Andyman3 wrote:Will a relatively new member of the whisky community notice a difference between something like a Glenlivet 12 vs. Glenlivet 18... ?
The key factors to look out for when it comes to cross-comparing differently aged expressions of a particular distillery's output are:
1. Does the distillery's product reach its optimum degree of maturity relatively early on or later? Let's face it: Some whiskies really shine at an earlier stage, while others may take some time in cask to show at their best.
2. How does a distillery manage its various expressions in terms of cask management? To take Glenlivet as an example, the 12-year old showcases a more delicate flavour spectrum born of the significant utilization of refill casks, while the feistier
16-year old Nàdurra cask-strength is all first-fill ex-Bourbon cask matured and the 18-year old draws on a higher proportion of spirits aged in ex-Sherry oak. Each one is quite different from the others.
3. The 'law' of diminishing returns. Beyond a certain price point, a distillery's older products will offer 'less bang for the buck' relative to younger versions. Rarity, increased production/storage costs and, yes, marketing are key factors here.