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"Don't get hung up on numbers," Dave Broom, author of "The Complete Bartender's Guide," told Tales of the Cocktail attendees Saturday at "The Blind Truth About Aging Whisky" seminar, sponsored by Diageo. "Age just tells you how long it's been in a cask, not how good it is."

The Tales seminar focused on Scotch whisky, but experts say that tenet also extends to other whiskeys produced around the world. It's an increasingly important message for shoppers browsing liquor store shelves these days, with spirit distillers releasing both un-aged whiskeys and super-aged rarities—and many more that don't have an age noted.