Here we are at the mighty High West Rocky Mountain Rye 21. Unlike it’s 16 year old counter part, this particular whiskey can’t legally be labeled as a straight rye whiskey. It’s actual TTB designation is a “Whiskey Distilled from Rye Mash Stored 21 Years in Re-Used Cooperage”. Which is a fancy way to say it was stored in used barrels so the fancy straight rye whiskey designation can’t be applied here. Though in the end, does it really matter?
Here’s what I know. A) it tastes damn good. It’s one of my favorite whiskeys and I don’t really give a hoot that it was put into used barrels. B) While it is damn good it’s also a bit over-priced, and with the current shortage of older American whiskey (especially rye) you can expect that price to continue to increase if you’re lucky enough to stumble across it. Which brings us to C) It’s sold out except for some 350ML bottles I’ve seen floating around for $85 – $100 a pop.
Overall, and all pricing aside, this whiskey just makes me happy to be alive and able to drink whiskey. Seriously… not kidding. The amazing sweet, spicy and woody flavors balance and mix with the delicate aromas to create something that is unlike other rye whiskeys. I don’t know if it’s the used cooperage, the age or both, but there is something different and special about this whiskey and I just freaking love it.
High West Rocky Mountain Rye 21 yr. Review
Price: $140 – $200
Mashbill: 53% rye, 37% corn & 10% barley malt
Rye spice, wood and caramel are neck and neck out of the glass. Dark fruit, leather, vanilla and honey boldly run in right behind and stir things up. There is a mild dill running underneath that acts as a catalyst to amplify the sweeter notes.
Wood takes the drivers seat with rye and caramel sitting middle and shotgun on this massive flavor truck. Sitting in the back are some robust notes of cinnamon heavy baking spices, citrus and dark fruit. Pepper and leather come and go as delightful accents to a creamy sweetness and a bouquet of warm spices.
FEEL, BALANCE & BODY
Rich, full bodied and so damn smooth and creamy it’s insane. Excellently balanced with nothing sitting at odds or dominating too much.
Wood, dark fruit, rye spice, caramel and leather combine to make one of my favorite finishes in whiskeydom. The fact that it’s a long slow finish I don’t want to end makes it even more pleasant.