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Thread: No Age Statement for Scotch Whisky. How will this change Scotch?

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    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    Default No Age Statement for Scotch Whisky. How will this change Scotch?

    From my understanding a fairly new development in Scotch whisky production and sales, No Age Statement, means the following:

    • An age statement has meant that a distillery is required to market a bottling based on the youngest whisky in a bottle. Therefore a bottling that may contain 95% 20 year single malt and 5% 10 year would have to be marketed as 10 year old scotch.
    • The advantage to a distillery in marketing scotch with no age statement is apparently having a bottling judged and sought after based on its consumption merits rather than its age.
    • If there is a solid departure and change over time away from age statements, I wonder if in the future the scotch product could evolve into younger and younger bottlings and over time?



    What advantages and disadvantages as a consumer do you see in this trend?

    I would guess if the trend continues that age stated bottles will become very valuable in the future. I assume that's why distilleries seem to be trending toward no age statements. Given their meticulous tracking and record keeping, they can continue to bottle based on age, but I assume having two different categories (age bottled and non-age bottled) they will be able to charge a premium for their older stock which is worth more and move more of their younger stock sooner rather than have to age the younger longer before bringing it to market.

    ChrisL
    Last edited by ChrisL; 07-24-2015 at 03:56 PM.

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    Senior Member cahnwulf's Avatar
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    I think that the aged bottles will skyrocket in price as the demand for them goes up. Then again, if you've got a good blend with some smokey after tones as I prefer... it makes little difference. Just my two cents.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth OCDshaver's Avatar
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    This is one of those things where the producer is trying to manage the difficult aspect of balancing demand against his production schedule. Unlike other consumer products that are made and sold very quickly, these guys have to estimate demand 20 years ahead. I'm sure many of them would prefer brand loyalty rather than a consumer based that is focused on age. If they can get you hooked on a brand, then slowly adjust the blend toward younger and younger whiskey, they can eliminate the costly storage of barrels for an extended period of time. You see it already with bourbon. There are more bottles than not that either don't tell you how old it is or bury that detail on a bottle tag or in the advertising verbiage on the back of the bottle. There's a reason why the age is important. I suspect at first the blends will be good. But over time they will suffer.

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    There may be a tendency to bottling younger whiskies, but if people actually taste the stuff and buy whats good, the distilleries will have to still make top notch whisky.
    Laphroaig Quarter Cask is a NOS (No Age Statement) but is in my opinion better than Laphroaig 10 years old.

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    Incidere in dimidium Cangooner's Avatar
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    I've only bought three no age statement whiskys, and have lucked out three times: Abunadh, Jura Superstition, and Laphroaig Quarter Cask. All are excellent, IMHO. But I'd have to say from what I've heard I might have lucked out. My favourite whisky reviewer - Ralfy - had some interesting things to say about the no age statement trend in his end of year review last year. As ever, he has a bit of a ramble on his way to the subject, but he gets there around 10:30 if you want to skip ahead.

    It was in original condition, faded red, well-worn, but nice.
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    Senior Member blabbermouth ChrisL's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OCDshaver View Post
    I suspect at first the blends will be good. But over time they will suffer.
    I have read this exact same prediction in some articles from people who are much more knowledgeable than I am on the subject.

    ChrisL

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    I also think they may suffer over time. But maybe some distilleries may start putting the ages of the different malts on the label and raise their prices of course. Would also love to see the percentage of grain alcohol on the labels of less premium blends.
    "Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."-Thomas Jefferson (Notes on Virginia, 1782)

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    Senior Member blabbermouth OCDshaver's Avatar
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    Take a look at Pappy VanWinkel and Buffalo Trace. BT was the workhorse blend of that distillery. Its still good but not quite what it was a few years ago. I suspect that the better barrels are now being directed toward PVW......a bottle you can't even get your hands on any longer. Its gobbled up by waiting lists and restaurants. So you really can't simply buy the better blend and meanwhile the price of BT hasn't fallen. When it comes to Abunadh, its a "non-vintage" blend in a sea of whiskey's that are all labeled 10, 12, whatever. If you don't like it, you move on. But when they are all "non-vintage" you can pick between them all and take what you like best. But if you had the chance you might simply be gravitating toward the 12 year bottles.....that are probably all headed to China now.

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    Senior Member blabbermouth OCDshaver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisL View Post
    I have read this exact same prediction in some articles from people who are much more knowledgeable than I am on the subject.

    ChrisL

    Its the same practice as when they reformulate your favorite shaving soap. Reformulation B is similar to the original, A. C is similar to B. But when you compare D to A, well now we have a gap in quality.

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