Producing whisky is best described as an art form. Lots of different components such as the grain, barrel type and distillation process come together to form this most revered of spirits. However, perhaps the most telling part of a whisky is not the active part of its production, rather how long it has spent sitting stationary inside a barrel for. This forms the age of the whisky, and the number is something most people would judge the quality on above all else.
So when it comes to whisky, is age just a number, or is there more to it than that? Here are our thoughts on why does whisky age matter to tell you more.
Whisky Age At A Glance
Grab a bottle of whisky and you’ll probably notice a number on the front that represents the age of the product. Whisky age refers to how long it has matured for in a casket before being bottled and distributed. When whisky is first made, it starts with a very high level of immaturity and will be almost colourless. The taste would be very acidic, and overall it wouldn’t be very enjoyable to drink.
It takes time for the whisky to refine, with anywhere from 8 to 10 years being the average time it takes to mature. The longer a whisky is stored in a barrel for the more expensive it becomes to produce. However, the longer the whisky sits in the barrel for, the more the flavour is developed. This happens because the wood of the casks is quite porous, allowing the smokiness to infuse into the liquid. Over time, the whisky then loses it’s immaturity, developing a rich colouring and flavour to boot.
Climate And Whisky Age
The temperature plays a part here too. As we’ve mentioned before on the blog, Irish whiskey matures faster than Scotch whisky, due to the slightly warmer climate in Ireland. Therefore, Irish whiskey can be produced much quicker on average when compared with whisky made in Scotland. The age matters because in Scotland, the blend would take far longer to mature. Think of it as baking two cakes, only one oven is warmer. Despite this, the longer maturing Scotch whisky is considered the more superior product overall. Though that of course depends on who you ask! After all, whisky is all a matter of personal preference.
Is Older Whisky Better?
Contrary to popular belief, the older the whisky doesn’t always mean a better flavour. To a point, this is correct because whisky needs time to mature. However, if too much time passes the whisky can take on too much of the flavour of the barrel. For example, this is common in whiskies that are between 30 and 50 years old. Extremely mature whisky would also become very dark in colour. Ultimately, it does depend on the individual blend and the barrels used as sometimes the taste can still be appealing.
‘NAS’ stands for no age statement. It’s used in whisky varieties that don’t state how old the product is, and for the most part, is a way that the distilleries can experiment with the flavour. Instead of focusing solely on age, NAS whisky producers concentrate more on taste, colour and technique. Malts of various ages can be blended together which gives more unusual hues and tasting notes than regular whisky. On the whole though, NAS whisky divides opinion with many whisky connoisseurs preferring to go on the traditional age statement, when it comes to determining the quality of the product.
Buy Whisky Online
Has the above explanation of why does whisky age matter whet your appetite? Here at Bring Me Drink we sell a wide range of alcoholic beverages including whisky. This includes brands such as Bells, Chivas, Glenfiddich, Haig Club, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam and many more. Whether you enjoy drinking your whisky on the rocks or with a delicious mixer drink, we’ll deliver it straight to your door.
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