Last night Business Insider got to taste three Scotch whiskys technically old enough to vote in these United States of America — the Glenlivet 18, Glenlivet 21, and Glenlivet 25.
It was a privilege, mostly because these whiskies are absolutely delicious, but also because they’re super-expensive. It all depends on where you live, but a bottle of the 18 can cost you a bit less than $US100, the 21 a little more than $US150, and the 25 over $US350.
And it isn’t just because they’re old, though age makes the whiskys taste better. The wood from the barrels a Scotch (or any whisky) is aged in tends to break down the rougher flavours in the alcohol, leaving you with a smoother taste.
The longer the alcohol is in there, the smoother it gets. And yes, that is lovely.
But that’s not the main reason older Scotch is more expensive. Glenlivet brand ambassador Craig Bridger explained that by the time the 21 year has aged, 30% to 40% of what was in barrels is gone. This is because of “Angel’s Share” — the natural evaporation of the liquid into the atmosphere over time.
In other words, old Scotch whisky is expensive not because it’s old, but because it’s rare. A lot of what a distillery starts with makes it into a bottle.
Stupid, greedy angels.