While you can find a quality sip in whisky of any age, there is certainly something appealing about the thought of being able to sample an old or rare whisky.
Why Try Old Whisky?
Aside from the novelty and excitement of trying something rare, there are valid taste reasons for wanting to try an older bottle of whisky. Over the years, the way whisky has been produced has changed slightly, and these changes have had an impact on the taste.
While there haven’t been many wild changes, some differences can be detected due to new procedures. For example, sherry casks are made differently now to how they were during the 1980s, due to new regulations, and this has had an effect on the taste of whisky that is matured in sherry casks. Therefore, whisky from before the 1980s will taste significantly different to that which we drink now.
Challenges with Finding Old and Rare Whisky
For many whisky collectors, aged and rare whisky is the be-all and end-all; but getting your hands on a bottle that fits into this category is a challenge. For one, rare whisky is, as the name suggests, rare to find. They may have been limited edition runs with only a few bottles released or were released so long ago that only a handful of bottles remain in the world.
The other problem with wanting to try aged or rare whisky is the price. Due to the rarity and demand for these whiskies, the price tags for such bottles are usually sky-high, with some selling for hundreds of thousands of pounds at auction!
Luckily, there are some ways around this, so we take a look at some of the ways you can try unique whiskies for yourself!
Try Old Blends
Whisky blends are generally cheaper than single malts, so if your issue with finding old whisky is the price, then an older blend may be the way to go to get you started!
Old blends are great to try as someone interested in older whiskies, as the way whisky is blended has changed a great deal over the years, and you may be surprised by the difference in taste.
This is largely down to different ratios of grain types being used. In the past, it wouldn’t be uncommon to find a whisky made from 50% malt and 50% grain, which is a far higher malt content than we would typically see nowadays.
Older whiskies would have also used different types of yeast to what we use now. As well as this, the distillation techniques and fermentation times have also been changed.
Visit a Whisky Bar
A whole bottle of whisky can be pricey at the best of times, but some old and rare bottles are wildly unaffordable for many. But if your heart is set on trying out one of these whiskies, then a great way around this is to visit a special whisky bar.
Bars that specialise in whisky will have a vast range of bottles available, with some potentially offering a rare or old bottle. Rather than buying a whole bottle, you may be able to pay for a serving of the whisky, allowing you to sample it.
Here you can discover which types you like the taste of and whether it is worth you investing in a full bottle!
There are many great whisky bars around the country, some of which we have explored in our whisky bars in the UK series.
There are lots of people who love whisky, and as such, there are many shows and conventions which celebrate this beloved beverage. Like with whisky bars, you may be able to sample some older whiskies.
Whisky conventions will often be cheaper than enjoying whisky by the glass in a bar, but it will depend on what they have on offer.
Form a Whisky Club
What better way to enjoy whisky than with friends?! Whether you join a pre-existing whisky club in your local area or form your own with friends, a group of whisky lovers can help split the cost of more expensive bottles, while allowing you all a taste.
Sharing the experience with like-minded whisky lovers is sure to enhance your enjoyment of the whisky, and you may be introduced to whiskies you hadn’t considered trying before.
Check Out Online Auctions
Old and rare bottles of whisky regularly hit the online auctions and whisky sale sites. You’ll have to be savvy with your searching, but there are certainly some great deals available out there.
Here at Havana House, we offer a range of rare whisky online that is updated as and when we get our hands on special bottles! Check here and other online retailers or auctions for unique whiskies to try.
Do you have any tips for trying old or rare whisky? If so, leave a comment below with your suggestion!