Originally Posted by bkblankenship
Appearance is a very important factor in whisky tasting; and JoJo alluded to it in her comment about age. Looking at appearance ( aka color ) can tell the taster a lot about the maturation process. From a chardonnay color to a mahogany color, the color suggests the type of cask used in maturation. If a label does not state whether it is a first fill or refill or even a 2nd refill for example, then the taster can make an educated guess as to the cask and number of refills used. For example, a refill sherry butt aged for 21 years will most likely impart a mahogany color, but a 3rd refill sherry butt aged for the same number of years may impart a very deep gold as previous maturations have taken most of the sherry out of the wood. So APPEARANCE does play an important role in the overall tasting experience as it can reveal many characteristics about the whisky ( in my example; strong sherry presence or weak sherry presence in the taste ). Hope this helps.
How prevelant is using carmel color, or something like it, to alter the appearance of a whisky?
I have no doubt that what you've stated here is 100% correct, but if the color is altered or enhanced in any way, it would really negate any indication looking at the color of a whisky can give.
All that said, I always thought the ruby amber color of the Aberlour 12 double cask was particularly beautiful