NAS – Love or Hate?

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NAS – No Age Statement – love it, hate it, indifferent towards it or undecided? However you feel about it NAS whiskies are everywhere and they’re here to stay!

Way back when near the dawn of my blog (December 2015 actually) I wrote a piece entitled NAS – Good or Bad? where I looked at what NAS is and why it has become so popular. If you’ve not heard of NAS or No Age Statement before then it basically means you don’t have an age on the bottle of whisky. By law if you display and age statement on your whisky then it must be the age of the youngest whisky in the bottle. If you’ve not heard of NAS before then you may also be confused by this concept as you may be under the impression that a Single Malt contains only whisky from a single barrel – it actually contains a blend of whiskies however they all come from a single distillery, unlike blended whisky which can come from a range of distilleries.

So why is NAS good? Well as stocks of aged whisky need time to replenish NAS is there to fill that gap, allowing distilleries much needed time. It also allows for experimentation and the freedom of not having an age on a bottle means some new and exciting whiskies can be produced. “That all sounds great!” I hear you cry in unison, so why do some people hate NAS?

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Well because they’re stuck in the past, unwilling to accept change and unable to accept that the revolution is here and its name is NAS! Okay not really, well maybe in some cases… There are 3 main reasons some people hate NAS though:

  1. Their old age statement whisky is now gone, in that case yes it’s a shame but while stocks replenish it’s necessary and there’s no use crying over what once was.
  2. Some NAS expressions are seen as overpriced for what you’re getting. Well yes some of them probably are, but then whisky in general is more expensive now and you need to remember that. Also some age statement bottles are overpriced as well. When it comes to quality and taste though what you hate someone else may love and be willing to give their left eye for (not Haig Club though).
  3. The last reason is the evil entity known as “Marketing” (I know, that word sends a shiver down my spine too). NAS seems to be all about a snazzy name and a fancy (sometimes a tad too fanciful) backstory. That or a celebrity who seems to have created the whisky themselves rather than just pretending to drink it while on camera… cough, cough Haig Club cough, cough…

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Personally I haven’t tried a NAS I haven’t enjoyed yet (I haven’t tried Haig Club yet so that may change). I also have never felt that I’ve paid over the odds for a NAS, although that might just be because I don’t have the money to buy anything too expensive. Overall I understand the need for NAS and welcome some of the invention that might come from it. If you hate NAS for any of the reasons above then try not to let that colour your view of all NAS whiskies as you may well find some of them surprise you and might change your mind.

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Hopefully you’ll all soon be joining me in welcoming our new overlords NAS! 😉

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8 Comments Add yours

  1. Fred Bloggs says:

    Come the revolution – you will be first against the wall !!!!

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    1. I imagine with some of my comments in this post I might be up against the wall very soon 😂

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  2. paddycorkscrew says:

    For me, it’s all about what’s in the bottle. Like you, I haven’t yet had an NAS I haven’t enjoyed, though I also have avoided Haig Club thus far. In the Bourbon community, a lot of people are bemoaning the dropping of the 12 year on Elijah Craig. I love the EC12, but haven’t yet sampled the NAS version to see if there is much of a difference.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agreed, it’s all about what’s in the bottle and I’m sure there will be NAS whiskies out there that aren’t up to scratch or at least won’t warrant the price tag they’re given. But that doesn’t mean all NAS whiskies should be tarred with the same brush.

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  3. George, elPolako says:

    NAS is here to stay, like it or not, here we agree. My first NAS experience was pleasurable – so my overall outlook on the idea is too. Money is very important in my case, i can’t justify buying a bottle of whisky for my weekly wages. Just can’t. I don’t see the grim future. Au contraire, innovation is bringing new players to the table with new tastes. Open your heart – there are great NAS whiskies on that table right now. Nice writing GG

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you and good to see someone else open to NAS. In truth money is the biggest issue with whisky – NAS or otherwise, however NAs gets singled out for it as it’s something new and in theory with the extra freedom not having an age statement affords it should be better reflected in it’s price – i.e. good NAS can get away with a higher price while more standard NAS should be cheaper – unfortunately this isn’t always the case and as such all NAS gets branded by the same iron.

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  4. FredBloggs13 says:

    Excuse my first comment, I couldn’t resist!
    I too have a bit of a quandary with NAS: instinctively I’m against it, having been brain washed by the distillery’s marketing teams that older is better but my three favourite drams at the moment are all NAS : PC 2008 Islay Barley, Jura Prophecy and Ardbeg Quarter Cask.
    I think all of these are new rather than replacement expressions and can therefore be justified at a ‘reasonable’ price. Replacement expressions at a higher price just can’t.

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    1. Haha, that’s ok, I took it as fun whether it was intended to be or not 😛 That’s the biggest bone of contention for people I think, is where NAS has replaced an aged expression yet is the same price or higher. Glenlivet Founder’s Reserve being a prime example, at least in the UK and Germany where it has replaced the 12 year. In that specific example though I actually wasn’t a bug fan of the 12 year and actually prefer the Founder’s Reserve so I think I go against the curve on that one a little 😂

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