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Vintage Spirits

Calabrese and his vintage magic...
There is an interesting article in the New York Times about vintage spirit [click the link]. And as usual in the Times, the article is quite good researched and accurate.

It is true - that current wisdom says, that spirits don't change in the bottle - but truth is: distillates are changing in the bottle - however much, much slower than wine.

However there was one major mistake: the inclusion of Chartreuse and Crème de Menthe.


Fact is, that distilled beverages are changing so slow [or better said, they are so stable], due to the lack of decomposing material. There is ethanol and water - and very small amounts of other substances - which usually a carrying the aroma. However liqueurs have sugar and cold infused substances [means that the botanicals are infused in the alcohol without subsequent distillation]. There is definitely more matter in these beverages than a bottle of gin or whisky.

But is it worth it, to pay sometimes hundred of thalers for cocktail made out of these beverages?

I believe, that there will be differences in the result - however these differences are subtle. Most spirits were never as good as today -  considering it qualitative a cocktail will objectively be better with modern spirits.

However there is always a fact, that [hidden from all marketing efforts of the spirit industry] neutral grain spirit became chemically much more pure in the last couple of decades. The notion, that 50 years old gin is maltier than modern gin of the same brand, can be easily explained with this fact.

There is also another thing: the converting of starches! I don't really have a proof - but I presume, that until the middle of the last century, grain spirits used barley amylases [out of barley malt] to "sugarize" the starches - I guess nowadays most of the amylases are delivered by the bio-tech industry [that means no more malty hints in beverages which use neutral grain spirit].

Paying hundreds of pounds for a vintage cocktail, which might be not even authentically vintage [usually the different ingredients are not coming from one specific era] is in my eyes quite absurd.

But it seems like a trend. I leave it to you, my dear readers, to make your own opinions - please don't forget to post it...



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