The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2015

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 90 of 115

may 2015  /  the tasting panel  /  87 artisanal methods. This has propelled single malts like Balblair and Old Pulteney into the craft spotlight, gaining popularity for being heritage brands of age and tradition. Old Pulteney's mari- time element especially creates a flavor profile that's piquing the interest of new Scotch drinkers. "The 12 Year Old is a great jumping off point—customers really seem to latch onto its briny, salty notes," says Stein, adding that the 17 Year Old is one of his favorites. Younger single malts, as well as peaty, smokier flavor profiles are also gaining notoriety. "Across the board there's been a trend of people liking a smoky style of spirit," says Ansari. Cutter, the peatiest expressions within anCnoc's Limited Edition Peaty Collection, just launched in April as a notable departure from the classic anCnoc 12 Year, a light-bodied, citrus- fruit Scotch produced with methods dating back to 1894. "The on-premise world has done a lot to break down the mystery of peated whisky," says Stein, citing consumer interest in media and reviews as spurring the brisk sale of both the classic and new releases in the anCnoc line. Ansari credits the current trend of producing younger single malts versus longer-aged Scotches with showcasing the tremendous variability of the cate- gory based on just a few differentiating factors like peat and choice of cuts—as with the many expressions of anCnoc, a traditional Highland distillery making inroads with its modern interpretation of Scotch. "They're totally different styles," says Ansari, "and we're not talking about major differences in how they're made." Scotland is also making new forays into other craft categories such as with Caorunn, a Scottish gin produced in a working Speyside malt distillery— unique in its use of Celtic botanicals indigenous to the region. Caorunn is a savvy product in its capitalization of the millennial interest in single malts, taking advantage of their attention to provide them with another Scottish product that leverages the fast-growing gin sector, as a result of the craft cocktail movement's use of Prohibition- era recipes. The same geography and terroir that give single malts their complexity will be the major factor setting Caorunn apart in the long-term within this market. So, what's the future of the single- malt drinker? Ansari and Stein both agree that female consumer interest in the Scotch category has been a major game-changer for the demographic, a shift they have both seen within consumer tastings at their respective branches. "The future is women drink- ing single malts," says Stein. "Women have better palates, and Scotch is about sharing and having conversation. We're seeing more and more women attending events—couples, too." Ansari echoes the sentiment. "I don't think there's a masculine or feminine style or category, but it's not a mystery that women have more taste buds and higher capacity to analyze aromas— with the higher propensity for taste, they're natural whisky drinkers." Both Ansari and Stein agree, however, that a major driving force for the younger demographics will continue to be the availability of information and reviews about single malts, and the propensity of millenials to seek it out. "People are really expanding their horizons," says Ansari. "These are exciting times to work or drink in this field!" For more information on any of the spirits mentioned above, visit PHOTO: KIRK WEDDLE "Speyburn 10 Year specifically has been a perfect starting point" for mid-20s drinkers who are exploring complex brown spirits, says Kevin Stein, Marketplace Manager of the family-owned Twin Liquors in Austin, Texas.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - May 2015