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These prices however – in opposition to some recent releases - make sense to me!
So is it worth seeking old 75cl-whiskies on shelves in small bars in foreign countries or in cellars of relatives and friends?
Starts then on heavy notes of plum sauce and high-end balsamic vinegar, wine sauce, prunes and armagnac. We have also lots of salty liquorice, game and coffee. Mouth: here's a very heavy sherry, with lots of bitter chocolate, coffee, very ripe kiwis and cinnamon. Notes of old armagnac again, candle wax, orange marmalade, Christmas pudding, blackcurrant and blackberry jam…
extremely demonstrative and not cloying at all despite the high concentration. Mouth: rather perfumy, rose jelly, apple compote, white pepper, pear spirit.
Genuine showcase whisky and a true sherry monster (with big teeth). Hints of soft curry, apples, gentian spirit, fresh walnuts… Mouth: it’s even peatier now, bold, powerful and oaky. Hints of Turkish delights and strawberry sweets, quince, apple skin… Not extremely complex I’d say, but nevertheless very good. Of course, it would be unfair and exaggerated to state that there are no good whiskys out there these days, but their number has dropped and their price has risen.
Positive examples like Benriach have just become too few. They haven’t encountered the ‘old stuff’ yet (most of them never will) and, therefore, don’t miss it.
So be it, but it is quite sad that the undoubted quality of these whiskies might not even be recognized by its consumers - which cannot be average malt enthusiasts due to the price.
Moreover, such bottlings function as clever marketing tools with tremendous advertising effects.
Maturing time of around four years has already been shortened quite a bit and experiments with small casks and woodchips are conducted to produce more Bourbon/Tennessee Whisky in shorter time.
Rumour has it that a law is being discussed which would allow Bourbon makers to sell one-year old whiskies in the future – an undertaking which can only work by using small casks. The Scottish whisky industry heavily relies on casks from overseas that helped making such beautiful whiskies full of American oak character in the past – and holding the spirit for up to 60 years.
Mouth: thick and fruitier now, with a little icing sugar right at the start, that will prevent the whole from being too ‘fatty’ all along. Nose: much peatier, let’s say halfway between an Ardbeg and a Highland Park. Slightly ‘flabby’, maybe too fruitish but still above the line. Drinking whisky – may it be for leisure or even semi-professional – is one of the greatest hobbies of all time, no doubt about it. in the form of unreal price-policy, decreasing quality and ‘ppm-uniformism’, recently spoil the blue sky for conoisseurs in whisky heaven. There are lots of reasons to be quite concerned: At the moment, aficionados have already discovered the drop in quality in recent years as a result from the long-lasting whisky boom and its ramifications.