The most important thing to know about the age of scotch is that the longer scotch has been aged, the smoother it is. Therefore, you should select the oldest available scotch of the variety you desire. There are other important things to know about age:

  • The age of a scotch depends entirely on how long it was aged in barrels. Scotch does not continue to age once it has been bottled, so the age of the scotch is the age marked on the bottle, no matter how long it has been stored after it was bottled.

  • Scotch whisky is required by law to be aged for a minimum of three years, but it should be aged much longer.

  • A good rule of thumb is that any really good scotch will have been aged for a minimum of ten years. We're sure there are exceptions, but there seems to be some consensus that after ten years the scotch starts to come into its own. 12, 15, or 21 year old scotches are nice, too, if you can afford them.

  • Not all scotches state how long they have been aged on their bottles, but all the ones which are worth drinking do. Only buy scotch if you know how old it is.

  • The age marked on a bottle of blended scotch is the age of the youngest scotch in the blend, not the average age of the scotches.

  • Be wary of misleading packaging. One blended whisky has a large "12" on its label which refers to the number of whiskies it blends but might seem to indicate its age. The packagers of good whisky take pride in the whisky's age and clearly state that it is "__ years old."

  • Whatever the age, all scotch should be stored in a dark, cool location.

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