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NAS Whisky Discussion

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@antihero
antihero started a discussion

Hey, all.

Went out on a bit of a limb with this one. I usually reserve most of my personal whisky politics for offline discussions, but this one was a topic worthy of taking to the masses.

www.allthingswhisky.com

If you have a few minutes, I ask you to please have a read and share a comment or two beneath the post.

Cheers.

Curt

9 years ago

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Replies: page 1/4

@YakLord
YakLord replied

Just tried to leave a long comment on ATW and it disappeared as I hit submit...will try again later...

9 years ago 0

@YakLord
YakLord replied

Second try...disappeared into the ether...so, here is my response in a different forum.

Like you, I agree that there are a lot of good NAS whiskies out there: a'bunadh, Macallan Cask Strength, Quarter Cask, Brenne, Amrut, pretty much anything Compass Box does, etc., etc., but, like you, I'm disturbed by the "NAS is better" and "age statements don't matter" narrative that the industry is trying to spin.

Having spent so long building up the "age is important" narrative, I'd rather they just be honest and admit that the push to NAS (and colour!?!) has more to do with lack of aging stock than it does with "younger whiskies being better". That being said, younger whiskies can be good, and as long as the quality is there, I'm willing to drink it, just don't ask us to pay more for it, because the price for older whiskies was justified by the length of time things spent in the cask and the associated losses due to the Angel's Share.

As for the Ardbeg Rollercoaster, I believe Arran did something similar for The Devil's Punchbowl...if the industry would be willing to be more transparent about the kinds of casks that went into a NAS whisky, then I'd be happier, and that would help justify the price, as opposed to "It's good, trust us, and pay us more than you normally would."

I ranted about this on my own blog when I say the price of Talisker 57'N when it hit the LCBO...it was insanely expensive given that it was NAS, and especially given the cost relative to the Talisker 10yr when you compared the prices of Aberlour 10 vs a'bunadh, Macallan 12 vs Cask Strength, etc.

Finally, while Scotch seems to be moving away from age statements, the most recent ads for Gibson's in Canada seem to be playing up the age statement: youtu.be/deACnC6TGac Does this mean we're seeing a different marketing ploy for a different demographic / style? Age matters if its Canadian (and they have tons of maturing stock), but not when its Scotch?

9 years ago 6Who liked this?

@sengjc
sengjc replied

I don't think there can be a blanket: "NAS is better" or otherwise.

Good whisky is good whisky irrespective of age or colour.

9 years ago 4Who liked this?

@Uisgebetha
Uisgebetha replied

I think NAS whisky's are unavoidable in an expanding whisky market with a limited supply of aged casks. All whisky is becoming more expensive in consequence. A lot of distilleries are building more/larger bonded warehouses so the situation should improve with time, unless the market growth outstrips those stocks as well... Unfortunately whisky is a product with an unusually long lead in time between production and consumption. I've no real grudge against NAS bottlings but I do begrudge paying over the odds for them, and tend to only pay real money for whisky with minimum age statements and/or cask strength. If people vote with their feet and refuse to buy over priced NAS offerings the market will respond... As for "NAS is better" that’s just marketing spin in my view. You can make a perfectly good whisky blending casks of different ages as you can blending malts from a more restricted (older) range of ages. The former is diluted with younger cheaper malt which the price tag should reflect, irrespective of which unlimitedly tastes better.

9 years ago 3Who liked this?

@antihero
antihero replied

Morning, all.

Forgive the link again, but I just don't want to have to reply in two places. Great discussion below, by the way. Thanks for contributing well thought responses.

My rebuttal is back on ATW. Again...sorry to keep you bouncing around. Link: allthingswhisky.com//

9 years ago 0

@Uisgebetha
Uisgebetha replied

@antihero I do take your point, but just treat NAS bottlings as having a portion at least of minimum age whisky and you can't go wrong. It's just marketting thats promoting NAS and they would never undersell their product buy putting a 3 year age statement on the bottle if a sizable portion of the content is older, or much older in some cases.

9 years ago 0

@DutchGaelisch

Thumbs up for Ralfy! He's boycotting the NAS whiskies for at least the hole year of 2015! I'm not gonna speak on his behave, so just check out his vlog (review 511) to understand why. Merry Christmas everyone, hope Santa got you a nice liquid gift!

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

He's boycotting only NAS Scottish single malts. He said nothing of blends, or non-Scottish spirits. I'm looking forward to see how all this plays out and whether we will see a response from the industry.

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@FMichael
FMichael replied

@DutchGaelisch Good on Ralfy!

I agree with many here - there are some good NAS whisky - however I feel it's an attempt to 'whip up' a 'decent' batch - slap a label on it - and clutter the shelves with it.

I feel it's a disingenuous way to offer us consumers a lower quality product with a higher price tag.

Maybe if there's a growing number of consumers who turn their backs (and their wallets) to these distilleries - the NAS trend will cease to exist, or the numbers will dwindle.

9 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

Nice to see Ralfy following my lead....and going the extra distance.

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

NAS Proliferation: there is a silver lining to this whisky storm cloud. As I sit and enjoy a Danfield's 21 YO Canadian Whisky, I marvel at the great balance and complexity this delicious whisky possess. It is only a matter of time before a whisky thirsty global market discovers the hidden gems of Canada.

In this Golden Age of the Canadian Whisky Renaissance, distillers have an opportunity to showcase their best products on the world stage. This will afford new opportunities to whisky lovers around the globe to experience the truly incredible top shelf Canadian expressions that are too often unavailable and all too often overlooked in their own backyard.

To quote David Broom in his 2nd Edition of 'The world atlas of Whisky'

" Canada is the whisky world''s sleeping giant. Although it is second only to Scotland in terms of production, it remains curiously overlooked. How does a nation with such volume, heritage, ability, and commercial success come to be dismissed as a mere afterthought?"

"These are some of the great whiskies of the world, seek them out."

9 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@paddockjudge

Actually that silver lining will become dull when you take the idea to its natural conclusion. People fed up with NAS search out Canadian gems....less left for you.... ;(

9 years ago 0

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

@Nozinan, enough whisky for a decade, and then some, rests on my shelves. I have no fear of sharing.

Canadian whisky makers are becoming more versatile and a demand for premium and longer aged products can easily be met as there is an ample supply of good whisky in this land.

9 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

The discussion is heating up again.... Here's a link to another site advocating a boycott of NAS

www.allthingswhisky.com

I'd love to hear more about this on this site. The more the industry sees that a lot of people are dissatisfied, the better chance of a change in practice.

9 years ago 0

@DutchGaelisch

I'm not buying the 'new' NAS bottles. Some of the old ones (for example Ardbeg Uigeadail) are wonderful. But the stuff that is cumming on the market now won't go into my cabinet. I love Glenlivet Nadurra 16 yo, but I won't buy Glenlivet Nadurra Olorosso NAS, same with Highland Park 18 yo, wonderful stuff, but Highland Park Dark Origins NAS, way to expensive for just a NAS, in my region € 60,-, for Dark Origins, for € 70,- you have a Highland Park 18 yo or € 27,- you have a Highland Park 12 yo. No way I'm buying the Dark Origins.

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

I have a good portion of NAS whiskies in my cabinet due to the fact that they are more often un-chill filtered and bottled at cask strength.

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@paddockjudge
paddockjudge replied

Many NAS whiskies represent good value; however, it is the newer expressions, which are replacing age-statement iterations, that I will be boycotting - especially The Macallan 1824 Pole Dancer Series.

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas replied

You know, when specific bottles get mentioned in any NAS discussion, it's usually people calling out "the good ones" as exceptions to the NAS criticism. (See DutchGaelisch's mention of early Ardbeg Uigeadail, for example. The Balvenie Tuns also get this friendly nod quite often.)

Would anyone care to call out the NAS bottles that they think stink?

So far, I think our list is the Macallan pole dancers, Glenlivet Nadurra Olorosso NAS, and Highland Park Dark Origins. I haven't had it, but I suspect that the Laphroaig Select belongs here too.

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@FMichael
FMichael replied

@OlJas Please correct me if I'm wrong, but don't the Balvenie Tun's have the contents (as in ages of whisky used in each batch) written on the side of the bottle?

9 years ago 0

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas replied

@FMichael, is your question whether the Balvenie Tuns are really NAS whiskies?

I've never had one but I understand they make no strict age statement, that the early ones used to detail the contents like you describe, and that the later ones no longer do that because of some nonsense SWA rule. Maybe that content detail is now online or something? (I'm not really a Balvenie guy and this is all just the secondhand info I've picked up from reading whisky stuff online. A quick Google search failed to corroborate what I'm saying, but maybe a Balvenie drinker will reply to do so.)

9 years ago 0

@FMichael
FMichael replied

@OlJas I had a sample of the Balvenie Tun (cannot remember which 1 it was) at a local liquor store after I purchased 2 bottles of the newly released 17 yr DBL Wood a few years ago.

