Drinkers sometime confuse price with quality when it comes to whiskey. With bottles of 40 year old whiskey selling for thousands of euros, it seems as if the older a whiskey is the better it becomes. This is definitely not the case. As with most organic products, whiskey has its own sweet spot, the age at which it cannot be bettered. Even among those rare distilleries who regularly distill much older whiskeys, it is only the very rare cask that can tolerate so many years in wood.
For some distilleries, the sweet spot of their spirit is very young; for others, it is much older. But a noted curiosity of Irish whiskey is just how many of our brands have a peak at the age of 12 years old. Perhaps it is our unique climate, or something about our triple distillation methods, or a combination of factors, but it is well known among aficionados that a 12 year old Irish whiskey is something worth seeking out, and can even be preferable in many cases to older whiskeys from the same distilleries.
This month, the Irish Whiskey Society is examining this ;phenomenon to find out if the received wisdom is true. Under the eye of our expert Zoltan Vari, we'll be examining 12 year old Irish whiskeys of different styles and from different distilleries in the hope of discovering the secret to the 12 year sweet spot. This tasting is an excellent opportunity to compare different whiskeys at the same age, and learn to identify their unique styles at the exact same stage of maturity. We'll be tasting Irish whiskeys that absolutely excel at this age, and you'll be sure to uncover a new favourite dram at a fraction of the cost of those woody old decanters filled with decades-old spirit selling for thousands of euro.
And expect some surprises too, as the society may have some special gems to unveil on the night.
1. Jameson 12 year old
2. Yellow Spot 12 year old
3. Tullamore Dew 12 year old Sherry Finish
4. Cooley 12 year old single malt
5. Powers 12 year old
6. Bushmills 12 year old Distillery Reserve
7. Connemara 12 year old