Are older bottlings better?

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Are older bottlings better?

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Are older bottlings better?

Postby Rudy » Wed Dec 22, 2004 12:54 am

Hi All,

in the few years I start to get a bit more serious about appreciating whisky I noticed some differences in bottlings...

Before I continue, I would like to point out that I do not want to criticize any destillery in whatever way.
I only want to share some of my experiences with you, that brought me to starting this poll.

The Edradour 10yo:
old: tall bottle with a coloured waterpainting on it
new: dumpy bottle with white label

Highland Park 12yo:
old: dumpy bottle with wide neck
new: other dumpy with narrow neck

Macallan 18yo:
old: 70's vintages
new: 80's vintages

For unknown reasons, I prefer the old bottlings.

Anybody here with similar experiences?
And if so, with which bottlings?

Happy hunting,


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Postby Lawrence » Wed Dec 22, 2004 3:19 am

Rudy, your experience is similar to mine, there are numerous older bottlings from the past that I feel were better then than they are now. Personally, and some will disagree with me, I feel that a decade or so ago the distilleries had larger stocks of older whiskies and they were using them to "jazz" up a bottling. Now those stocks of older whiskies have been consumed or are being diverted to other uses and the certain bottlings are suffering accordingly.

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Postby Admiral » Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:34 pm

Lawrence may well be right, but I also think we tend to look back on "the old days" fondly and the nostalgia sometimes clouds our perspective. Looking through rose coloured stained glass windows is another way of describing it.

We do it with most things in life - for example, today's music is no where near as good as the stuff we listened to when we were teenagers; society used to be more polite; whisky used to taste better, etc, etc. :)

I'm only hypothesising here, but distilleries probably had a lot more latitude 10-15 years ago than they do today. The recent boom in sales and popularity of single malts has meant that every move a distillery makes is closely scrutinised, and consumers are far more educated and aware than ever before.

Where am I going with this? I think the pressure and competition is really on these days, and distilleries can't afford to put a foot wrong by releasing a dud or being lazy with their vattings.


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Postby hpulley » Wed Dec 22, 2004 1:37 pm

It is hard to say. Sometimes I buy two bottles from the same case and yet when I try the second bottle of a whisky that I loved at first, occasionally I find the second bottle isn't as good. The bottle hasn't changed, I have! So it is hard to say overall if older bottlings were higher quality or not (Lawrence's argument about sherry casks sounds reasonable but I prefer bourbon anyways). I'm sure the bottlings change, some for the better and some for worse but I change too and I can't take myself out of the equation...


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Postby peatreek1 » Wed Dec 22, 2004 2:47 pm

I feel that there has been some decrease in quality in recent years.

Current whisky supplies depend on what was distilled 10+ years ago.

Increase in single malt demand may be causing some distilleries to bottle some casks that might not have been of the quality judged suitable for single malt whisky in previous years.

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Postby Tom » Wed Dec 22, 2004 5:48 pm

Although i too have found some bottlings that have decreased in quality (laphroaig CS, talisker 10, glenfiddich 21) there are others that i think have improved, (Macallan 12 and 25, glenfiddich 12 and 18). But mostly im with Harry, i think personal taste is developping and is changing all the time.
Also, like admiral i trust the distillerys know what they are doing and are rather carefull with whatever they change in a bottling. (i bet that every bottle that i personally think is worse then it used to be is just caramelized, and as my poll has proven, they are only doing it to satisfy us, because we demand a nice and consistent color...)

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Postby Rudy » Fri Dec 24, 2004 9:54 pm

Hi Harry, hi Tom,

you're right, your own personal taste can change as well. And to avoid 'romantizing' old memories, you can do a HTH, and then you'll know.


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