I’ve been to a few tastings and when the host asks participants to guess the age of a whisky, this is usually the question that trips folk up as it’s the hardest to tell!
The longer a Whisky matures in the cask the richer and more intense the flavour while the natural alcohol level drops too.
But, back to the question, if people can’t recognize the number of years a whisky is matured does it really matter and is taste all important?
Non Age Statement Whisky is where the number of years a Whisky is matured is not disclosed on the bottle. It’s becoming more apparent in the industry and there a number of different driving forces behind it – the most obvious being that due to the success and growth of the industry the older cask stock has depleted so while the stocks are being restored we can only have younger casks.
inside the warehouse
From a cost perspective age is very important because while a cask sits in the warehouse it pays rent and over the years this accumulates into its final price, also the older the cask the fewer the number of bottles it contains so generally the bottles that are left are rarer and so have a higher price. These are costs applied even before the cask has been priced based on taste, distillery reputation and similar bottlings.
For Single Malt and Grain it is important that maturation periods are disclosed because if it hidden it raises questions about pricing and why it’s hidden.
To be Whisky the spirit has to be in the cask for a minimum of three years and I’ve tasted some very young spirit and Whisky that has been enjoyable so a young Whisky should not be assumed poor even before it’s been tasted so young maturation periods are necessarily a bad thing.