Just like the Berlin wall, old, well-known Whiskies that have been around for ages are coming down. We already see the manifestation of NAS Whiskies, you know the ones without the pretty numbers on the label: 10yo, 12 yo et cetera. It has recently been announced, by Pernod Ricard, that not only the Glenlivet 12yo will be discontinued, but also Aberlour 10yo. This is moving in the wrong direction people! The Glenlivet 12yo has already been replaced with the new Founder’s Reserve, a highly original name taken from the old 10yo expression of The Balvenie. The Glenlivet already dropped the age statement for their highly popular Nadurra range, and are wooing the consumer to stay with Nadurra, by adding new versions. Bourbon, Oloroso and the next step will probably be a peated version. Other recent experiments were the NAS Alpha, and the NAS Guardian’s Chapter. We all know where this is going, don’t we. Lot’s of distillate will be put out as young NAS Whiskies, and the rest will be aged a prolonged amount of time to be bottled as (highly expensive) Whiskies which will still have an age statement. Yes, we should judge a Whisky by its taste and we will, and not by its age statement. Still, the super premium Whiskies will have an age statement, because age sells, people. Another experiment done by The Glenlivet is the release of an 11yo single cask for 300 Euro’s in the Netherlands, called Bochel (Hill). How far can you go? Let’s get back to the beginning, shall we? I already reviewed The Glenlivet 12yo, so we have a clue what that was all about. Now let’s have a look at its replacement. The NAS Founder’s Reserve…
Color: Light citrus gold.
Nose: Barley and aged spirit. Raw and yeasty. A big part of the beginning of the nose is made up of new make spirit. Apart from…new make spirit, I have never come across a Whisky that is so upfront and young. Obviously young. The new make note disperses and makes room for plain white oak. Does have some traits of Bourbon casks, but also of virgin oak casks. I hope this is still aged in casks, could be stainless steel with bits of wood thrown in. Sweet barley, yeast and oak. That’s more or less it with this Glenlivet. On top salty and estery. Well this is your wormhole that offers a peek of NAS Whisky. I guess a lot of entry-level, inexpensive Whisky of the future (and you know, the future starts now), will be like this. Perfumy and floral, latex paint with hints of mocha and still a promise of sweetness.
Taste: Sweet water. Sugary. Very, very, un-complex. Not even a lot of wood now. More (oak and pencil) wood in the nose. This is sweet balanced sugar-water with vanilla pudding and…yes, what else? Weak green, vegetal notes. In the background again the specific taste of new make spirit. This is an aged Poiteen! Short finish (obviously) and in my opinion too young, but still interesting…well, not really actually.
A long time ago, this would have been used internally to give the marketing people an insight into production methods and especially how Whisky ages. Who would have thought that today something like this would be actually bottled, and better even, replace the standard 12yo. Do I mean The Founder’s Reserve is bad? No, not at all. I love Single Malt Whisky and this is still is well made modern Single Malt Whisky. It’s just so obviously young and simple. They should have named it Baby Glenlivet. Benromach actually have replaced one of their NAS Whiskies with one with an age statement and calls it their 5yo. I’m curious how that one will compare to this one. I’m curious how these will compare to old 5yo’s (Tomatin, black label) and 8yo (Aberlour, cube bottle), but I’m also curious to see how the public will choose between NAS Whiskies and Whiskies with a low age statement. Interesting times ahead!