Ken Gargett

long ageing of spirits

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In all the fabulous, and not so fabulous things distillers are playing around with, I'm surprised nobody (that I'm aware of) has drained off a cask in mini bottles over its whole life,  say 30yrs for example. 

It would be so interesting to buy 30 mini bottles, to get to see the full life of a single cask, the full evolution.   For those interested in the ageing process, it would be a wonderful resource,  especially if it came with distillers notes.

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24 minutes ago, 99call said:

In all the fabulous, and not so fabulous things distillers are playing around with, I'm surprised nobody (that I'm aware of) has drained off a cask in mini bottles over its whole life,  say 30yrs for example. 

It would be so interesting to buy 30 mini bottles, to get to see the full life of a single cask, the full evolution.   For those interested in the ageing process, it would be a wonderful resource,  especially if it came with distillers notes.

i know glenfarclas does - that said i am not so sure how easy they are to buy. i think they do collections. i have a heap sitting in front of me, right up to 40 year old. 

i see quite a few as easy for samples. but they definitely have some. in europe, it might come down to EEC regulations. i know that the bureaucrats prevented champagne from using the 500ml bottles, though that has recently changed. 

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Just now, Ken Gargett said:

i know glenfarclas does - that said i am not so sure how easy they are to buy. i think they do collections. i have a heap sitting in front of me, right up to 40 year old. 

Are they as specific milestones though Ken?. i.e 12, 15, 17, 20 etc?

what I'm talking about, is every year from the barrel (including a small bottle of the raw spirit,  then 1yr, 2yr etc etc.    you could argue that potentially 6 bottles of the 30 bottle package may not be very pleasing, but for true whisky enthusiast,  it would be a great tool for learning.     If this is what Glenfarclas are doing excuse the follow up message

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15 minutes ago, 99call said:

Are they as specific milestones though Ken?. i.e 12, 15, 17, 20 etc?

what I'm talking about, is every year from the barrel (including a small bottle of the raw spirit,  then 1yr, 2yr etc etc.    you could argue that potentially 6 bottles of the 30 bottle package may not be very pleasing, but for true whisky enthusiast,  it would be a great tool for learning.     If this is what Glenfarclas are doing excuse the follow up message

you are welcome to follow up as often as you like.

they do both. i have seen their 1971. cracking stuff but a full bottle about $5K. excuse the blatant self promo but this will give some more info on their vintage releases. these are 200mls. 

https://quillandpad.com/2019/04/04/glenfarclas-family-cask-trunk-and-the-1971-vintage-whisky/

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11 minutes ago, 99call said:

Are they as specific milestones though Ken?. i.e 12, 15, 17, 20 etc?

what I'm talking about, is every year from the barrel (including a small bottle of the raw spirit,  then 1yr, 2yr etc etc.    you could argue that potentially 6 bottles of the 30 bottle package may not be very pleasing, but for true whisky enthusiast,  it would be a great tool for learning.     If this is what Glenfarclas are doing excuse the follow up message

They do it in a series called The Family Casks but I'm not aware of a bottling from single cask at different ages or in mini bottles. But it would be a great idea!

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2 minutes ago, Ken Gargett said:

you are welcome to follow up as often as you like.

they do both. i have seen their 1971. cracking stuff but a full bottle about $5K. excuse the blatant self promo but this will give some more info on their vintage releases. these are 200mls. 

https://quillandpad.com/2019/04/04/glenfarclas-family-cask-trunk-and-the-1971-vintage-whisky/

Ah I didn't realise the trunk was 200mls! Thanks :)

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17 minutes ago, Ken Gargett said:

you are welcome to follow up as often as you like.

they do both. i have seen their 1971. cracking stuff but a full bottle about $5K. excuse the blatant self promo but this will give some more info on their vintage releases. these are 200mls. 

https://quillandpad.com/2019/04/04/glenfarclas-family-cask-trunk-and-the-1971-vintage-whisky/

This restores my faith in the universe.   Thanks for the link Ken.  Looks like they presented it really nicely too.   Just need to mortgage the house now.

