The tenet that the older the whisky the better it is, is simply untrue. Over time the subtleties of a whisky can be battered into submission by the oak cask, making the booze bitter and unpleasant. There are few whiskies that taste good after thirty years, though occasionally one will live up to all that's promised of it.
One distillery where this happens regularly is the independently owned Glenfarclas, whose whiskies are rich in color from the wood and sherry, and taste fruity and complex. A bottle of the new Glenfarclas 50 Year Old will put you on the wrong side of $4,000, but it is a stunning drink. Everything about it brings to mind stately Scottish homes, with a hint of wood fire and the smell of freshly polished tables—opulent, warm and embracing. If you're fortunate enough to taste it (less than ten bottles will go to the States), savor one sip and see how long it stays with you.
If you go: The Glenfarclas Distillery (glenfarclas.co.uk) is located in Speyside, Scotland, and offers tours MondayFriday, 10 a.m.4 p.m. The Craigellachie Hotel of Speyside (craigellachie.com) is a traditional hotel that serves as the local whisky headquarters. It is within a forty-five-minute drive of Boat of Garten, Grantown-on-Spey and Nairn golf courses, among others.