Is an older whisky supposed to taste better?
The art of appreciating whisky is typically passed off as a profound one — it is often subjected to being a man's drink, an aficiondado's choice or stereotyped to be the drink of Don Drapers and Don Drapers only. That said, there are still many unresolved debates on what makes a good glass of whisky or rather, how one should drink whisky. To clear the air, we enlisted the expertise of Kevin Abrook, global whisky specialist at William Grant & Sons, who takes us through the intricacies of the beautiful amber liquid. Don't just stop there; be sure to have your first sip this weekend.
Myth #1: The older the whisky is, the better it is
The year stated on the bottle actually represents the youngest whisky in the bottle, but there could be older whiskies in the mix inside. Age statements are an important "signpost" for whiskies. The truth is, you do get more richness and complexity from older whiskies. But that doesn't mean that an older whisky tastes better — honestly, that's down to personal preference. I onced tasted a 50-year-old whisky, which wasn't great at all. If the cask is poor, it doesn't matter how old the whisky is.
Myth #2: The darker in colour the whisky is, the better quality it is
Most consumers don't know this, but most blended scotch whiskies and some single malt scotches add a little caramel for colouring, which has no effect on the flavour. People taste with their eyes, so adding colour helps to reassure perceptions of quality.
Myth #3: If you aren't sipping it neat, you shouldn't be drinking it at all
Don't let anyone undermine your personal preference, there's no right or wrong to appreciating whisky. I like mine chilled, so I enjoy it with one cube of ice. I also think Scotch has been underrated in cocktails. Thankfully that is changing; my favourite is a Monkey Shoulder Boulevardier. My advice? You should always try different ways of drinking whiskies.
Myth #4: Whisky is often too harsh of a drink to stomach
For people who perceive it as tasting too harsh, I would really recommend trying the House of Hazelwood 18-year-old, a new blended scotch that was launched in 2016. It has a vibrant vanilla sweetness, creamy toffee notes and soft oakiness that's very approachable and refined.
For more information, visit House of Hazelwood.