Stock shortage ‘best thing’ to happen to Scotch

13th October, 2014 by Becky Paskin

Scotch whisky stock shortages and the subsequent widespread removal of age statements from labels has been described as “one of the best things” to happen to the industry.

Scotch-whisky

The rise of NAS whisky has enabled the Scotch industry to be more creative, according to one producer Photo: The Scotch Whisky Experience

As global demand for Scotch whisky increased over the past few years, more producers have opted to remove age statements from existing and new expressions to preserve stocks of older whisky.

The most famous example of which was The Macallan, which removed age statements from its entire core range under 18-years-old with the 1824 Series, which uses colour as a signpost for flavour, rather than age.

While some have shunned the widespread rise of no-age-statement expressions, Chris Morris, master distiller for Brown-Forman which produces Woodford Reserve and Old Forester Bourbon, as well as Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, claims the situation has enabled Scotch distillers to be more creative.

“It’s one of the best things that ever happened to Scotch whisky,” he told The Spirits Business. “They have to be more innovative and imaginative.

“We do not believe in age statements in any of our whiskeys at Brown-Forman, because while there’s nothing wrong with a whiskey declaring its age, an age statement as we know specifically from the great Scotch whisky industry can be used against you. And an age is just a number; it doesn’t say the whisky’s any good.

“The consumer thinks the higher the number, the better the whisky. So by not having an age claim we are asking the consumer to try the whiskey and judge it on its flavour and not on an arbitrary note.”

Asked if consumers’ perception of age being an indicator for quality is a problem created by the Scotch industry, Morris added: “That could be the case, especially when you see these Scotch whisky brands now removing their age claim. How important was that in the first place?”

Inventories of Scotch malt whisky aged over nine years fell over 25% between 2007-12, according to a recent report by Robobank.

Earlier this year, Dr Bill Lumsden, head of whisky creation at The Glenmorangie Company, predicted no-age-statement Scotch whiskies will eventually outnumber the amount carrying an age indicator.

“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,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bacardi has bucked the trend by releasing a series of single malt Scotch whiskies with age statements in its Last Great Malts collection.

2 Responses to “Stock shortage ‘best thing’ to happen to Scotch”

  1. Dram Tanna says:

    The is so many things wrong with this story. Where to begin?

    1. There isn’t a shortage. Whisky sales are down in China particularly, that’s why Diageo is down 20 points.

    2. If it’s just about a consumer mispreseption the why doesn’t every whisky company that sells NAS swear, on the bottle, that there is no dye (e150) added? Answer? Because it more about company misrepresentation.

    3. I don’t mind younger whisky, as long as they are honest. Kilchoman is great, for example. They don’t chill filter, they don’t dye, they bottle at a higher %, and they tell you about the age or ages of the whisky.

    This is about quality going down the tubes to maximize profit to shareholders, and a marketing dog and pony show to hide this fact.

    46% +
    No dye
    No chill filtration
    An age statement (no matter the age)
    At a reasonable price

    That’s what gets my money. Lot of brands do it without a problem. I will continue avoiding the ones who don’t.

  2. Oliver Philp says:

    An age statement is one of the bits of information that gives you an idea of what to expect along with e.g. the abv, NCF declaration, the distillery profile and consistency, indications of cask provenance, etc. Removing it means any time I buy a NAS I may be exposed to the harsh, spirity notes of an under-matured whisky. We should be encouraging yet more disclosure, not silly names and misty marketing mumbo jumbo.

Leave a Reply

If that's interesting, how about these?

Western Europe on the road to recovery

The Western Europe spirits market has been a story of struggle and strife over more...

Brexit could 'apply brakes' to UK gin boom

The heads of Chivas Brothers and trade body the Wine and Spirit Trade more...

Cooper Spirits Co. releases 'oldest' straight rye

The Cooper Spirits Company has launched Lock Stock & Barrel 16, the "oldest" more...

Buffalo Trace to get $200m distillery expansion

Sazerac is to plough US$200 million into its Buffalo Trace Distillery, which more...

Diageo to de-list debt on NY Stock Exchange

Diageo is planning to voluntarily de-list certain debt securities from the New more...

Jack Whitehall and David Beckham talk whisky

David Beckham and comedian Jack Whitehall have starred in the first episode of more...

'Signs of recovery' for Scotch whisky exports

The Scotch whisky industry has once again been hit by global economic more...

Craft spirits are 'friends' of large producers

Craft distillers are more “friend” than “foe” to large spirits brands, more...

US whiskey brands 'pushing envelope' of flavour

Far from being reliant on its core expressions, American whiskey is seeking to more...

Last Drop releases 1961 Dumbarton single grain

Independent spirits bottler The Last Drop Distillers has released a 1961 more...

Halewood adds pre-mixed cans to Red Square portfolio

Halewood International has launched pre-mixed cans for Red Square Vodka's Sloe more...

Top international World Whisky Day events

Charge your glass and celebrate the "water of life" with our pick of the top more...

Macallan completes Six Pillars with 65-year-old

The Macallan has completed its Six Pillars Collection with a 65-year-old Scotch more...

Irish Distillers finalises Paddy sale to Sazerac

Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers unit has completed the sale of its Paddy more...

Japanese whisky – an unsustainable success?

Japan has established itself as a key player on the global whisky scene. But more...

Asia to drive beverage consumption over 5 years

Asia will claim two-thirds of the world's incremental beverage consumption by more...

Ian Macleod Distillers agrees £60m bank loan

Scotch whisky producer Ian Macleod Distillers has secured a £60 million more...

Royal Brackla heads to Korea with TR activation

Bacardi Global Travel Retail has partnered with The Shilla Duty Free Seoul in more...

Tech-focused InchDairnie Distillery opens doors

Scotch whisky veteran Ian Palmer has launched the Fife-based InchDairnie more...

Scotch industry urges UK-Scottish partnership

The Scotch Whisky Association has called for the Scottish and UK governments to more...