If you’re not a whiskey connoisseur, it can be a bit intimidating to get into the world of aged spirits. Maturity changes so much about a whisky: flavor, aroma and texture all evolve as it rests in the barrel. It’s like watching an artist evolve over time—from learning the basics to mastering his craft. The same goes for aging whiskey! In this article, we’ll discuss how aging affects redbreast 15 and what makes this whiskey such an amazing example of mature complexity.
Aging whiskey is a process of oxidation and evaporation. The alcohol in the barrel evaporates over time, leaving behind a concentrated, smoother liquid. The oak barrels themselves also add flavor to your whiskey as they age–this is why bourbon has a certain taste that differs from Scotch or Irish whiskey (which are aged in different kinds of barrels).
The aging process can take anywhere from six months to several decades depending on how much money you want to spend on it and how long you want your drink to mature before drinking it!
Importance of cask choice
Cask selection is an important factor in the maturation process, as it can impart different flavors to your whiskey. For example, a bourbon cask will result in a lighter-bodied whiskey with more vanilla notes than one that has been aged in sherry wood for a similar length of time. Similarly, if you’re looking for something with more spice and char notes (like I am), then opt for an Irish pot still or port pipe.
As we’ve seen throughout this series, different casks result in different maturity levels: Bourbon barrels give us younger blends; sherry casks produce middle-aged spirits; and port pipes yield older ones.
Macallan 18 is a benchmark whiskey
The Macallan 18 is a benchmark whiskey, and it’s easy to see why. It’s aged for 18 years in sherry casks, which gives it a nice balance of sweet and dry flavors. The color is dark amber with just a hint of red when held up to the light. The nose is surprisingly subtle: there are hints of vanilla and fruit, but overall it smells like oak and caramel–not what you’d expect from such an old whisky!
The palate is where things get interesting: there is plenty of smoke here (from being aged in sherry casks), but also some nutty notes mixed with honeyed sweetness from all those years spent maturing in wood barrels at The Macallan Distillery in Scotland. There’s even a bit of pepper spice on the finish!
Whisky can be enjoyed at any age
Whisky can be enjoyed at any age, and not just because you’ll probably find it more palatable than when you were younger. The reason for this is that whisky is a journey, not a destination.
Whiskies are made with different grains, which give them different flavours as they age in barrels. As this happens over time, the flavours develop and mature–and some varieties even change completely! So whether or not your favourite dram is ready to drink right now doesn’t matter so much as knowing that someday soon (or maybe even later today), there will be a new version waiting for its moment to shine on your palate.
It’s all about balance.
Balance is the key to enjoying whisky at any age. In fact, it’s a crucial element for life in general.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of newness and want everything fresh and new all the time–but that can lead us down an unfulfilling path. With Redbreast 15 Year Old Irish Whiskey, you’ll find that maturity has given this whiskey its own unique flavor profile that will help you appreciate its complexity even more than when it was younger.
Whiskey is a fascinating spirit, and there’s no denying that it gets better with age. The flavors of a well-aged whiskey are delicious, complex and nuanced–they have depth and character that you don’t find in younger spirits. But as we’ve seen in this post, there’s more than one way to make great whisky! And while some may prefer their drams aged for decades before being bottled, others enjoy drinking them fresh off the stills or even at barrel strength (without water added).