At Bruichladdich, we will be highlighting the issue of No Age Statement (NAS) whiskies at Feis Ile, our annual Islay ‘Festival of Music and Malt’.
One thousand bottles of an NAS whisky called ‘Transparency’, a heavily peated Port Charlotte, have been filled at the distillery and individually numbered. Each will also carry a numerical batch code. Laddiefans visiting us on Sunday May 28th 2017 will be provided with literature outlining the matters this raises.
We believe that EU regulations (12.3 of the Spirit Drinks Regulation no 110/2008) explicitly support people who care about what they drink being able to access the cask recipes used in our multi-vintage single malts. The intention of the regulation is clearly stated. It says: “The measures applicable to the spirits drinks sector should contribute to the attainment of a high level of consumer protection, the prevention of deceptive practices and the attainment of market transparency and fair competition…”
Further, we do not dispute the fact that the regulations insist that only the age of the youngest whisky in the bottle can be stated on the label or in supporting marketing materials. We have no problem with that either. This is not a campaign that demands regulatory change. On the contrary, it is a campaign that explicitly adheres to both the spirit and the letter of existing regulations.
At Bruichladdich, we argue that it is an unfortunate interpretation of these regulations that has resulted in the recent trend for ‘NAS’ whiskies. This has driven accusations from some quarters that whisky companies are ‘hiding’ the constituent ages of their bottlings behind romanticised monikers. This has in turn resulted in incidences where the very integrity of the Scotch whisky industry is being called into question.
We believe therefore that our campaign for “Transparency” will make a significant contribution to addressing this issue. We believe that if our clients wish to know the age of whiskies, by proportion, in vattings of Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte or Octomore single malts, we should provide that information.
We have therefore set up an on-line system which responds to requests only. The product pages of the whiskies in question are provided with a field into which the client can choose to input the batch code found on their bottle. The cask recipe will then be provided.
This system has been previously utilised for all individual vattings of The Classic Laddie and Port Charlotte Scottish Barley. It will now be extended to both the Feis Ile ‘Transparency’ bottling and the Octomore ‘OBA Concept’ which is being released to clients imminently.
It should be made clear that Bruichladdich are not asking that the provision of this information be made mandatory for all single malt Scotch whiskies. We believe that companies should be free to withhold this data if they choose to do so.
Our CEO Douglas Taylor is, however, unequivocal. He says: “Our philosophy is rooted in authenticity, provenance and traceability. These are not simply lofty ideals or marketing hype. We are determined to deliver them in practice. That means providing you with genuine transparency.
“We are therefore prepared to challenge the comfortable conventions that appear to block our path. We are prepared to stand alone and take on institutionalised thinking. We know this is going to be difficult, but making the world’s most thought provoking whiskies was never going to be easy.
“We are encouraged by the upsurge in interest in transparency in many areas, but particularly among those of you who, like us, love great food and drink. We believe that concealing relevant information is no longer acceptable.”
“TRANSPARENCY” will go on sale when the gates open at around 12.30pm on Sunday 28th May 2017. Price – £100.00