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.
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!