My view - arrogant perhaps - is that milestone ages (18, 25, 30, 40) are aimed primarily at selling product to people who don't know very much about whisky and assume that quality (and hence price) should rise on an exponential scale against age. Frankly, people who have more money than sense - the ones who just look for the oldest age statement they can get for a given price. I suspect that people who know a little more about whisky would seek out quality wherever it was found, and understand that the age statement is little more than a useful way of identifying bottlings.
Sorry if that sounds a little harsh.
What I object to is the perpetuation of the naive belief that 25yos are better than 18yos are better than 12yos are better than 10yos. Frankly, that is just amateur nite.
As I say, I can accept polling for best 10yos because they are at a lower price range and generally are not the best expressions of each distillery. But if people want to take this approach to seriously old, landmark age OBs when genuinely top class whiskies can be had at non-landmark ages and at far lower prices, then I think it betrays a real lack of understanding of whisky. It looks to me like flashing cash, hoping to attract respect but actually demonstrating that a fool and his money are easily parted.
Again, sorry if I sound harsh.
Personally, I see no point in ranking such as these, or choosing a favorite, but I think the objective is to promote discussion. The author of this thread, whose English is a bit limited (but far better than my Spanish), is doing his best to do just that. If divvying everything up into age groups seems a bit naive, still there's no harm in it. And cheer up, he'll run out of numbers soon!
Now about ageism - I personally perceive that the Balvenie 12 is superior to the 15 yo and then there is a marked improvement by the 21, until you reach the 25 yo Single cask which is so pleasing that I have only a bit left and may polish off tonight. This is probably not true of all whisky but is what I've run into.
Regretfully, I've not sampled or acquired too many 25 yo although I quite like the Glen Rothes 1973 which I seem to remember is a 27 yo. Generally, due to geographical limitations, I've been able to acquire a dozen or so varieties of the 18 to 28 yo range at best. (Heavy Sigh) However, the 21 yo St. Magdalene is a delightful Lowland, grassy and summery while the Royal Lochnagar 23 yo cask str is high on the personal favorite list. So, "don't cry for me..." I'm not suffering.
Midelton 25yo .... stunning stuff.
But out of the list the HP 25yo only because I do not have tasting under my belt for a lot of these.
I would love to get my hands on a Talisker 25yo to see how it pans out though.
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