Never Ask A Scotch Its Age

June 18, 2020

You may think that when you buy a bottle of 12 or 18 or 24-year-old whisky, all of its contents are of that vintage. But, in fact, like being told by your wife that “I’m fine” or when your best friend texts and says “I’m five minutes away”, you’re being told a little white lie.

Before I tell you what this lie is, you need to know the difference between single malt whiskys and blended whisky. Technically, single malts are blended to achieve a particular character or to maintain the distinctive qualities of a certain brand of whisky. The difference between single malt and blended is that blended whiskys can be made of products of several distilleries while all the whisky in a single malt bottle comes from the same distillery.

But, and here is where the little white lie on a whiskey’s age comes in. The single malt and blended whiskeys don’t all come from the same cask. So, by law, the age a scotch is labeled is the age of the youngest whisky in the blend. But much older whiskys may also be included. So an 18-year-old scotch could contain a 24-year-old blend. But the more I think about it, the more I’m OK with it. Because not many lies ever end up being this tasty.