It just so happens then, that we were recently sent a whisky that pretty much widens the debate even more so. A whisky that, whilst being in its infancy, displays all the hallmarks of a much older whisky, with a certain refined wisdom, maturity and panache to boot. How is this possible??
Berry's Own Selection - Ledaig - distilled 2005 - Cask number: 900008 - 62.7%
Colour: We don't usually give much stead to the colour of a whisky, but this is a 5 year old...! In that short time (in a clearly very active sherry butt) it has taken on a wonderful rich gold/copper colour and looks totally glorious.
Nose: Mint humbugs, bonfire toffee, some earthy/soil like peat smoke, oaty Flapjacks and some juicy currants. Oh my. Absolutely wonderful.
Palate: Powerful at first, but then straight into some sweetness, heather honey, crystalised ginger and creamy caramel. It shares lots of similarities with homemade tablet and your mouth gets coated with a rich oiliness. With water, it brings even more waves of refinement, the honey become slightly waxier, the mint humbugs of the nose more chewy and the flapjacks (returned to the palate) even more buttery. With water and reduced in strength, I defy anyone to pick out blind that this is a five year old whisky...
Finish: The peat lingers and the sweetness keeps on giving for a fabulously pleasant experience.
Overall: Doug and Ed over at Berry's can be extremely proud of this bottling. Not only have they entered their well-honed oar into the age Vs quality debate, they've smashed it open. This whisky is rich, thick and pretty revolutionary. With vintage whiskies, one looks for a balance of maturity and freshness. With younger whiskies you're hoping to find a hint of where it may be heading in the future. This one is already light years ahead.