No Age Statement Whisky

The Glenlivet Founders ReserveGlenlivet has been causing a few waves among the whisky community of late, by replacing their much loved 12 Year Old with The Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve - a no age statement whisky.

A no age statement whisky, or NAS for short, is simply that; a whisky that does not display an age on any of its packaging. This has caused uproar throughout the whisky community that has left many divided in their opinion towards the direction that many distilleries, not just Glenlivet, appear to be taking with regards to new whisky products.

Traditionally a whisky can be made up from several ages of whisky, Scotch law states that the age displayed must be that of the youngest whisky included in the creation of the product. A NAS whisky can also be constructed from various aged whiskies; however the distillery can choose whether or not to disclose the age of the youngest whisky used – and therein lays the problem.

You see many feel that, by switching to NAS whisky, the distilleries are simply re-branding and re-packaging younger whiskies which then carry the same price tag as the older, aged whiskies.

But let’s look at this economically; as a new business approach designed to produce great whisky, whilst still ensuring that distilleries both large and small can continue to stay afloat during a time when sustaining business is hard – really hard.

First off, from when a distillery makes a new whisky it has to, by law, allow three years minimum for it to mature before it can be used. That’s a long time before the distillery can start to see any return of investment for the expenses made initially. So being able to mix young and old whiskies to create a NAS product is a more financially stable approach. Secondly, NAS whiskies allow distilleries to be more creative with their whisky creation. The ability to mix old and new whiskies allows for more interesting and experimental flavour profiles to be created whilst ensuring high levels of consistency and quality.

So if the whiskies themselves still taste great, in some cases even better than their age revealing counterparts; then why has there been such uproar?

Well there are several possible reasons.

Many of the distilleries branching into the NAS market are now owned by larger companies - the Pernod Ricard’s and Diageo’s of the drink industry – who are often viewed by whisky enthusiasts as the ones ruining the industry, hungry for revenue rather over quality whisky. Others perhaps fear the loss of whiskies that have for a long timed sat pride of place within their collection – such as the Glenlivet 12 Year Old. Finally, there will be those who simply object to change, who will never see past that highly coveted age and will reject anything new – and that for us is the saddest part of this divide in opinions.

We have tasted the Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve and we thought it was a wonderfully refreshing dram that was a worthy replacement for the 12 Year Old. One of our favourite whiskies is the Ardbeg Uigeadail and least we forget the Jura whisky family – all of which are NAS whiskies! 

We understand that not displaying an age can appear to be a sneaky move from distilleries - especially when the price range equals and in some cases exceeds that of an aged whisky but - from what we’ve tasted and from the many awards that the NAS whiskies are receiving - its hard to ignore that fact that some of these whiskies are superb displays of whisky craftsmanship!

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