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Age doesn’t matter when it comes to whiskey. Heretical?

on 23/07/14 at 10:03 am

Booze News

imagesAge is just a number, so far as spirits are concerned.

“Don’t get hung up on numbers,” Dave Broom, author of “The Complete Bartender’s Guide,” told Tales of the Cocktail attendees Saturday at “The Blind Truth About Aging Whisky” seminar, sponsored by Diageo. “Age just tells you how long it’s been in a cask, not how good it is.”

The Tales seminar focused on Scotch whisky, but experts say that tenet also extends to other whiskeys produced around the world. It’s an increasingly important message for shoppers browsing liquor store shelves these days, with spirit distillers releasing both un-aged whiskeys and super-aged rarities—and many more that don’t have an age noted.

But it also requires a shift from the ingrained perception from marketing that older is better, Jerald O’Kennard, director of the Beverage testing Institute, told CNBC in an interview. “We have people that are so trained to look for age statements,” he said. “They might be skipping over alot of very good stuff.”

Several factors are contributing to the boom in new products without a noted age. On the craft side, the surge in new distillers since 2010 has added to the number of young and un-aged products on the market. “New producers haven’t had time to age their product,” said Frank Coleman, a senior vice president at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, told CNBC.”They’re just trying to get started.” As the businesses (and their products) mature, the pendulum may swing back somewhat a few years down the line.