White whiskey: bottled before its time, or the equivalent of an unaged rum or tequila?
Or is it neither?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. When craft distillers first started coming out with white (unaged) whiskeys, my first thought (being a guy who drinks most of his whiskey neat or with a little water) was that they should age the stuff longer. If they need some cash influx to pay some bills, make some gin or vodka!
But it was soon posed to me that whiskey should be treated no differently than rum or tequila. Some rums and tequilas are aged for extended periods in oak barrels and are meant for sipping, but unaged (and lightly aged) stuff also has a purpose as a mixer. True enough, I always use silver (blanco) tequila when I am making margaritas. Anejo tequilas lose their agave vibrancy and get lost more easily in a mixed drink.
It didn’t take me too long to have a change of heart. I feel there’s room in the world for all ages of whiskeys, including white whiskey. And you know what? While they seldom are my first choice when I reach for a sipping whiskey, some of the white whiskeys are certainly enjoyable neat. And that there have been some very interesting cocktails made with white whiskeys.
So, my feeling is this when it comes to distillers (both large and small) putting out white whiskey: go for it!Make it for those wanting to buy it. Just don’t forget to set some of this lovely spirit aside in barrels for aging. I’m willing to wait…
How about you? What are your thoughts on the matter?