'My' liquor store (Rocky that is) gave me 50 ml samples of High West 16 YO rye and 21 YO rye. I feel privileged to be able to sample them.........and I hope my opinions about these whiskies are of some interest to you. I have reported on the High West Rye I have bought and sampled. It was a marriage of 6 YO rye and 16 YO ryes from who knows what source. I found it to be an excellent whiskey........one I would be more than willing to serve to any guest.
As to the ryes at hand, they are all both exceptional whiskies in my humble opinon.......a great deal good to be said for both. The 16 YO is somewhat soft but still lively. The rye sweetness, difficult to describe since it is so sublte, is yet readily apparent, and most pleasant...........and the attack of the spice is more like a feint than an assault........the 92 proof keeps the alcohol in the background and not directly involved (in this case to the benefit of the whiskey's taste).
The 21 YO is as good as any 21 YO whiskey I can recomember having. It is sweet in the right way, soft and sure, subtle and deep. quite confident and self assurred...........making a compelling case for time in the barrel. There may be some folks who would deny the importance of careful aging in the quality of this rye.............fi on them! They don't seem to know what can sometimes be achieved 'twixt whiskey and the barrel over many years.............this whiskey is incredible in its lightness...........it tiptoes across the palate, setting off no alarms, yet ringing every single taste bell in the whole cathedral (and this is a cathedral, not a country church, appealing as they may be in some circumstances).
All the experts, without exception as far as I know, tell us that taste is subjective..............but that is at best trivially true, and far from the whole truth! Some 'subjective' taste is better than others, to deny that is to lie, outright lie! Anyone with any sense knows that Shakespeare is a greater writer than Hemingway (so much for those Hemingway fans who claim he is a the best).
And anyone with any sense knows that some whiskies rise above others in a significant way............subjective opinions be damned (I say this with only half a grin).
MY whiskey experience tells me that this 21 YO rye is an exceptional whiskey. You may fault my taste, my experience, my judgement, and I will give you that, but I would still assert that this 21 YO whiskey is above reproach.
I care less to know from whence it came than that it is, if only briefly, in my hands here and now!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas