Writing Prompts: Better with Age

What gets better with age? There are two obvious answers:

sliced cheese on brown table top
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two clear wine glasses
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Naturally, your mileage will vary. The more mature cheese gets, the more intense the flavour, and that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Personally, I like a bit of intensity in the flavour of cheddar (I should note that I have no idea how well other cheeses age), but my daughter prefers a milder cheese.

Wine is classically referenced as being better when aged, but there does come a tipping point where it starts to expire. A fine wine, properly stored, can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years beyond its expiration date, and it would arguably evolve into a better flavour, but if I drink wine at all, it’s stuff from my local supermarket for around five quid. I doubt that’s been aged for 10 years.

With some beverages (such as a delightful Scotch whisky), the aging process is actually pretty crucial to its development. Whisky has to be aged in a barrel, again for around ten years (if not longer), but once bottled, it remains pretty much the same. A bottle of whisky, left unopened, would not decay, so to speak, so you could open it up after 50 years, and safely drink it. However, that extra 50 years in the bottle would have no impact – good or bad – on the quality. The taste of whisky is as much as a product of the time in the barrel as anything else.

I wish I’d matured like a fine wine, but I suspect I’m more like a bowl of strawberries that’s been left out in the sun for too long!

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