Pure Gould

An age statement is indeed a useful benchmark – but for some it’s even more, as it gives the consumer transparency and a framework. Remember the advent of the no-nonsense vatted whiskies from Jon, Mark and Robbo back in 2002? No age statement here just gloriously general descriptions – “the rich spicy one”, “the smokey peaty one” and “the smooth, sweeter one”. The latter even included a large proportion of Irish whiskey, added for its lighter style, though under new regulations Irish and Scottish whisky can no longer be blended together – and Jon, Mark and Robbo are no longer around.

“Getting these whiskies established required a lot of leg work,” says Balvenie’s UK brand ambassador Andrew Forrester, indicating that had the trio boasted age statements life would have been a whole lot easier – and no doubt it would have been. But these whiskies were too down to earth for existing Scotch consumers and the brand proposition was not attractive enough to entice sufficient numbers of new consumers.

There’s a healthy balance between too much and too little information. “It’s useful to remember the generality of the consumer,” says Diageo’s Nick Morgan. “Scotch is the ultimate luxury – too much info makes it too complicated and spoils the party.” But arguably too little info means the party may never get going.