On NAS whisk(e)y and Americans

The good doctor would like to pontificate about whisk(e)y based on this article about the loss of age statements in certain bottles.

"Americans, for the most part, have a misguided fascination with age statements, equating quality with age," said Tardie. "I've had people come to the bar and shop by age statements, looking for the oldest age for the cheapest price. Misguided indeed." - Tommy Tardie, owner of The Flatiron Room in Manhattan.


Two things. Firstly, *some* "Americans" have an obsession with age statements. I agree. But *some* people around the world have this very same obsession. This is a slightly insulting expression of that whole "Americans are stupid" mentality, of which I am getting incredibly sick to death. Of course you find a higher number of Americans who think one thing or another. This is a massive country filled with a very large number of people. I would bet a lot of money there are as many people per capita who are obsessed with age statements in Scotland, and they kinda run the whisk(e)y world, no? Do I doubt that some people "shop by age statements" in his bar? No. Do I think it's such a high number that it warrants tarring all American whisk(e)y consumers with this brush? No. I think he remembers a few pompous asses and has decided anyone who expresses concern about No Age Statement whisk(e)y, or wants a specific aged expression, is an boor who doesn't know what they're talking about.

The second thing is, this guy is glossing over a fact. NAS whisk(e)y is a big thing lately precisely because many makers are trying to hide that they are using very young spirits in their new expressions. Scottish distilleries are doing this as well, and the experts, hobbyists and casual consumers alike are all questioning it. Why?

Because you can taste a difference in many of them.

The distillers and blenders and bottlers (especially Japanese ones) are trying to keep up with demand. I get it. But saying that you miss and prefer Hibiki 12 over this new Harmony is not silly or unwarranted. You can taste the difference.

"I recently picked up 10 cases of Elijah Craig 12 year. Why? The prominent '12 year' that was rightfully displayed front and center on the bottle has since been quietly moved to the back of the bottle in small 12 point type," he explained. "I predict very soon they will do away with the age completely. Perhaps they wanted to discreetly make the move as to not stir up to much attention. American's love their age statements." - Tommy Tardie

You'll pardon the good doctor for his French, but oh, for fuck's sake. Tardie damn well knows Heaven Hill isn't gonna blend some 10 and some 12 for a NAS bourbon. They're gonna blend some 4 and some 6, maybe. Maybe some 2 and some 8 if we're lucky. What used to be the low part of the high end of Heaven Hill juice will now become the top expression they offer and they will slap the Elijah Craig label on it, put it in the bottle we all know and continue to charge exactly what they charge now for juice that sat in a barrel for 12 long years. It will not taste the same. There's no way it can. Whisk(e)y is as much art as science, but come on. 12 years in a barrel in an American rackhouse will obviously have an effect on flavor and color that 2, 4, 6 or even 8 cannot possibly have.

No reason to insult American bourbon drinkers for saying that's not a square deal.

My first Flaviar subscription delivery

Recently I signed up for a new subscription service. If you're gonna have a box delivered monthly, it may as well contain some carefully curated collections of spirits, yes? Flaviar's subscription service is flexible, in that you can turn things down, make changes, etc. It's pretty cool. Receiving and opening the package was a premium experience. It's not just sample size bottles stuck in a box!

My first flight is a tour of Irish whiskeys, something I don't really have a lot of experience with outside of your bog-standard Jameson's.


There are even some surprises on the labels...


Even the box it was shipped in had little touches to make you smile...


The average price per bottle of the whiskeys included is around $85 USD. Believe it or not, I did the per-milliliter math here. If you track down each bottle yourself, you will pay about eleven cents per milliliter of delicious Irish courage. Flaviar is charging you seventeen cents per milliliter. You get a reasonable amount, delivered to your door, you aren't committed to full bottles if you don't enjoy it, and you get the cool unboxing experience. And you can use these to host tasting parties. There's enough whiskey here for three people to taste them all.

Did I mention they ship from Slovenia? From SLOVENIA! To my home here in the United States. For what I feel is a very reasonable price. As an aside, I also ordered three bottles of gin from them. American brands. That they imported to Slovenia, then sold back to me and shipped them from their offices. And it was cheaper than going down to my local store and buying them.

I have no idea how they make money. But I am not complaining!

The doctor recommends. Check them out: Flaviar.com