I seem to recall seeing a number of different age stated scotch whisky listed in which made up that particular batch.

9 years ago 0

@Robert99
Robert99 replied

@Oljas I read some good reviews for the Nadurra Oloroso and the Highland Park Dark Origins. Are they really bad or just not as good as the product they are replacing? Because for me the real question is: Are they good for the price they asking comparing them to whiskies I could buy for the same price TODAY. I don't like the NAS approach but I have to say that I can named a few scotch with age statement that when up in price and down in quality. So I am totaly for putting pressure on the distillers to put an age statement, but I will always judge a whisky on flavors and taste. So if a NAS is the best for my money, I will buy it. Saying that, if you have a petition to send to SWA for ruling in favor of age statement tell me where to sign right now. In fact, I think we should start a discussion on all the rules we connosr members would like the SWA to put in effect. After a concensus, we should send it to the SWA. THAT WOULD PUT SOME REAL PRESSURE ON THE INDUSTRY. If they don't like it, we should create a seal of conformity, OR EVEN BETTER A CONNOSR INFO CHART for the packaging. Even if it is only for sorting the whiskies on Connosr, that could become a marketing tool impossible to ignore. Of course I am hoping that the New Connosr Search tool will be able to do about half of what members asked. But maybe I am dreaming.

9 years ago 0

@Frost
Frost replied

Case in point: near my house is the largest liquor outlet in the country. They stock Laphroaig 10yr & sitting next to it on the shelf is Laphroaig Select Cask NAS - and it costs $5 more. What a dream come true for Laphroaig. They can charge $5 per bottle for something that contains younger spirit.

Companies pay attention to sales reports - they don't pay attention to griping on forums.

9 years ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

They probably pay attention to guys like Ralfy and other serious bloggers like Curt on All Things Whisky though. If they get enough bad press they will start to take notice. I think we all agree that Uigeadail Corryvrekken, A'Bunadh and Quarter Cask, among others, are great NAS whiskies. But Talisker Storm at $10 more than the 10 yr. old? Or all those Macallans at more than the old 12 yr. old? Not so much I think.

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@antihero
antihero replied

@BlueNote Love to be able to say I belong in the same sentence as Ralfy, but it's simply not true. Appreciate the thought though. Let's face it...Ralfy is out there. He's visible. He's also infinitely likeable. That Scottish brogue doesn't hurt either. I'm beyond thrilled that he's helping to fight this, as is Serge in his 2014 recap (visit Whiskyfun to read).

BTW...the NAS discussion in its latest incarnation is 70 comments deep on ATW. Come on over and have your say: www.allthingswhisky.com

9 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@antihero. Serge, Ralfy and ATWt are my go to sites for thorough, intelligent and trustworthy reviews. There are also 5 or 6 guys on this site that I always pay attention to. I have put my two cents worth in on the NAS discussion on ATW, and BTW, Curt, I have no problem putting you in the same league as Ralfy and Serge. You are all different and all worth listening to. Ralfy is warm and fuzzy, Serge is a great source for obscure music and even more obscure whiskies, and you, very articulately, review whiskies that, for the most part, regular schmucks like me can find and afford.

Cheers

Chris.

9 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@BlueNote

Have to second your opinion. ATW is a premium source of information, packaged in an entertaining way. I may not always agree with @antihero but always respect his views and the way they are presented. And I've made some good purchasing choices based in part on his reviews ( no offence @antihero, but if I buy something untasted I usually look at a number of sources).

I've really enjoyed the NAS discussion. So far a number of interesting issues have come up:

  1. Are people advocating a boycott or just stating their intentions?

  2. Easy for someone to say stop buying NAS if they have many bottles of their favourites stashed away. What about those who don't? Is it fair to ask others to do without if you don't plan to?

  3. Should all producers be lumped the same way? Is what Diageo did to Mortlach and the Macallan stripper series the same as what is being do at Amrut? Based on what is on their sites, Ralfy says no (he only promised to boycott Scottish NAS single malts) and ATW implies yes.

Great discussions, interesting topic. If only I had a forum to do a proper debate on this.

9 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

By forum, I meant, a place for a live action parliamentary style debate.

Obviously here and at ATW we are provided with excellent opportipunities to discuss.

9 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Nozinan. Nice idea, but It would probably to deteriorate to something resembling the kindergarten known as Question period in the Canadian House of Commons. I have been bouncing back and forth between here and ATW to keep abreast of the NAS discussions. I must say you have been making some very thought-provoking points in both forums.

9 years ago 0

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