Whisky age – older isn’t always better

 

Older whisky is more expensive, so it must be better, right? Erm, no.

While a lot of old whisky can be truly spectacular, some can be mediocre or even downright awful. Because as a whisky ages, so it loses strength and, in some cases, flavour. A distillery has to produce a genuinely excellent spirit and keep it to perfection to pass the 30-year-mark undamaged, and beyond this point the number of whiskies than can genuinely keep improving as the years pass is down to a select handful.

Either way, the costs of keeping a whisky so long and the necessarily very limited qualities that will be left as the years roll on mean you’ll be paying heartily for the privilege of stashing a bottle in your drinks cabinet.

On the flip side youth in whisky is no bad thing because although there are plenty of young whiskies out there that show their youth poorly with a harsh mouthfeel, limited taste development in the mouth, and an aftertaste that vanishes in an instant, there are others which in a blind taste you’d be hard pressed to tell from something twice the age or older.

As with anything else in the world of whisky, banishing your prejudices and leaping in with reckless abandon to everything whisky has to offer can reap huge dividends. It could also save you some serious cash.