It seems to make sense that the older the whiskey, the better it tastes—certainly the older the whiskey, the higher the price, right? Jason Wilson insists it is not as clear cut. In his Washington Post column, he writes that “plenty of times, aging in oak barrels turns a beautiful spirit into oak juice…. With most bourbons, for instance, eight to 10 years is optimal aging. Beyond that, many distillers say, the oak often takes over.” (Wilson also discusses the occasional need for an aged and pricier spirit in making a cocktail—that it wouldn’t be waste, such as in a proper margarita vs. one involving that day-glo mix: “To these people [who say What’s the difference?], I say: Call me in the morning and tell me how your night worked out.”)
As for rum,
At a big rum tasting that I wrote about in June, my friends and I found that we really enjoyed both the younger rums, up until about eight years, and then the older rums that had 15 years or more of age. We were more mixed on the 10- to 12-year-old rums. It wasn’t that the rums weren’t high quality; instead it seemed that they had entered a “quiet period” you often hear about with high-end wines from places such as Bordeaux or Barolo.
I feel like I’m in the middle of a “quiet period,” myself. But I keep assuring the Mrs. I’ll get better in a few years.
Dark & Stormy courtesy of GXBltd.