wicked Kentucky Straight Rye


·    Mashbill: A sour mash of 91% rye and 9% malted barley distilled by New Riff Distilling.

·      Cooperage: 53-gallon, new, toasted #4 charred oak

·      Non-Chill Filtered, 49.1% ABV (98.2°)

·      5 Years Old

·      MSRP: $79.99 for a 750ml


With a sour mash, you’re working with tried-and-true yeast, some leftover grains, and water from the previous run. It allows distillers to have more consistency in each batch.


Appearance: The rusty-colored whiskey created a thick, jagged rim that generated a curtain of thick tears.


Nose: Smells of cinnamon, baked apples, raisins, rye spice, caramel, and charred oak wafted from the glass. A mouthful of mocha seeped when I drew the air through my lips.


Palate: The texture was thin and oily; it slid across my tongue. The front tasted of bold cinnamon, mint, and nutmeg. The rest was lost until the second sip when I found caramel, baked apples, and tobacco. The back included coffee, dark chocolate, and charred oak.


Finish: The tobacco and baked apples remained strong. I thought the coffee and dark chocolate were complimentary. Caramel stuck around the longest. I was surprised that the finish wasn't rye-heavy despite the 91% rye content. The end included a kiss of tobacco leaf; overall, the duration was medium-long.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: I’ve had several ryes from New Riff. I didn’t taste any resemblance to those. New Riff uses a 95/5 mashbill, whereas High n’ Wicked was a 91/9. That measly 4% isn’t so measly. The spiciness was less prominent. This Rye could have been closer to something in the 70% range. It was quite tasty; it wasn’t overly spicy. I would, however, recommend that you let this one sit for 20+ minutes before imbibing. It needs time to breathe. Do that, and you’ll understand why it is worth the investment and my Bottle rating. Don’t, and you’ll disagree. Cheers!



My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.