Now this isnt a thread about beer but whisky. After been drinking whisky seriously (anorak-level) for more than a decade I don't really find much joy in OB's anymore. The chilllfiltration and high water content simply makes them too boring and bland for me.
If I have to enjoy a distillery bottling these days I need to search out for some cask strength version or subsidiary a 46% ucf bottling. Fortunately the latter bottling style has become much more frequent the last few years
The best place for me to find whisky to enjoy is the IB's who puts out a huge range of Single Cask bottlings, or vattings of a few casks, giving a great choice, constant new things to try out and at a higher quality
Anyone else has the same experience ?
I tried some very good IB's from Berry Bros and Milroys at a recent tasting and thought the whiskies were very good so will research a bit more into them I think (I'll but a few!).
Compare the feeling of finding a decent IB by chance, against another 'run of the mill' OB. It must be said i am drinking a bad MMD Bladnoch 16 Amarone Finish!!
Now you may not know this but I drink Japanese whisky from time to time and there are no such thing as IB's unless they are bottled for the SMWS. They do however have a quite high proportion of single cask and cask strength bottlings in the OB ranges it seems to me in comparison the Scotch whisky.
I'd say conservatively 90% of Ichiro's Malts, 90% of Karuizawa's, 50% of Yamazaki's, 50% of Hakushu's, 50% of Yoichi's on offer are cask strength with a huge range of single casks. Now that is not to say that the majority of the actual bottles sold in Japan is cask strength, just that they offer a lot of them if you are so inclined.
Ganga wrote:I think there have been some changes in the OB lineups over the last 20 years or more.
I think Ganga is spot-on concerning the 'politics' of product range and marketing of official bottlings over the last while. At one time, the dearth of special (high-proof, cask-strength or other) releases from the distilleries or their parent firms meant that independent bottlers practically had that segment of the market to themselves.
How times have changed!
For obvious reasons the distilleries, or their paymasters, want to create consistent and reliable whiskies that reflect their brand and which can be marketed reliably.
Conversely, as a whisky appreciator, what you are looking for is something exciting, varied and interesting. In other words a marketing man's nightmare. The independent bottlers aren't tied to brand guidelines and so can take more risks.
That being said sometimes they pass that risk on to their customers. I've bought a few shockers. On the whole though I'd rather drink something at, or close to, cask strength and make the dilution decision myself. And I definitely want to surprised from time to time even if that means the occasional disappointment.
Collector57 wrote:Hmmm, it seems to me there are so many OBs that I can find an exciting OB as easily as an exciting IB.
The reason for that is that for me, if it's anything I haven't had before, there's an element of excitement, whether OB or IB.
Yes Nick - I must say that there is an element of excitement in every new bottle that I buy too.
Our themes can be a distillery (we had Port Ellen, Brora, Glenlivet, Caperdonich etc.), it can be regions or subregions, it can be age and so on)
This time it shows up as 19 IB and 1 OB which is more or less how it was last times
I will be bringing a 33yo Glenkinchie (AD RAttray), 42yo Tamdhu (AD Rattray) and 24yo Royal Lochnagar (Norse Cask)
If you still think OB's offers a choice for people like me you don't get the point
After drinking whisky at 55%, 43-50% does taste weak, but as long as I keep my drams in the no burn zone, i can consistently enjoy all sorts of bottlings.
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