NAS Scotch predicted to ‘dominate’ whisky industry

8th July, 2014 by Becky Paskin

The Scotch whisky industry will eventually carry more no-age-statement (NAS) products than those carrying an age statement, a leading distiller has predicted.

alcohol whisky

Scotch could be dominated by no-age-statement whiskies in the near future

With more distilleries releasing expressions without an age statement to preserve stocks of older whisky, Dr Bill Lumsden, head of whisky creation at The Glenmorangie Company, has forecasted the future dominance of “ageless” Scotch.

Speaking to The Spirits Business, he said: “No-age-statements will become more commonplace than age statements. It’s partly driven by the massive surge in demand and the fact there are very finite stocks out there, so by their very nature a lot of distillers are having to look to younger whiskies.”

According to a recent report by Rabobank, inventories of malt whisky aged over nine years fell more than 25% between 2007-12. While producers are investing heavily in rebuilding stock of older whisky, the analyst advised the industry to control supply more tightly to avoid future peaks and troughs in demand.

The preservation of aged stock to satisfy future demand has now resulted in a surge of NAS releases in the past 18 months.

However, Lumsden claimed age statements will “always have a place” in Scotch whisky, as “some people are always going to like seeing ages on bottles”, although he said the widespread use and promotion of age statements in the past have now caused a major issue for the industry.

“We’ve kind of made a bit of a noose for our own necks as now people associate age as the most important thing in terms of quality,” he said. “In some respects if you don’t have an age statement on the bottle, you have to try even harder to have a knockout liquid or something that’s different from the rest of your core range.

“It will take many years for the barriers to be broken down and in some of the less developed markets where consumers have been taught age equals quality, we’ve got a lot of work to do to convince people otherwise.”

Dr-Bill-Lumsden-in-bar

Dr Bill Lumsden, head of whisky creation at The Glenmorangie Company, still believes age statements will always have a place in Scotch

While distillers have been using NAS whiskies as limited editions for some time, some have begun introducing them into their core ranges as standard. Some, like Ardbeg and Highland Park, have introduced them within the higher end of their core range, while others, like Talisker and The Macallan, have replaced their younger whiskies with expressions such as Talisker Storm and The Macallan Gold.

“There’s no question that if you’ve got an on-going product then having an NAS gives you more flexibility and freedom in the recipe,” said Lumsden. “There’s a big range of ages in Glenmorangie Signet, but if we were hamstrung by having a particular age on it we would be tied.”

Earlier this year we picked out 10 of the best no-age-statement Scotch whiskies to be released in the last 12 months.

2 Responses to “NAS Scotch predicted to ‘dominate’ whisky industry”

  1. Yori says:

    I think the correct way to go is a description on the label, like is so common in the wine industry. I love knowing that my Laphroaig Cairdeas Origin (2012) has 50% older whisky (13-18 years that has been 8-13 years when the first Cairdeas was bottled) and 50% whisky that was aged in quarter casks for 8 years. Don’t call it 8YO as traditional nomenculture dictates – cxall it Cairdeas Origin and tell me how you made it. That is what I ask from all NAS producers – I don’t even need complete details, but give information, not just fancy names, and if I want to I’ll read it…

  2. Oliver Philp says:

    Yori, that would be good but the industry seem to be good at making ‘a noose for their own necks’ as the most recent SWR outlawed putting any age statement on the bottle but for the youngest whisky in that bottle. Thus the Balvenie Tun 1401, which used to have a run down of all the casks used on the label now carries no details whatever.

    My problem with NAS is not with the concept but with the way in which many producers have seen the current trends as a green light to simply drop age statements and still charge premium prices. There are too many examples of young, spirity whisky being sold at ridiculous prices. Talisker Storm is one! Sell young whisky if you want but please charge commensurate prices.

Leave a Reply

If that's interesting, how about these?

Bonhams hosts first online-only whisky auction

Bonhams is to launch its first online-only whisky auction in Hong Kong more...

Scotch records 'best year' for exports since 2013

Scotch whisky exports have increased by both volume and value for the first more...

Whisky expert Dr Jim Swan dies

Renowned whisky consultant Dr Jim Swan, who formed part of the team pioneering more...

Miller’s Norway distillery intros cask-aged akevitt

Marcin Miller’s Norwegian distillery Oslo Håndverksdestilleri has released more...

SWA urges MEPs to back CETA deal

The Scotch Whisky Association has called on MEPs to back the EU-Canada more...

Scotch auction market hails ‘exceptional' 2016

Scotch whisky volume and value sales at auction reached record levels in 2016, more...

John Walker & Sons Private Collection gets 2017 edition

Diageo has released the 2017 edition of its high-end John Walker & Sons Private more...

Industry hails EU-Canada CETA deal

Spirits Europe has “warmly welcomed” the European Parliament’s vote to more...

R&B Distillers rolls out second While We Wait

R&B Distillers has released the second batch of its "lightly peated" single more...

Franklin and Sons enters 30th market

British tonic and mixer brand Franklin & Sons has claimed to “defy Brexit more...

Asahi Group’s spirits business slips 6.1%

Nikka owner Asahi Group saw its full-year whisky and spirits sales contract more...

Scotch whisky trade groups partner up

Trade groups the Scotch Whisky Association and Scottish Craft Distillers more...

Beam Suntory buoyed by emerging markets

Suntory Holdings’ spirits arm Beam Suntory posted “mid-single-digit” more...

Billy Walker to leave BenRiach

Brown-Forman has confirmed Billy Walker will step down from his role at the more...

Barrie moves from Bowmore to BenRiach

Rachel Barrie, master blender at Beam Suntory division Morrison Bowmore more...

Top 10 most collectible Scotch brands of 2016

Sellers are becoming "more confident" in placing high value bottles at auction, more...

SMWS redesigns bottles for first time in a decade

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society has revamped its famous green bottle design for more...

Top 10 most investible Scotch brands of 2016

As Scotch whisky's value sales continue to soar, we round up the 10 more...

The Macallan unveils Taiwan boutique exclusive

Edrington-owned single malt Scotch whisky the Macallan has unveiled the first more...

Mattioni: Premium rums will ‘definitely develop’

The premium-plus rum segment in the UK will "definitely develop", driven by more...