The NAS debate #2

Last Monday I wrote a little bit about the NAS debate that’s been going on for about two years. It turned out to be a rather popular post, one of the more popular ones of the last couple of months.

There was some discussion as a result, mostly on Twitter which turned out to be interesting and even had some industry people involved defending some of the NAS releases.

What this, unfortunately, results in most of the time is people referring to one or two good NAS bottlings to prove a point. A point that is much, much larger than those two bottlings. And yes, I can name a lot more good NAS bottlings than I can name bad ones, but my post was not about the merits of NAS bottlings, or the lack thereof.

My point is that I want more info. I want to know what I’m spending my money on and not just accept some marketing blurb about the terroir of the distillery being in the whisky and some romantic jibberjabber. I don’t mind that there are a lot of NAS bottlings out there even if I find a lot of them lacking in quality compared to the price asked. That is also the case with many ‘age stated’ whiskies. I don’t buy them either.

I even bought a NAS whisky pretty recently, at a whopping (to me at least) € 95 (it’s one of my entries for the blind tasting on Saturday, so no disclosure yet). This I bought because it’s good. Even without info, in the end my palate decides. Still I regret there is not much more info on the label. I’d like to know all about this whisky.

What I find strange is that a lot of producers spend quite a bit of their marketing budget on education (potential) customers. To get them to know the brand and their whiskies. Yet, at the same time they do not want to disclose any info on their NAS whiskies.

I realize that putting the age range of the whisky on the back label would effectively nullify the NAS category, since you do put an age on it, but my preference would be that NAS goes towards something like this:

“This batch of Talisker Storm was made using casks that range from 6 to 17 years old”.

Of course, Talisker Storm is an example and I don’t have a clue what’s actually in there. I for one, wouldn’t mind if batch 2 was made from 4 to 22 years old, and batch 3 was made from 8 to 13 years old. I understand the need for consistency in flavour. I applaud distilleries going for that since, apart from all the gimmicky single casks that geeks like me buy, we all have our staple whiskies that we want to be as consistent as possible. Plus, let’s be honest, we’re not a drop in the ocean compared to the regular releases from distilleries.

To cut it short, and use a quote stolen from Oliver Klimek from Twitter yesterday:

The real issue is not age, but price and its justification

About Sjoerd de Haan-Kramer

I'm very interested in booze, with a focus on whisky. I like to listen to loads of music and play lots of Magic: the Gathering, and board games too. I'm married to Anneke, have two daughters Ot and Cato, a son Moos and a cat called Kikker (which means Frog, in Dutch). I live in Krommenie, The Netherlands.
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5 Responses to The NAS debate #2

  1. Rockyajl says:

    Due to SWA’s 2009 regulation (10.1), using your Talisker example, they could only say it was at least 6 years old. The SWA would need to change their laws before the producers would be allowed to give us more information (of course many producers do so verbally, as the law only applies to ‘labelling, packaging and advertising’.)

  2. That would do too 😉 My point was more that I don’t mind shifting age brackets for flavour consistency. But thanks for clearing that up!

  3. There’s a NAS debate? We already settled this in the office a few years ago.

    The only good option is Synology. We tried other offerings (a Lacie and Concept(r)onic), but they all smelled like plastics, mixed with dirt and gravel. Not pleasant at all, so we didn’t even taste them. Not with ice and not with Coke.

    So we all bought Synology. They looked great. Not made from glass, but still nice. We haven’t opened one yet because they are just so nice to look at. We did get a sense of the smell though. A bit tough on the nose, but more wood like (could be because of the environment), still some plastics but much nicer and even some metal like flavours.

    Anyway, in our opinion there is no NAS debate. Synology is the way to go.

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