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  1. #1
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    If the aging process were reversed?

    Imagine if bourbon started out over aged and that through some time consuming process (in one year we could un-age the bourbon by one year) the bourbon could be made younger.

    My predications:

    People would pay 100+ dollars for younger whiskey, sold at barrel proof, unfiltered, etc. This would actually taste decent, and everyone would rave about how great it was.

    Middle aged bourbons would continue to be somewhat underappreciated.

    Old bourbon would be greatly underappreciated; You would not be able to find 20 to 15 year old whiskey above 80 proof. As a result, quality would actually decline, and those new to bourbon would simply think that bourbons in this age group lacked the potential for greatness.

    Vattings would follow the recipe of a little young whiskey added to a lot of older whiskey.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: If the aging process were reversed?

    A provocative thesis. You may well be right.

    However, it is interesting to consider that many products considered great are consumed as is, without further treatment of any kind.

    Take caviar, for example. Why isn't it mixed with other things and cooked for hours? Because that would make it not caviar.

    Thus, if bourbon existed already "ready", one might prize it for the great drink it is. Vodka is perhaps a good example: it is ready right away but no one considers it lesser on that account; au contraire judging by some of the prices this ready-to-go product can fetch!

    Gary

  3. #3
    Irreverent One
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    Re: If the aging process were reversed?

    Quote Originally Posted by fog View Post
    What do you think?
    I think it must be great to be 22 years old, to be able to drink bourbon on a weekday morning (no job I guess), and to spend your time speculating about such things.

    No, really, I mean it. I wish it was me.
    Scott

    "Remember that your sense of humor is inversely proportional to your level of intolerance."
    - Serge Storms

  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: If the aging process were reversed?

    I read the question as asking, is taste arbitrary or driven by essentially non-relevant factors? Do we value well-aged bourbon and disdain young 80 proof bourbon because the former is more expensive to produce? The question has been addressed here before (in certain aspects) but was put in a colorful way.

    I think aging does improve bourbon and a properly aged bourbon is a valuable product. Even if bourbon could magically appear already fully aged, it would be valued I think, just like caviar is, or fine vodka, etc.

    However, I think too this kind of inquiry reminds us not to take the aging of whisky over-seriously. 28 year old bourbon probably isn't as good as 10 year old bourbon. As for 12-23 year old bourbon, well it depends. But to see (as I have for years) very old malt whiskies sold and command often stratospheric prices, well I demur at that point. Having tasted some of those products, I find most of them (say, a 30 year old malt) not to my taste. A well-blended scotch at that age is different in part because of the grain whiskies, but we should not in other words be intimidated by a very old bourbon or rye or the price tag attached.

    Gary

  5. #5
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    Re: If the aging process were reversed?

    Quote Originally Posted by CorvallisCracker View Post
    I think it must be great to be 22 years old, to be able to drink bourbon on a weekday morning (no job I guess), and to spend your time speculating about such things.

    No, really, I mean it. I wish it was me.
    I am not complaining.

    I have had a lot of free time for the past two years, but that will come to an end in August.

    I am a big proponent of waking up early and going to sleep at a reasonable time. If I were working a 9 to 5, I would wake up at 5 AM and start the day with a cup of tea and some chocolate. At 6 AM, fully awake, if I felt like it, I would enjoy a modest pour of bourbon while preparing a nice breakfast; my liver would be through the alcohol by 7, giving me plenty of time to do whatever and drive safely to work.

    People like to rush around, even when they have no where to go. I have learned to relax.

    Although, this brings up another issue, which is that one cannot relax without prior exertion. A balance is needed.

    My suggestion is that one should enjoy the start of each day - that time before any stress enters one's head.

    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."

    That quote was on to something, which is that it is natural to enjoy the mornings. Yet, I suggest that one should embrace this natural rythm. Think a little alcohol buzz feels good after a stressful day? It cannot compare to the feeling of a little alcohol buzz combined with the stress free mind with which one naturally awakes.

    Start out slowly and gradually build up to the day's challenges. When difficulty arrises, embrace it. Be energized by your challenges, for ultimately overcoming challenges is what life is about. Work hard, and by the evening you will be tired. This is not the time to "unwind" so that you can enjoy your time off. You are tired - enjoy a nice meal and then go to sleep.

    People work until they are exhausted, and then they feel obligated to enjoy their brief time off with activities which in reality only add to the stress in their lives. They end up miserable all of the time, as in the evening they are too tired and stressed to truly enjoy themselves, while in the morning they rush things and are distressed by their groggy state.

  6. #6
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    Re: If the aging process were reversed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    I think aging does improve bourbon and a properly aged bourbon is a valuable product. Even if bourbon could magically appear already fully aged, it would be valued I think, just like caviar is, or fine vodka, etc.

    However, I think too this kind of inquiry reminds us not to take the aging of whisky over-seriously. 28 year old bourbon probably isn't as good as 10 year old bourbon. As for 12-23 year old bourbon, well it depends. But to see (as I have for years) very old malt whiskies sold and command often stratospheric prices, well I demur at that point. Having tasted some of those products, I find most of them (say, a 30 year old malt) not to my taste. A well-blended scotch at that age is different in part because of the grain whiskies, but we should not in other words be intimidated by a very old bourbon or rye or the price tag attached.

    Gary
    I agree that if bourbon started out perfect, then we would be pleased with it.

    Yet, since aging, to an extent, improves whiskey, we grow overly fond of aging. If we began with over-aged bourbon, we would grow similarly fond of youth.

    I would like to see 107 proof Jim Beam White on the shelves. Perhaps this would not be as good as Knob Creek, but it would be better than 80 proof Jim Beam White and at a fair price equally worthy of purchase.

 

 

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