Tag Archives: whisky age

Did You Know #3: Coming of Age

It’s been a while since I did a “Did You Know” piece and it’s long over due. So here’s today’s question..

Did you know that the age statement on your bottle indicates the youngest whiskey in the bottle?

Go ahead, run over to the liquor cabinet and look. Is there an age statement on the bottle? What did you think that number meant? According to Chivas, the vast majority of whiskey drinkers have no idea. Their research has shown that while many people think that number is important, few really understand what it means. For those that aren’t sure, the age statement on a bottle of bourbon, scotch, irish, japanese, etc whisk(e)y reflects the age of the youngest spirit in the bottle. That goes for single malts, blends, small batch, single barrel, etc. That means that in a bottle of 12 year old Macallan there could be a number of whiskies that are much older. Distilleries use older stocks to round out the flavor and consistency of younger bottlings. Maybe the 1997 Macallan vintage didn’t taste quite like the 1996 so they added a little 14 year old to the mix for consistency. Apparently, we human creatures like consistency in what we consume. It’s comforting I guess.

Why am I bringing this up today? Well, Chivas is sending around a notice of a new campaign they are launching to bring awareness to the popular misconceptions about age statements and what they mean. We Whisk(e)y Apostles are always in favor of more consumer education. Here’s a copy of the press release.

THE AGE MATTERS
Chivas Brothers launches global consumer campaign
on the importance of Scotch whisky age statements

The world’s leading producer of luxury Scotch whisky, Chivas Brothers, is launching a global campaign to advocate the importance and value of the age statements to consumers.

According to new research commissioned by Chivas Brothers, 94% of consumers believe the age statement serves as an indicator of quality, 93% believe that older whiskies are better quality and 89% actively look for an age statement when making a decision to purchase.

However, there is a global lack of knowledge about what the age statement actually means: only 10% understand that it refers to the youngest whisky in the bottle, nearly half (48%) believe an age statement refers to the average age and 35% believe it signifies the oldest whisky present. The Scotch Whisky Regulations (2009) make clear what an age statement means – the age of the youngest whisky in the bottle.

Chivas Brothers, Distiller of the Year 2009, is responding with a campaign called The Age Matters, which will manifest itself through stand-alone activity as well as through integration across the company’s aged whisky portfolio, which includes the Ballantine’s, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet, and Royal Salute brands.

The aim of the campaign is to enable consumers to understand fully the age statement and to appreciate the value of the premium product they are purchasing.

One of the greatest influences on the flavour of whisky comes from maturation. Much of the complexity of Scotch whisky comes mainly from its time in oak casks in Scotland; with outstanding spirit and excellent wood management, it follows that the longer the maturation period, the more complex the whisky.

From 1 July 2010, consumers will be encouraged to look for age statements on Scotch whisky, via point-of-sale materials, advertising and public relations. A logo using the language Guaranteed Age Whisky has been created for usage in retail, and will be visible in the environment of Chivas Brothers brands that carry an age statement.

Christian Porta, Chairman and CEO of Chivas Brothers Limited, says: “The revelation that so many existing whisky drinkers do not understand that the age statement refers to youngest age of the whisky, shows that there is an opportunity for us to inform them.

“In an age when consumers of luxury goods increasingly demand transparency and authenticity from brands, it is vital that we empower consumers with knowledge, so that they fully understand the value of what they are buying.”

Drink wisely my friends,

Richard