Does Whiskey Get Better With Age? Here’s All You Need To Know

People who like good whisky will want to know why ageing whisky is such an important part of the craft making process. Ageing whisky gives it its unique smells and tastes, and it gets more complex over time. But there's more to it than that. This article talks about why ageing is so important for making great whiskies, from knowing what kind of barrel to use for the process to finding out how location affects flavour maturation. 

Why Ageing 

One of the most important steps in developing whiskey's distinctive flavour and fragrance is the ageing process. Whisky becomes more refined and enjoyable after spending time in oak barrels, where its diverse flavours may emerge. It is thought that the flavour profile of old whisky may be influenced by factors such as the kind of barrel wood used, the amount of time it has been kept for, and its geographical location. The amount of time whisky spends matured is crucial because it allows the liquid to interact with the wood and gradually acquire flavour characteristics. 

While certain categories have distinct requirements, barrel ageing is usually required for most kinds. As an example, the bare minimum for ageing Scotch whisky in oak barrels is three years. Barrels crafted from fresh wood and burned to perfection are required for bourbon. Whiskies that aren't bottled-in-bond or pure bourbon are the only ones that require a certain amount of time to age. Age is the important ingredient in all of these situations that gives the spirit its distinct taste and colour; in the case of whisky, not ageing it results in a clear alcohol known as 'white dog'. 

Aged whisky gets its colour and flavour from the natural process of oxidation, but it also has a calming effect that makes it more drinkable at a certain point. The spirit undergoes a transformation from its harsh, high-alcohol basis into a smoother, more refined drink when air is introduced into the barrels through their pores. Because changes in temperature cause the wood in the barrels to expand and contract, the amount of contact between the whisky and the barrel varies depending on the temperature. 

That being said, when does maturation reach its peak and degradation start? Saying for sure is difficult. The colour and distinctive flavour characteristics, such as caramel and vanilla, of bourbon are imparted by just four years of ageing in barrels made of charred oak. The colour and flavour could be overly subtle if the ageing process is rushed. However, after twelve years, the spirit may start to taste too oaky or bitter, and its amber hue may fade. Even though it's rather unusual, there are some labels that may be worn for far longer without causing any problems. 

Health Benefits Of Aging Whiskey 

Whisky that has been aged has several health benefits in addition to being a tasty beverage. Whisky possesses anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that can benefit those who consume it responsibly as a result of the breakdown of molecules that occur throughout the ageing process. Research has shown that these chemicals have anti-inflammatory and blood-flowing properties and may potentially lower the chance of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. There is some evidence that drinking mature whisky can have positive effects on mental health and cognitive performance. In the end, it's important to drink alcohol moderately; old whisky, in particular, may have many positive effects on health if enjoyed in moderation.