i also was present at a tasting at vintage hallmark of the springbanks the 25 30 35 40 45 and 50 year old whiskies the 35 was best and second was the 30 could be the other way round this was everyones verdict on the night the 50 year old was like drinking a milky whisky incrediably smooth very neutral all he best richard
But I'm glad to see this poll, because I've been wondering about age versus quality. So far, I've tried about 10 malts, the oldest being 17 yr. - Bowmore and Bruichladdich. Just bought a bottle of the former today and I'm sipping as I write, and like it quite a bit; the latter, I've tried twice and didn't like much. But I've also tried the 12 and 15 Bruichladdich and don't think that distillery is for me.
Generally what I've been drinking are 10/12 yr olds - I have bottles of Balvenie 12 yr Double Wood, Glenlivet 12 French Oak, Highland Park 12, and Taliskeer 10, and have tried a few others in bars (Cardhu, Auchetoshan, Glenturret...). I've chosen these because they get high ratings, I thught the notes made them sound good, and most important they are less expensive than the older malts. I'm not ready to go for older vintages at double or triple (or more) the price until I have some experience.
So, thanks for the informative poll.
You where very lucky indeed at the Macallan distillery. Both are nice samples I can tell you that from experience.
As for the Springbank collection, now that's a different story. When you mentioned Vintage Hallmark, I had a smile on my face. It was Colin Dunn at that period who invited me some years ago for such an event. But I couldn't come but if I had the possebillity I surely would have dome it. I tasted the 25, 30 and 35Y old from the Springbank Limited Edition Serie and I must say that my favorite was still the 35Y old.
Now I'm going to visit such an event at Cadenhead in Amsterdam, where we will have the oppertunity to taste the whole range from the Springbank Limited Edition serie(25, 30, 35, 40, 45 and 50Y old)
Aswell as the 25Y old Frank McHardy and probably some casks samples. So finally I'll get a chance to sample them....
In some cases Springbank does have some good older ages and perhaps even better then the younger ones.
im interested, but it is really expencive, and yes, springbank is the most expencive whisky and yes there is up to 50Y old whisky to taste and yes it would be the best tasting i had so far. but its in holland and costs alot. would you do it if it was in belgium? so far i find springbank overrated so bear that in mind, i find it good but not nearly good enough to charge the prices they charge.
then again, never had anything older then 36 Y old. so i cant make up my mind, at the moment the meter is tending towards the "no" side, and if i ask the misses it will definatly pass the "NO WAY" side, but its an opportunity i think.
the sprinbanks were from a set i sold to vintage hallmark as well as the second they sold made a good profit on them i enjoyed the tasting b a bit dissapointed in the older springbanks
I do too have set of these Springbanks and I just looking forward to have taste of them and who know that these older Springbanks do appeal to me, or maybe not. Good to know from who these Springbanks came from for the Vintage Hallmark Springbank tasting.
Lets find out, next year in March.
Most of us have probably had the unpleasant experience of tasting a whisky that has spent too long in the wood. They're horribly oaky, dry & astringent, the wood has killed any of the complexity, the nose is usually flat, the delicate spices and floral notes are gone, and the whisky is quite simply tired and lifeless.
Once you go beyond 20 years, it is a very rare cask indeed that will continue to improve its contents rather than start to deteriorate them. And it is this rarity that reflects (and justifies) the price tag.
It's true that some of the most sensational whiskies I've ever tasted were in the 21-35yo range. It's also true to say that some of the worst I've tasted were in this same age range.
And I could say exactly the same for some whiskies I've had in their teens. A couple of 15yo to 18yo malts have been sublime, but I've also had a few that were just awful.
But even "youth" is no real indication. Whilst I doubt any 3 to 5yo malt would be worth getting excited about, one of the best Islay's I've ever had was a 9yo Caol Ila from the SMWS.
So what's my point? I simply conclude that age is absolutely no indicator as to whether a whisky will be good, bad, or ordinary. As Jeroen said, increasing age simply means a more expensive price tag, but I've paid good dollars for older bottlings that were simply a disappointment to drink.
For the distilleries that feature quite a spread of ages in the line-ups, I (almost) invariably find that the most complex and interesting drams are the ones in the middle.
For example, with the Glenfarclas 10, 12, 15, 17, and 21 year olds, I believe the peak is at 15 years. (However, I have a private bottling of a single cask Glenfarclas 30yo which is just spectacular, but obviously this is a unique and special cask!)
With the Macallan 10, 12, 15, 18, and 25 yo, I reckon the 18yo is the most consistent and complete bottling. (I do miss the 15yo these days).
Bowmore Legend (NAS), 12, 17, and 25? Well, the 12yo and 25yo are two very different malts, but I enjoy them equally on their own merits. And I know which one I can afford to buy!!
Glenfiddich is a rare malt that seems to improve with age. The older bottlings (particularly the new-ish 30yo) are vastly better than the standard 12yo.
I could go on with more examples, but I'm probably boring you now, and I'm sure you see my point!
Some expressions I top rated are around 25 years old. "Neil's Dram" from Glenturret (thanks Erik to point me to that one, I was able to find another bottle in Crieff last summer vacation! ) and the '75 Ardbeg (both OB and OMC) are just some examples from entirely different locations that still DO have some distillery character left for me.
But when you cant even taste if it was a Islay or a Speysider/Highlander etc, then it has been way too long in the wood for me.
Ofcourse you'll get to a point that you meet two specific cases, one would be an older blend of various casks where you're able to controle your aroma and flavor profile up to certain point, two would be a single cask and then see what age has done to it, did it improve or not?
But it's never a fact that an older whisky should be better, just in some cases....
and all I can say is, If you get a chance to try PENDERYN, take it,
it tastes a lot older than it's 4 years, and dangerously easy to drink, despite it's 46%.
As we know, once the impurities are gone, it's ready to drink.
that seems to be why the Penderyn tastes so good, it seems the impurities are not there in the first place, so it does not need to stand around for years waiting to get clean enough to drink,
so it make sense that some Whisky's will take longer than others
Lighter more delicate whiskies i.e Rosebank.
Lose their complexity when over aged.
The more robust whiskies can develop in cask provided the cask is of sufficient quality. IMHO Macallan are the industy experts at producing well adged whisky on sufficient a scale as it can be enjoyed worldwide.
The answer to the question has to be it depends which whisky you are talking about.
Hophead is right when he says he prefers the 10 year old Laphroaig. You don't drink Laphroaig for a smooth 30 year old taste.
If you want an more mature depth choose a Macallan or Glenlivet.
That being said I love 15 year old Laphroaig.
It is all about personal taste. Drink what you enjoy.
Admiral said it all in his post. Some get better, up to a point, some don't progress as much or as nicely, but certainly there is a minimum time it has to spend in wood.
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