Glass Aged Whiskies

This refers to bottles that are unopened and at least 20 years old. The received wisdom is that spirits age in wooden barrels then don’t do anything once bottled in glass.

The received wisdom isn’t always right. Spirits do change once they’ve been bottled but not in a linear or predictable manner.

I thought I’d start a thread for anyone opening old bottles that are at least 20 years under glass.

The reasons people buy and drink these whiskies is they were made in a different time with different techniques, different barley, and especially different ageing regimes for the barrels. Before the 1990s one would more typically find local barley strains, local malting, human eye rather than computer reliant distilling processes and ageing in old style dunnage warehouses.

However, they were also often bottled at 40 or 43%, chill filtered and coloured with spirit caramel. Whether they are better than the whiskies of today is a moot point but one worth exploring.

Auctions are a happy hunting ground for such bottles and if one goes for standard 12 yo bottlings from the distilleries or ones from established independents like Gordon and Macphail or Cadenheads they don’t have to cost a lot of money providing you stay away from the likes of Macallan, Ardbeg, Lagavulin or Springbank.

First up we have an Inchgower 12 yo. It has a bar code on the back which means it was bottled after 1983. This is/was owned by Bells and is rarely seen as a single malt as most goes into the Bells blended scotch.

Grassy nose, light sherry, herbaceous. To taste, cereal dominated, a touch of cardboard (glass ageing can do that but it might fade after being opened a couple of weeks) and a hint of undergrowth . Spicy finish with light oak. Quite vibrant. After an hour or two it rounds out nicely with the sherry finish becoming more prominent. Will be interesting to see how it develops over the next couple of weeks.
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