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Whisky & Culture | 23 Apr 2010 | Issue 87 | By Rob Allanson

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A mature question

Having had a very pleasant cold winter's evening enjoying a friend's warm fire with an excellent glass of very old whisky, I am left with the eternal question: "Does whisky mature in the bottle?"

Samples of older whisky reveal an inspiring mellowness, but it leads to the musing of how did they taste when they started out, to be able to result in one of life's most memorable experiences. Perhaps the atmosphere of directed us to the thoughts of Shackleton's whisky. Well being a retired chemical engineer I cannot help think if you bottle a bunch of organic chemicals with oxygen for 100 years there will be some sort of reaction.

The alcohol will probably remain as pleasant as we know, but what about the fine extracts from the cask. For an engineer they must have changed.

Obviously with this attitude I am against the accepted industry norm but maybe the Shackleton find could shed more light on the matter, or your readership will add their thoughts to the problem, maybe a survey of engineers or tests might help. Whatever the outcome I still hold the view the results of time are excellent.

A. Leonard
Preston UK

The ears say cheers

I enjoyed your 'editors words' about music & whisky matchings. I work in the music business here in Australia so, obviously I'm a big music fan and also a lover of single malts.

I have spent many an hour working hard to match whisky with music. Of course, like anything artistic, music & whisky are a personal taste issue, As we all know beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Either way, I thought you might dig a few of my matchings. I hope yours went well over the silly season. One small point I thought you missed in your column, was that location and timing are a big factor here. We are all too aware of the location and whisky thing but, music is the icing on the cake to that old chestnut.

If you can nail the whisky, the music, the location and the timing just right then, Nirvana awaits. Here are a few thoughts:

Location and timing: Home on a rainy evening. Music: Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska. Whisky: Ardbeg Uigeadail.

Location and timing: Spring or Summer night at a mates house talkin' whisky. Music: Ben Webster's Soulville. Whisky: Highland Park 18yr old.

Location and timing: Home alone late at night. Music: The best of Tony Joe White.Whisky: Bakery Hill Peated Malt Cask Strength.

Gregg Donovan
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