Well-Aged Whiskeys We Love (That You Can Still Afford)

07.09.19 1 week ago

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As long as the whiskey you’re drinking isn’t a white whiskey (a.k.a “white dog” or “moonshine”), it’ll have been “aged” to some extent. The golden, caramel hues you see in your favorite bottles come from the casks the whiskey is aged in, after all, not the distillation process. But most of the whiskey we buy off the rack is aged for two to four years at the most; today we’re talking about the older stuff.

The thing with whiskey aged beyond that four-year mark is that it has to be dialed in. That means better barrel selection, prime resting environments, and high level of skill from the master distillers. It’s both an art and a science.

Flavor-wise, picking a great long-aged whiskey is tons of fun… with one major caveat. Price. As whiskey spends more time resting in unique barrels, it begins to cost serious money. Space in rickhouses isn’t free; neither are premium barrels. As the years tick past, the expenses go up and those costs get passed on the consumer. Some bottles can end up costing thousands if not tens-of-thousands of dollars after spending decades in the cask.

That’s a price barrier few us can overcome, obviously, but not all aged whiskeys are for the 1%. There are higher-aged whiskeys on the market that manage to hit a little more accessible price point. We’re talking about expertly aged bottles of whiskey that fall in the $100 to $250 range. Sure, that’s still hard on the old bank account, but if you’re buying a special gift or really want to invest in a collection, these are good bottles to start with.

Whatever your reason for dropping cash on whiskey at this level, you always know you’ll be getting something special.

Belle Meade Sherry Finish Bourbon 9-Year

Let’s start off with a very accessible bottle of bourbon from Tennessee. Belle Meade’s bourbon is made under the Nelson’s Green Brier shingle with great care and exacting quality. The bourbon spends nine years aging according to bourbon requirements. Then the liquid is transferred to carefully selected Oloroso sherry casks to finish and add serious depth.

Tasting notes:

This is where the full-bodied, vinous world of sweetened fortified wine meets the spicy warmth of bourbon. There’s a real sense of the vineyard on the nose followed by a velvet caramel leading towards that classic bourbon oaky vanilla. Finally, a mix of dried plums arrives alongside a spice matrix of cloves and allspice that’s tempered by a silky note of molasses sweetness.

Buy a bottle here for $88.99

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