All your whisky related questions answered here.
Bronze Member
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Apr 01, 2002 1:01 am


Postby Ian_Hamilton » Sat Feb 01, 2003 12:06 am

I have been reading a lot about dodgy casks and was wondering do the independents get to choose their casks (if so, before or after maturiation) or not. And I take it the official bottlings are vatted so include all the "not so good whisky" from the "not so good casks" or do the worst casks go for blending?
... your opinion on whats best - official bottling or independent?
No need for a big list of many different bottlings, I am looking at the overall view.

Silver Member
Posts: 473
Joined: Fri Nov 24, 2000 2:01 am

Postby lexkraai » Sat Feb 01, 2003 11:54 am


Recently, a 'favourite whisky poll' was held on malts-L and the results published in Celtic Spirit at www.celticmalts.com/journal-a24.htm. The results go some way to giving an answer to your questions.

Cheers, Lex

Triple Gold Member
Posts: 2724
Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2003 2:01 am

Postby Admiral » Sun Feb 02, 2003 6:47 am

I can't help but feel there's a bit of snobbery out there....it seems many enthusiasts believe that only the independent bottlings are worth drinking. Anytime you mention "Have you tried the official bottling of (insert distillery here)?", someone always comes back with, "Aah, the (insert independent bottler here) release was so much better!"

And yet we do hear and read of independent releases that are simply bad whiskies.

My view is, if that's the way the distillery wants me to taste it, then that's the way I'll taste it!!

User avatar
Spirit of Islay
Triple Gold Member
Posts: 2541
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2002 2:01 am

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Feb 02, 2003 12:44 pm

I think there is a place for both distillery and independent bottlings , it's like life ,there's good and bad things in all walks of life . My Favourite whisky is Ardbeg and i havn't yet had an independent thats beaten my favourite distillery bottling.There are a few that have come close ! Regarding snobbery in whisky enthusiasts , your right admiral, there's a hell of a lot of it ! Plus a lot of people who are always right regardless!

Triple Gold Member
Posts: 2503
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2002 2:01 am

Postby hpulley » Sun Feb 02, 2003 4:23 pm

Out here in the colonies we take what we can get! It is rare that we get a chance to try both owner and independent bottlings of the same distillery here. We're glad to get whatever independent bottlings are sent from distilleries which don't feel it is worth the time and money to export to other countries (different bottling regulations, etc.).

At least with a single cask IB if you like a particular cask it is possible to get another bottle of it. With OBs sometimes I absolutely love one of their standards and years later I buy another bottle and only the label is the same, the taste is now completely different. Some say this is part of the joy of single malts, the inconsistencies make it fun, but if they're going to vatt the stuff they should get it right! Differences are alright but going from great whisky to bad is not a good inconsistency. When you have a cask number you know (poor bottles and corks aside) what you will get.

Another point for independent bottlers is some allow you to get whisky which is not coloured or chill filtered which allows you to get a different taste. Some are better chill filtered, others are better unfiltered. Now that Ardbeg, Bruichladdich and others are going unfiltered for their OBs this isn't as important but others will continue to send us 40% ABV, filtered medium grade scotch.

There is snobbery all over the whisky buying population. Some whisky societies advertise that they only bring in whiskies older than 15 years -- why? Nonesense I say to those who claim you can't have a good whisky aged less than so many years. Other people will tell you that old whisky is just whisky that was still awful at 8-12 years and they're just glad that it got better rather than worse, and then fell over themselves when people wanted to pay huge money for this old stuff! Some insist that the best stuff goes to blenders while the unacceptable casks sit around for years of additional aging to sell to whisky snobs who don't mind paying top dollar for a number on a label. Who knows what is true?

My rule is I drink whisky because I like it. If I can only get an OB or an IB then that's what I drink. If I happen to prefer an IB over an OB in the rare case where I can get both, I'll drink the one I prefer. If I happen to favor an older version, I'll drink it; if I prefer younger, all the better. If I don't like one, I won't buy it again and after a couple of strikes against a distillery or bottler I may not buy anything from them in future.


User avatar
Spirit of Islay
Triple Gold Member
Posts: 2541
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2002 2:01 am

Postby Spirit of Islay » Sun Feb 02, 2003 4:45 pm

Hi Harry ,
your right about us having a better choice than you (Why don't you come and live over here ? :-) ).
Another side to the O.B. v I.B. discussion is cost .At one time it used to be that distillery bottlings were more expensive (the 3 most expensive bottings i've bought have been distillery bottlings 2 Ardbegs and a Laddie) and the independents were the cheap option . But just look at the way prices have altered , the I.B.'s seem to have shot up .The OMC's have crept up in price ,as have the O&R series (at least the Ardbegs have !) ,of course this could just be because of popularity .

New member
Posts: 69
Joined: Tue Jan 21, 2003 2:01 am

Postby peatreek1 » Mon Feb 03, 2003 2:27 pm

I agree that the IB vs OB debate as well as the issue of age does to a large degree come down to whisky snobbery, perhaps unconsciously. A rare IB of a old whisky from a defunct distillerly must be special and better than a well-marketed standard OB bottling that one can buy at the local liquor store????

Personally, I enjoy both IB and OB and have been impressed (and am grateful for) the general high quality of malt whisky now available. Although I prefer some malts over others, I think it is an issue largely of taste as opposed to quality. I'vw come upon very little mediocre whisky in recent years.

As far as the chill-filtering question, I am undecided on that one. It may be more an issue of perception rather than reality. I have a chemistry background and it is not clear to me how removing some low solubility compounds adversely impacts the flavor of a whisky when the main flavor components are the volatiles. I would like to be able to do a blind tasting of filtered and unfilitered samples from the same cask to see if their is a significant difference.

Bronze Member
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2001 2:01 am

Postby blackkeno » Mon Feb 10, 2003 3:44 am

I'm thankful for the full range of quality malts available--OB & IB. In general I have found that the quality (my subjective taste of course) of OBs is generally higher than IBs. Also, IMHO the variablity of quality with IBs seems to be greater. This means that there are some real IB gems out there and often a good prices--it just takes a bit more looking to find them.

My malt collection is about half and half. I probably bought more than half my OBs without a prior taste and based more on the reputation of and my previous experience with the distillery. More than half my IBs would have been based on prior tasting or specific recommendations from people who have similar tastes.

Overall, I've been very satisfied with both!

Return to “Questions & Answers”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 11 guests