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Originally Posted by Master-Classter
About that 4 year 43% loss (I'm assuming because of heat?), it reminds me of how Laphroaig Quarter Cask is only like 6 years or something but because of the cask size it 'matures' quicker. So there's a case to be made for moving away from age statements because so many factors can influence the taste and a simple number of years statement is such a weak indicator. It's like using chest size, one single number, to fit a suit. Makes no sense. I was originally really against the practice of dropping age statements but I'm understanding how it's just a bad metric that gets in the way. If the juice tastes good, who cares. I mean you can char the barrel longer, drop in staves, put it in a hot storage facility on a higher rack, I dunno, basically a million things can change the flavor and number of years in the barrel is one indicator, but shouldn't be the only one. I don't know if I told this anecdote before when we were discussing this subject a few months back but I was at the DF and overheard a youngish girl talking to the SA there and she wanted to buy a gift, but her discussion was led by 'I want to spend between X and Y dollars' and I want to get a 'X year bottle'. So she kept asking the guy, well I want to buy a 16 year Scotch, so who makes a good one. I know you gotta roll with something but I mean damn, the guy didn't even bother explaining about the general regions or the idea that there are a few different 'styles' of Scotch and that the year or price can be found within any of them. She just wanted a 'well known brand name' at 'x price' with 'x years' on it. And as a manufacturer, sure, you're up against those kind of consumers here and there, but maybe just maybe stick the age statement on the back somewhere, and the posted price point issue is unavoidable, and focus more on describing what the actual bottle tastes like or sampling program, or sales person education, or flavor maps, I dunno. But the whole business has become about fancy bottle shapes, special editions, and big bold numbers of years aged on the front label and it's all a big distraction from the only thing that actually counts, the stuff inside. Goddamn I'm becoming an old man.
What your describing is the reason that age stated Macallan has become so scarce. Age statement? Check. Familiar Name? Check. Appropriately high price? Check. Enough cache that i can impress my friends/colleagues when I take this bottle out? Check.
Scotch producers sell the majority of their product to the masses where tasting notes and profiles are second to the concept of "will the person recognize and appreciate this bottle/" (in concept, not in taste).
Unfortunately, whisky is a trial and error game if you want to learn what you like and/or find value. You can read all the reviews you want but nothing can replace a sip, or in more realistic cases, half a bottle to figure out if something fits your preferred flavour profile. My broader experience has led me back to the various expressions of certain distilleries (see above recent purchases focusing on Farclas, Springbank and Dronach). I try something new now and again but stick with what I know I like or variations on a theme (ie. sherried islays, or lightly peated/salty malts).