Tonight I had an experience that made me think (allowing for some exaggeration), the emperor has no clothes. I tasted a 100 proof Old Forester and a Wild Turky Rye a friend had just brought back from a trip to the U.S. These particular bottles struck me as some of the best straight whiskey I've ever had, and better than some sold for much more money. E.g., recently I bought for some $50 (U.S.) Old Forester Birthday Bourbon, the 2004 issue. I knew this was the young one in the series, but I wasn't prepared for the awkward palate. It seemed to taste of heat, alcohol, vanilla and some char but not in a melded way. I also bought on the same trip Rock Hill Farm; again I was disappointed, this sample, while sweet and rich, seemed to show a little "old barrel" (punky) taste that put me off. In comparison, I felt the OF 100 proof, and the WT rye, which cost 15 or 20 dollars each, superior by their balance and clean, rich, integrated taste. Probably I'll always buy some high cost items (because they change over time, and from curiosity) but this tasting tonight brought forcibly to mind that some bourbons and ryes costing many times less than premium versions are arguably better-tasting and away better values.