A trend and a prediction…

Everybody who has been watching the trends in the whisky industry over the last couple of years knows that there is an undeniable shift towards super premium whiskies. High ages, vintages from our parents’ birthyear and so on.

On the other, far more affordable, end of the spectrum there is a shift towards whiskies with no age stated on the bottle. In some cases I am kind of worried about this trend because it is initiated partially by the desire to charge more for whiskies with their age stated, and the fact that very young whiskies can be used while before people would shun or at least frown upon a 5 year old whisky.

Auchentoshan Valinch at Master of Malt

Auchentoshan Valinch at Master of Malt

A while ago even Macallan announced their next strange decision (after no longer using just sherry casks, ditching Golden Promise barley and promoting ice) to remove the younger versions of the Fine Oak range with some weirdly named series of colours. The darker the whisky, the higher the perceived quality. Strange, in a world where caramel colouring is still happening more often than not.

I do find, however, that in the case of quite some distilleries, the release of non-age-stated bottles is far from a bad thing. These can be, and are used as, additions to the available selection of bottles.

For example the Auchentoshan Valinch, GlenDronach Cask Strength, Longrow CV, That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s stuff and such are all very good drams. In the high proof version of the mentioned bottles I know I love the Valinch, and I’ve heard many a good thing about the GlenDronach.

What I’m trying to say is that the amount of attention the NAS whiskies get, the quality has been steadily rising for many distilleries and/or bottlers. Of course, there will always be spirits that are incredibly young (Caol Ila Moch comes to mind) and should have matured a bit more, but in general the extra attention is paying off.

I think, and everyone with me, that this trend will continue over the coming years. Let’s just hope the NAS versions of cool distilleries will stay as affordable as they are now!

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm a web developer at Emakina. I'm highly interested in booze, with a focus on whisk(e)y. I like to listen to loads of music and read quite some books. I'm married to Anneke, have a daughter Ot, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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3 Responses to A trend and a prediction…

  1. I think the most important thing is that not stating the age on a bottle makes it harder for the customer to know what whiskey they are drinking and picking accordingly. How do I know I get a decently matured whiskey for my hard earned cash? Could it be these guys are shooting themselves in the foot and their will be an increase in sales of whiskey with age statements and clear labeling?

    • I thought so at first too. The point is that whisky has gotten so popular that there is not all that much to go around. Lots of smaller distillers don’t really have a choice.

      Oh, and age doesn’t mean crap anymore. The cask it was in is of more importance so the only reason to know what you’re getting is to taste it first. Or read reviews of people who have similar taste to yours.

  2. gjr71 says:

    For me the most important thing is what is in the bottle and not what is on the label. I liked the Valinch and the A’Bunadh for exemple. Although it is fairly easy to find the starter of the line to be i.e a 10 year old. When I started I’ve never figured out what was the starter of the line by Bruichladdich, but that didn’t stop me for trying. In this trend though I’m happy that it is reasonable easy to find samples to try first before you buy…

    I’m not sure about Macallan colours range, colour is easily and widely altered…. If darker means “better” in there opinion, why did they ever stop using sherry casks then ? I fear they will happily colour the whisky, but is it better then ? Well we will see!

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