1. (n.) A quantifiable amount of time between a product’s creation and either its on-sale date or consumption. For spirits, age is generally calculated by the amount of time the product spends in barrels or tanks (e.g. a 21-year-old bourbon will have been stored in barrels for at least 21 years before it reaches the market). For wine, age is counted from the year the grapes were harvested, so a wine made from grapes picked in 2007 will bear the vintage date of 2007 and the bottle will be said to have 5 years of age in the year 2012.
Many wines and spirits have legal definitions for how long the liquor in question must age for before sale. For spirits and wine meant to have some age, the process is thought to mellow the flavors and add complexity. Though commonly used as a positive trait in marketing wine and spirits, age does not always correlate with quality, and many types of alcohol are meant to be consumed soon after production, such as most of the clear or white spirits.
2. (v.) The process of storing an alcohol before consumption either before or after bottling.