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Colors and Flavors

Drinkers in Asian market tend to prefer whisky with rich color and full body. This is also the case in Taiwan, where Sherry butt are profoundly popular. People are fond of deep amber color, as if they are able to smell it by just looking at its appearance.

 

However, a whisky with deep color is not necessarily great. The color comes from several elements, including the impact from the oak barrels, the ageing period, the level of charring of the barrel, and the content it beforehand. Most of the time a deep color doesn’t mean anything good but a risk of over-oaked, which may otherwise lead to overwhelming oak flavors in the whisky.

 

Look for these wording on the label of a whisky: first fill Oloroso Sherry Butt, first fill Bourbon Barrel, Virgin Oak, etc. These are the hints which indicate a shorter ageing period. Prolong maturation in these types of oak may destroy the balance of a whisky and even lead to a bitter flavor. Conversely a light-colored whisky is rather likely run short of oak, which might lead to sort of “new make spirit” flavor in the whisky. After all, the color of a whisky only offers limited information about the quality of the whisky. 

 

For whisky connoisseur, the color of a whisky will not be the crucial factor to determine their choice. It is a self-limitation against exploration to judge a whisky merely by its color.

Of course, some people prefer whisky with deep color, and others may look for light-colored one. There is no right and wrong but only personal preferences. However if we only focus on whisky with heavy flavors, it may spoil our palate in time, resisting it from tasting those elegant and delicate whisky. This may not be a good thing.

The world of whisky is boundless and constantly evolving. You need to explore it yourself and figure out the characters of each bottle of whisky, rather than judging by its appearance or even by rumors. Even if a bottle of whisky has a bad reputation, it is only a reflection of the people’s preference. It is still possible a notorious whisky being your favorite.

色澤與風味

 

在亞洲市場的威士忌愛好者總是比較喜歡挑選酒色較為濃郁飽滿的威士忌來購買,尤其像是臺灣的雪莉桶威士忌愛好者,非常喜愛雪莉桶威士忌那動人的深琥珀色,讓人在未喝之前光看酒色彷彿就已能聞到酒香。

 

但威士忌的酒色深淺並非代表一瓶酒是否美味,畢竟酒色的深淺影響來自於橡木桶以及威士忌熟陳的時間長短外,包含橡木桶之前裝過什麼樣的酒或是橡木桶的烤桶程度也會有所影響,而很多時候威士忌的酒色並非越深越好,有時候酒色太深反而有非常大的可能性是吃桶過重的指標之一,更嚴重者可能讓橡木桶的風味主導了一切,把一些酒廠的風味特色掩蓋消失。

 

尤其看到酒標上的桶型標示,像是 First Fill Oloroso Sherry Butt 又或是 First Fill Bourbon Barrel 以及 Virgin Oak 等,其實也都不太適合於長期的熟陳,一旦熟陳的時間拿捏不當時,就很容易導致吃桶過重,甚至讓人喝起來會有明顯的苦澀感,當然也不是說顏色比較淺的威士忌就可能會比較好,因為如果顏色太淺的話,也非常有可能會吃桶不足,甚至在品飲時會有 New Make Spirit 的風味浮現,所以威士忌的酒色深淺還是會透露或暗示些許的資訊這是不可否認的,但這也只是對於一瓶酒非常粗淺的預判與揣測,並不是所謂的一定。

 

對於心胸寬廣的品飲人或是威士忌品味玩家,大多數的這些愛好者是不太在意威士忌的酒色深淺,因為每一款威士忌都有自己獨特的風味,如果以酒色的深淺來決定是否品飲與購買時,往往會因此而錯失許多的佳釀,同時也是限制了自己對於威士忌的探索。

 

當然,有些人就是喜歡酒色很深的威士忌,有些人則是比較喜歡酒色淡如水的威士忌,這都沒有所謂的對與錯,只是每一個人的喜好不同而已,但如果一直只選擇喝重口味的威士忌來喝,我們的個人喜好與嘴巴就容易只接受重口味的威士忌,而一些較為清新淡雅的威士忌可能就會飲無味,這或許就不是一件好事。

 

威士忌的世界非常寬廣,色澤與風味也是千變萬化,需要的是你慢慢去了解與認識,去感受這一瓶酒的個性與特色是什麼,而不是用眼睛看或是耳朵聽去認識一瓶威士忌,就算一瓶威士忌評價再不好,那也只是風味不受評論者喜愛,也許當你喝到時,有可能你是喜歡的。