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The Clit Avoider
Aug 11, 2002

El Profesional

Bruce Leroy posted:

So, for everyone, do you think you'd be able to pick out the more expensive and ostensibly higher quality whisk(e)ys from the cheaper, poor quality stuff or do you think psychological effects similar to those affecting wine tasters may be affecting your perceptions of whisk(e)ys. Basically, do you think you could reliably pick out the more aged or better quality whisk(e)ys from the younger, crappier stuff?

Eh, first of all, as said but it bears repeating, young whiskies aren't necessarily any worse than older ones. In fact, a young Islay might very well be regarded as much better than an older bottling simply because the raw, untamed characteristics of the malt aren't tempered by years in a cask. Quite of a lot of people are very disappointed by older bottlings of Laphroaig when they first taste them. And Talisker 18 versus 10 is very much a matter of how wild you like your finish.

Start adding in things like first fill sherry cask versus 2nd fill, bourbon finished versus not, quarter casks, or even just a distillery like Amrut (where because of the heat, the maturation in casks is vastly accelerated) and the age on the bottle is completely inconsequential.

Price, similarly, is meaningless. There are a lot of very rare (and thus very expensive) whiskies out there that can only be described as terrible (loch dhu springs to mind at the cheaper end of that scale). And there's a lot of whiskies like Laphroaig QC, Glenfarclas 15/17/21yo, Amrut Sherry Cask and Aberlour A'Bunadh which are ridiculously cheap for the quality they represent.

Unless you're actually presenting someone with supermarket budget whisky, a poor blend, dud bottle or otherwise, it's difficult to tell what differences in taste aren't purely to down to the differences in distillery, water source, casks and maturation etc.

From within a distilleries own range, yes in most cases you could quite easily tell the difference between the 10/12 and 20/25. But in between that varies hugely by distillery in quality - some have excellent 15s, some superb 17s and 18s.


The Clit Avoider
Aug 11, 2002

El Profesional

Ample posted:

Unfortunately as with all tasting evaluations, you can't judge what wasn't submitted. Laphroaig is owned by Beam Inc. and in difficult economic periods its not uncommon for parent companies to withhold established brands from tasting competitions and rather focus their budget, time and energy on up and coming brands.

Edit: A tasting award, medal, icon will always be helpful to any product. Even to a brand with as a devout following and reputation as Laphroaig - medals mean something and create industry buzz. However a tasting award will have a significantly larger impact on a brand looking to break into markets, distributors, importers and even retailers. Brand diversification is a really interesting part of the industry. There are companies like Brown-Forman, who make jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, that really suffered from the recession because most of their brands are priced in the premium range.

Nah. It's more to do with the entry fee per bottle for most of these competitions. Why would/should a distiller pay to enter their product in a competition (of which there are countless) when, in the world of malt, people are more likely to pay attention to one man's tasting notes for the year?
$395 to enter a spirit in a competition very few people care about? Wonderful.

There's about 2 awards worth paying attention to across the industry, and a lot of the judging competitions are nothing more than a free flight, accommodation and tasting session for the judges. I don't think anyone needs a judge to tell them 25 year old Glenfarclas is a good whisky.

There's a few places like Bruichladdich who're heavily into being trend-driven and are pretty much the butt of a lot of jokes in Scotland for the reams of utterly mediocre expressions they've been releasing for the last decade.

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