I just picked up some 18-yr balsamic at the Olive Mill in Geneva, $15. It replaces a bottle I bought at Curt's Spice House & Oilerie in Fish Creek. They both have the same distributor (stainless steel dispensers, oils/vinegars bottled on premisis). Gotta say, I really enjoy this stuff. Very syrupy, sweet and almost no "vinegar" taste. And the bottle's big.
Here's the thing, I know that "real" 18-yr balsamic would cost an arm and a leg, especially at this quantity, so I'm presuming something else is going on to make this stuff. I definitely like it, and it's great not to worry about how much I'm using it. But does anyone have any insights on just how a lower-cost 18-yr balsamic is made and what differences I'd expect to see if I shelled out the really big bucks (which I'm not likely to do soon...) and how much I'd have to spend to actually notice a difference!
By the way, one of my fondest experiences with balsamic was having a small beet salad at Tru that had four small "dots" of 25-yr balsamic on the plate. It looked like chocolate syrup and held a peak when you touched it with a fork. Oh, it tasted great, too.
Here's the Olive Mill product: