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This review is made from one of my most highly treasured whiskey samples. That sample is getting old enough that I need to finish drinking it. A High West employee was able and willing to convey to me an undiluted sample of the High West Silver Whiskey Western Oat at 62.5% ABV. Their standard HWSWWO is sold at 40% and is heavily used by bartenders for cocktails. This sample is more than 2 years old, but hasn't changed much over time
Nose: this is probably the best new make/unaged whisk(e)y nose I have encountered; rich, thick, and syrupy; sweet, with a nice, pleasant, and understated sour balance, understated grassiness, and cooked oat-meal cereal. If you were to taste this blind, you would likely identify this as very young, but you would NEVER believe that this is new make, UNLESS you identified the oats in the nose, and knew in advance that oat new make usually has considerable sweetness. Alcohol is present in the nose, but blends in well
Taste: the nose translates well, with "thick, rich, and syrupy" sweet and sour oat cereal. Tasty, with strong flavours at 62.5% ABV
Finish: long; all of the flavours stay just the same
Balance: new make tends to be inherently unbalanced, because there is no wood influence yet to give a sweet balance to the sour products of fermentation. Oat whiskey is the exception. If you can enjoy the potent undiluted version offered here, then the balance is a thing of beauty. 88 is the highest score I have ever given to unaged whiskey. Here's to the possibility of being able to obtain more of this in the future!