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Please find below the questions for the next Round Table. You have 24 hours to consider your replies and post them. Answers and name and address by Friday 14th December.
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With the rise in interesting premium aged whiskies, is older necessarily better?
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At £950 a pop, I was looking forward to this immensely. This should be the finest scotch I had ever taken. Buckets of sherry, great colour and nose, rich taste, but hang on? Whats going on here? Somebody has taken my lovely whisky and stuffed a load of wood shavings in it Truly unpleasant
In my opinion the length of time in wood had completely killed whatever qualities the whisky might have had. If you want something to taste like this, but are worried that it might break the bank, you can save yourself £949.60 and suck a pencil instead.
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If i were to mix a batch of whisky and put this in 5 sepearate but identical barrels and age them differently, say 12, 15, 18, 25 and 30 years, 5 different whiskys would be bottled. To some the younger batch would be their favorite, to others the oldest and the three in between would have their supporters too. Each aroma and taste would appeal to every person tasting them differnently. So i would say no, older is not always better, at least from a tasting standpoint.
So, is older, more expensive whisky better? I would suggest that it probably is. Sensible distillers - of which there are a considerable number- will not risk their reputation and that of the distillery by putting out a poor product. The high cost probably reflects its true value taking into account production costs against the reduced amount of whisky left in the cask after the angels have had their share.
Will we see 30yo+ whiskies in the future? Probably not. It is simply not cost effective to mature whisky for that long given the financial returns. The aged whisky we are seeing now is a result of over production some years ago. Currently distillers can hardly keep pace with increased demand let alone leave whisky sitting as long as it has in the past.
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