High West The Prisoners Share Review

The Prisoner’s Share contains 3 straight bourbons and 2 straight rye whiskeys aged between 4 and 15 years which are blended together and then finished in French oak barrels that once held red wine created by The Prisoner Wine Company. 2023 is the second release of the label and it is rumored that it will be the last release of The Prisoner’s Share High West whiskey blend. So, grab a pour of your favorite whiskey as I work through this High West The Prisoners Share review.

The Prisoner Wine Company is located in Napa Valley, California. Their claim to fame is their unique wine blends that create something other than the typical single-vineyard wineries that are common in the rest of the region. It is a moderately priced red wine blend (about $40) that isn’t considered to be cheap but also isn’t an expensive “special occasion” wine.

The mash bill is as follows:

  • Bourbon: 75% corn, 21% rye, 4% barley malt (MGP)
  • Bourbon: 78% corn, 10% rye, 12% malted barley (undisclosed distillery)
  • Bourbon: 78.5% corn, 13% rye, 8.5% malted barley (undisclosed distillery)
  • Rye: 95% rye, 5% barley malt (MGP)
  • Rye: 80% rye, 20% Malted Rye (High West)

Series: “The Prisoner’s Share”
Classification: Blend of Straight Rye & Straight Bourbon Whiskeys
Finishing Barrel: Prisoner Red Blend Wine Barrels
Age: 4 – 15 years
Proof: 102
Proof Designation: na
Filtered Status: Chill Filtered
Mash bill: A blend of 3 straight bourbons & 2 straight ryes
Distillery: High West Distillery
Company: High West Distillery
Bottled By: High West Distillery
Distilled/Aging Location: Park City, Utah
Release Date: November 2023
Batch Notes: batch 23H02
MSRP: $175
Secondary Market: $225 – $700
Availability: Low/Rare

High West The Prisoners Share review
High West The Prisoners Share Review

My tasting reviews are unique in that I include the notes of several well-known whiskey critics. The hope is that this format will help me and others to explore and expand their tasting experience. After you have taken your own tasting notes, read the reviews and see if there is a flavor note that others discerned that now you can detect as well.

For this review: Fresh Crack, Glencairn Glass, Neat, Room Temp, Breathe: 15 minutes.


Oak, dark fruits, some caramel, licorice. The nose is a bit homogenized…nothing stands out other than basic aromas.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Lens: Rye Spice, Black Pepper, Citrus Zest, and Red Fruit.

Bourbon Culture: Aromas of semi-sweet red wine blossom out of the glass with a lot of fruit notes in tow. Cherries, strawberries and golden raisins all can be found. Herbal scents along with pine needles and honeycomb point to the strong rye whiskey influence. Melted chocolate clearly is the result of the wine cask finishing or the French Oak barrels. But the note of cedar wood also sticks out.

Drink Hacker: As the aromas in the whiskey reached the nose I was impressed by the slightly dusty quality that opens the door for rich Mcintosh apples and a considerable oak presence. Soon those notes are joined by the scent of pie crust, nutmeg, and date syrup. There’s even a bit of a stout beer aroma that merges with a flourish of cedar cigar box and a dry floral aspect over time.


Caramel, baking spices, anise, ginger, blackberry, red wine, wine tannins, tobacco, sweet oak, hint of raspberry, maybe sweet cherry. Semi-dry and mildly spicy. It is interesting, but to me, the flavors don’t “pop” and don’t seem to meld together cohesively.

After the first tasting, I let the bottle sit for a week and did a second tasting. It did “open up” a little more with that extra week of “breathing”.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Lens: Wine forward with a jam-like consistency, balanced with notes of mocha, white pepper and barrel tannin.

Bourbon Culture: I wondered which whiskey type would be most dominant – the rye whiskey or the bourbon. After my first sip, I’m calling it in favor of the rye whiskey. Cinnamon, red pepper flakes and a touch of mint all make this taste more like a wine-finished rye whiskey rather than a bourbon. But if you don’t like rye whiskey, don’t worry just yet. There are plenty of flavors for you here, too. I can find brown sugar and chocolate along with some more honey.

Drink Hacker: This pour begins a bit steely and muted in the middle of the tongue owing no doubt to the red wine finish. Once this passes, however, it bursts with macerated red fruit and black pepper before transitioning to a lengthy and juicy finish. Caramel, blood orange, and the creamy meat of Brazil nuts also present themselves on the palate although they’re all outperformed by the wine aspects of the finishing cask. All in all this is a fantastic whiskey blend that delivers flavor in spades despite sacrificing a bit of balance for a unique tasting experience.


The finish is medium length, semi-dry, mildly spicy & tannic, and relatively non-descript as far as flavors go.

Other Reviewer’s Perceptions

Bourbon Lens: Fruit forward, with lingering spice.

Bourbon Culture: Lingering notes of red wine, red fruits, raisins and brown sugar leave a decidedly sweet taste in your mouth after the sip is complete. Competing rye whiskey notes like cinnamon, anise, menthol and mint are refreshing. The finish misses nothing that I can think of. It’s pretty great all around.

Drink Hacker: (no notes on finish)

The Burn

4 out of 5. This means that the burn from the alcohol is a bit lower (5% to 9%) than what I would expect it to be. I would guess this to be around 95 proof, not 104 proof.


If this were a $60 – $80 bottle I’d be happy. But, in my opinion, it lacks the complexity, flavor, and finish to be worth $175+. Many bottles under $100 are much more enjoyable.

Notes and History

Statement from the High West website and the back label on the bottle:
A distinctive blend of aged straight rye and straight bourbon whiskeys, finished in The Prisoner Red Blend wine barrels to highlight the sophisticated notes of raspberry jam, toasted mahogany, crème brûlée, black pepper, cherry cola, and French oak spice character. Decadent. Indulgent. Unforgettable.

My Tasting Notes

If you like the tasting wheel below, there is a black-and-white and a color version available to paid subscribers.

The Prisoner's Share tasting notes

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