Part of a series of blog posts, where the three Bevvy whisky specialists face the most common questions posed by those who are new to whisky. All answered independently, just how similar will their responses be?


Laurie: Depends what you mean by ‘older’ and ‘better’! Whiskies that have spent decades in oak casks will generally be more woody and mellow, but less vibrant and lively. Bottlings from the 1970s (or earlier) are really interesting to try, as in those days there was less emphasis on consistency and profitability/efficiency of production, so the whisky can be a bit more quirky - which isn’t always a good thing…

Kieran: Not necessarily. For every distillery where I prefer their whiskies as they age, there’s probably an equal number of distilleries where I prefer their younger or non-age statement releases. Age is just a number and all that.

Lewis: The simple answer: No. Older does, by the nature of maturation and basic economics, mean more expensive. There are also characteristics and qualities derived from extensive time in oak casks that (as yet) cannot be created through other means so if you only enjoy those characteristics in whisky then you should be looking for well-aged spirit. For me, I have had 3 year old whisky that I’ve thought was outstanding and 40 year olds that was a bit overly woody and dull so I’d encourage anyone to taste broadly and assess the whisky in the glass not the age on the bottle.


Laurie: I get frustrated with the myth that ‘all whisky goes up in value’, and I also get frustrated at self-proclaimed whisky investors who have made money selling average whisky at over-inflated prices to idiots. In short, whisky can prove to be a good investment over time, but often there is no rhyme or reason to it.

Kieran: It can be. It isn’t for me because I am far too curious to leave bottles lying around unopened…

Lewis: In the grand scheme of things probably yes. If I’d spent my life savings buying every Macallan Folio 1 I could at auction when they first came out and sold them today, I’d be a far wealthier person. Alas hindsight is 20/20 and like any form of investing there is an element of risk.


Laurie: Nope. The majority of blends are targeted at the mass market, so are deliberately quite neutral/boring in character. Some premium blends can be spectacular however - I guzzled a bottle of Hibiki 17 Year Old (back when it was £60 a bottle) and it remains one of my favourite ever drams.

Kieran: Absolutely not. There’s plenty cheap whisky out there, and there’s some crap whisky out there too, and sometimes a blend can fall into both categories. But the idea that all blends are rotten and best avoided is utter nonsense.

Lewis: Some blends definitely are a bit rubbish, but even those are normally fine in a mixed drink or cocktail - which is exactly what they were intended for. But there are a lot of really superb blends out there, from old bottles filled in ‘the golden age of blending’ to new boutique blends and even some pretty good quality mass market stuff. As a general rule, however, blending whisky tends to be about creating an easy going approachable whisky, so blends tend not to be where I look if I want a challenging thought provoking dram that I can spend some time getting to grips with.


Laurie: With over 100 single malt distilleries in Scotland alone, the regions system can be a nice way to simplify the whole thing down into manageable chunks. However, over time it becomes apparent that the impact of a distillery’s location is fairly minimal when compared to the way a whisky is distilled and matured.

Kieran: You can. I feel thinking of whisky in terms of regions can be helpful, especially if you’re new to whisky. But there’s often as many exceptions to the typical flavours associated with a region as there are examples that fit that idea. And you’ll be missing out on so much good whisky if you stick to just one region!

Lewis: No. Regionality is a thing that needs to die! It's an a posteriori observation of some realities that were “broadly” true at some point in the past. There are probably some ineffable characteristics derived from the ‘place’ the whisky is made but there is much more to do with HOW it is made.