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How has your single malt taste changed over the years? This is quite interesting. What has changed and and why?
For example when it comes to myself. When I was younger I drank only the most smoky whiskies out there. Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig. Because whiskies with no smoke was not true whiskies. Growing older and wiser I realized that youth can fool you. One is inexperienced and has not tasted and seen everything. Now I realize that is its the medicinal smoke that I love. Not bonfire smoke whiskies.
Also I have realized that whiskies with no smoke can also be excellent. Different casks shows different side to a whisky. Glendronach, Brucihladdich and Tamdhu for example can make good good whisky with no smoke. Nowadays I love tasting sherried whiskies such as Tamdhu. And I will explore casks as Sauternes from Edradour and also wine cask whiskies from Benromach for example.
As I have gone further into my whisky journey, I have continually tried all types of whiskies that I could get may hands on from all over the world. I think I have developed a pretty broad palate as a result.
Now, one might think this means that my palate would have become more discriminating as I've gained more experience with different types of whiskies, but I think the opposite might have occurred - It is rare now for me to find a whisky that I wouldn't rate as at least average (3 stars out of 5). In any whisky, I can usually tease out a flavor or aroma that I enjoy and that reminds me of a whisky I have had before.
My guilty pleasure of the moment is a bottle of Bushmills Original that I am really enjoying (neat, in a proper whisky glass).
A good single malt or bourbon is good to drink even if it is not the favourite whisky. However some blended are so bad and have no redeeming features. I have statesman at home, so bad but the good thing about it is that I try it once a year just to remind me what is bad and what is good. Because then I enjoy the good whiskies better.
@CarltonA good single malt or bourbon is good to drink even if it is not the favourite whisky. However some blended are so bad and have no redeeming features. I have statesman at home, so bad but the good thing about it is that I try it once a year just to remind me what is bad and what is good. Because then I enjoy the good whiskies better.
A bottle of Rotgut whisky is good to have if one gets a visit from a person who don't care what they drink
So how old is these craft whiskeys?
Good point! Nothing is worse than pouring someone a small measure of fine whiskey and then watching them down it in one shot!
Regarding age of craft whiskeys, I understand these newer, small distillers need to pay the bills, but I don't think they are doing themselves any favors for the long term by putting product on the shelves before it is ready (and before they have gained enough experience to produce a good spirit). Most new products are less than 2 years old, and some are less than a year old. A few of the older craft distilleries have been around long enough to start bringing Bottled in Bond (aged 4 years) products to market, so that is encouraging.
The distilleries I listed above (and I would include Westland also) take various approaches to producing very good whiskeys at a young age:
McCarthy's makes a single malt that is about three years old from heavily peated Scottish barley. The heavy peat helps mask the immaturity of the spirit, and it tastes like a young Islay malt.
Balcones uses distillation and maturation regimes that were designed by whiskey alchemist Chip Tate. He took a scientific approach with rigorous attention to detail, quality, and innovation. He even built the stills! As you might know, he was ousted from the company in a power struggle with outside investors, but the products available now should be close to what he produced. That will change in the future, though, because a new, much larger distillery is now in operation.
Wasmund's whiskeys are only slightly over 1 year old, but they dry their barley over a mixture of cherry and apple wood smoke and then floor-malt it. They age in ex-bourbon barrels which have charred apple wood and oak chips added. It sounds like a gimmick, but it produces a very unique whiskey that doesn't have the immature, funky flavors of most young whiskeys (at least to my palate).
Koval uses unusual grains and grain combinations combined with very narrow spirit cuts to give a very clean spirit that matures into a very good whiskey at about 2 years of age.
Westland, unlike most new distilleries, was well-financed from the start and uses top-notch equipment (Forsyth's pot stills). Aging in full-sized, new, charred American oak barrels makes a tasty whiskey in a little over 2 years. They use a mixture of five different malts and Belgian brewer's yeast.
I'm still drinking the same entry-level single malts that I did when I started years ago. I live a boring, reclusive life.
@bedlambornI'm still drinking the same entry-level single malts that I did when I started years ago. I live a boring, reclusive life.
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