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Changes in the Malts

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Changes in the Malts

Postby Gerald R. Ford » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:12 pm

Gentlemen, I used to post here in 2004-2005, which coincided with my first big foray into whisky. I was able during that period to get a good idea of what I liked, but sort of turned away from further exploration for various reasons.

So now after a 5-6 year hiatus, I have gone back and tried some of my favorites from that great Era of Discovery and was astonished at what I saw were changes in the flavors I remember from my initial encounters. Have the malts changed, or have I? Ordinarily, I would say it is my own "fault"--I am either misremembering flavor profiles or my palate is off, but in reading Jim Murray's Whisky Bible, I see that he often notes how the flavor profiles of various whiskies change from year to year.

The point of all of this is to spark discussion of the idea of change within the whiskies and for us all to note some particular changes we have seen over the years.

This biggest change I note is Bunnahabhain 12. I used to really like this one--it had this wonderful and subtle seaside flavor. It was different than the other Islays, and a lot of fun.

My recent bottle of this has absolutely none of the subtlety I remember. It tastes just horribly "wooded-up". It's all sherry. What a damned shame.

Bruichladdich seems to have changed a bit from what I remember. I recall it being kind of light and peachy, with a dash of salty seaspray. Perhaps the B'laddie I am now drinking was produced after the distillery reopened and that accounts for the difference. I find it to be very good, but just not quite the same.

Springbank. I don't have as much experience with this malt as some of the others, but I feel as if their 10 yo is a bit smokier than I recall.

Glenmorangie and Clynelish. These are as beautiful as I remember.

The saddest change I've seen in the past 6 years is most certainly that of price. Exploring all of these malts was a lot more fun when they were cheaper!

Have you had similar experiences with any of the whiskies above? And tell me about changes you've seen in your other whiskies.
Gerald R. Ford
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Re: Changes in the Malts

Postby Ganga » Fri Sep 23, 2011 3:38 pm

I would say that it is some of both. However, I can tell you that some of the changes were intentional by the distilleries. Bunnahabhain, Ledaig and Deanston have all gone from being chill-filtered and 40-43% to unchill-filtered and 46.3%. Dalmore changed the ratio of bourbon/sherry barrels.

I did notice a change in the profile for Macallan in the 12 and 18 starting in the mid 90s to date. I believe this may have to do with the cask selection available to the distillery at the time.
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Re: Changes in the Malts

Postby corbuso » Mon Sep 26, 2011 2:14 pm

with time, our olfactory system changes, as well as probably your experience in whisky tasting. On the other hand, there has been changes in the production itself, with changes in the ration bourbon/sherry casks with some producers, as well as a politic of some distillers to mature whiskies only in first fill casks. As mentioned by Ganga, changes in the bottling strength, age, recipe, filtrations, peatiness and so forth have resulted in some cases of the changes of the product.
Concerning the price, the raw ingredients and petrol/gas have almost double since then, and some companies increasing their prices in order to sell their malts as premium.

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Re: Changes in the Malts

Postby dramtastic » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:49 am

Well you don't have to wait 5-6 years to notice changes.

Reviewed a whisky about a month ago without any mention of salt and pepper and certainly didn't notice it any time before that as either. Last dram it was loaded salt and white pepper. Me or the whisky or both?
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Re: Changes in the Malts

Postby Ganga » Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:22 pm

dramtastic wrote:Well you don't have to wait 5-6 years to notice changes.

Reviewed a whisky about a month ago without any mention of salt and pepper and certainly didn't notice it any time before that as either. Last dram it was loaded salt and white pepper. Me or the whisky or both?

Well, we know you were loaded.... :D
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