Great write up too, hats off

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On overaging - I definitely think there is a point where older doesn't equal better. It's not just limited to the high end of the age scale either - to my tastes some distillers spirit is better with less time in wood. I did a tasting of Old Pulteney recently and Old Pulteney 12 seemed better to me than there older expressions which took on too much influence from the wood which took away from the briney tastes of the 12. Like cigars older doesn't always mean better!

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Excellent read.  Very interesting though the appreciation of liquors is lost on me.  It doesn't matter if it's an 18yo aged single malt or Kirkland (Costco) brand generic whiskey, for me it all tastes the same.  But they all improve with each subsequent shot.

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Thanks for post Ken ,wonderful insight 👍🏼

cheers Steve 

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I am still a relatively new scotch drinker so I am learning as I go along...but my experience has been kind of all over the place...generally speaking I find longer aged bottles to be better...but there are instances where I prefer a younger scotch...Laphroaig for instance...I enjoy the Lore the most out of the line...even over the 25...and its 1/5 of the price. 

 

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Great read. I've always wondered where the diminishing returns were for various spirits and time spent aging in casks or elsewhere. I recall a chat I had with a Tequila rep in Mexico many years ago.  They have (had at the time) three designations Blanco (unaged), Reposado (oak aging 2 - 12 months) and Anejo (1 - 3 years in Oak).  There is now Extra Anejo (over 3 years). I asked him if he foresaw Tequila being aged as long as Scotch or Cognac and he flatly said that over the 3 year mark, the product they were drinking was no longer Tequila.  There was too much oak influence.  There is this unique sweetness to Tequila that disappeared or was too faint to be recognized.  It looks like attitudes have changed and I guess it doesn't hurt to sell older Tequila to customers who think there is extra value in it.  

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15 minutes ago, mbflash80 said:

I am still a relatively new scotch drinker so I am learning as I go along...but my experience has been kind of all over the place...generally speaking I find longer aged bottles to be better...but there are instances where I prefer a younger scotch...Laphroaig for instance...I enjoy the Lore the most out of the line...even over the 25...and its 1/5 of the price. 

 

As a peat head I agree. Laphroig 10 is probably my favorite go to single malt. I do think there is a sweet spot though but the smoke quickly becomes more dull with older Islays. For example I definitely prefer the 12 y/o Lagavulin over the 16 but I think the 8 is a little young and rough around the edges. I also really like what Ardbeg does with their Uigeadail and Corryveckan, up-market NAS bottlings like these allow for a mix of really old casks with young casks that make for really great full flavored scotch. 

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48 minutes ago, BirdDog said:

As a peat head I agree. Laphroig 10 is probably my favorite go to single malt. I do think there is a sweet spot though but the smoke quickly becomes more dull with older Islays. For example I definitely prefer the 12 y/o Lagavulin over the 16 but I think the 8 is a little young and rough around the edges. I also really like what Ardbeg does with their Uigeadail and Corryveckan, up-market NAS bottlings like these allow for a mix of really old casks with young casks that make for really great full flavored scotch. 

Corryveckan is named aptly...that is an asskicker of a drink...I love Islays as well even the milder stuff from Bunnahabin...but I still have a lot I want to try...Lagavulin being one of them!

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  I can only go with my experience and say everything is subjective. The oldest scotch I've had is a 1956 Glenlivet bottled in '95 and that was wonderful and rich, not oak heavy at all.

  But I've had young offerings that have been far too oaky for me to enjoy at all, like Balvenie Double Wood.

  I'd hazard a guess and say the initial blend/mix/process is more dominant than the age

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What is the percentage of older whiskies done in more neutral barrels like port or madeira?  Seems to be a trend of many regions.

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The way the spirit has been handled will have a huge effect though. Lots of spirits are now transferred to second barrels for a ‘finishing’ effect, which personally I almost never want as it usually introduces strong new flavours. Also, the original barrel is critical. New oak? High char? Forget it. What I really like is long ageing in a relatively neutral barrel. It takes about 40-50 years for a spirit to naturally stabilise at about 43-44% alcohol.

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