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Issue 105 - The Stepford Flavour

Whisky Magazine Issue 105
July 2012


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The Stepford Flavour

DaveBroom discusses the use of first fill American oak casks

One of the signs of advancing years in a person is the increasing frequency of their stated belief that something, everything, was better when they were young.

The world, according to the middle aged, is in terminal moral decline. What is interesting about this phenomenon is that it appears to happen with every generation, which either means that the world is indeed fixed into a permanent downward spiral, or perhaps, just perhaps, things really ain't quite as bad as they seem.

This declinist view of history is hardly a new phenomenon. If you pause to think about it, the first record of the “things just ain't as good as they used to be” moan can be traced back to any number of creation myths, from the Hopi to the Judaeo-Christian tradition, all of which start with a perfect world which man then somehow manages to screw up.

As with life and philosophy, so with whisky, where the argument that better whisky was made in the old days is one which increasingly holds sway. Like the existence of g/God, this is an impossible question to prove or disprove. Yes, I've had some phenomenal old bottlings from the 60s and 70s, but also some pretty poor ones.

There's little doubt that things in the whisky world are different now than they were, but whether you can then extrapolate from this that changes have brought about a clear decline in quality is quite a different thing. The old ways weren't necessarily better; they were often simply just different.

Look at what has changed (and ...

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