Sunday, May 17, 2009

Elderly whiskies

I recently attended a whisky tasting that featuered old whiskies only. It is a treat for whisky enthusiasts like myself to be able and nose whiskies that are obviously too expensive to buy a whole bottle of.

This was on the menu :
  • Convalmore 30 y.
  • Lochnagar 32 y.
  • Dailuaine 34 y.
  • Caperdonich 40 y.
  • Banff 32 y.
  • "Probably Speyside's Finest" 43 y.(Glenfarclas)
  • Tamnavulin 30 y.
The foremost problem of older whiskies is obviously their price (which makes tasting events an ideal opportunity to nose them). In the case of independent bottlings, as was the case here, older whiskies have a tendency to have off notes, I suspect because they're matured beyond their peak. Official distillery bottlings seem to suffer less from this problem, likely due to a larger cask selection, but they are invariably more expensive per year of maturation.
All this makes buying old whiskies a risky business if you haven't tasted them before purchase. The conclusion is as simple as it is obvious : don't buy expensive old whiskies without having tried them.