Thursday, September 26, 2013

Taketsuru: Movement & Reflections

As one Taketsuru expression begins to be withdrawn its predecessor enters the market, making many people become nostalgic about the very affordable, still readily available, and very palatable Taketsuru 12yo. Most likely for economical reasons Nikka made us all aware sometime ago it will stop producing/selling their youngest aged pure malt (12yo) and replace it with a pure malt with no age at all. This no-age-statement release is one of two new Taketsuru expressions to join the big player’s vast portfolio - the other being their sherry wood version that debuted across the country September 25. Could it be possible that there is more to the change than just “economics”, perhaps it could be also about “market trend”, or more to the point “jumping on the band wagon”? You certainly don’t need me to inform you of the vast amount of no-age releases from worldwide distilleries that have sprang up throughout the year, including that of Nikka’s biggest domestic competitor - very influencing.

Perhaps there is also another way to look at the transition to NAS (no-age-statement)? Many suggest when a distiller/brand goes NAS it gives them freedom and flexibility. There are also suggestions that going NAS allows blenders free reign so to speak - allowing them to be that little bit more creative opposed to sticking to formulas. Another possible explanation could be a distillery simply does not have enough stock - demand outstripping supply, and in order to meet demand they have turned up the level of production - vatting and/or bottling adolescent whisky. Regardless of what the real reasons behind the transition may be, and what we as the consumer think, if it’s priced accordingly and tastes superb than that’s something to be happy with... Right? Like most people will be doing or have done so already, I’ve scheduled myself to do a back to back with the Taketsuru 12yo and NAS, followed by a lush serving of the sherry wood finish. I’ll be sure to share the experience once I’ve sat down with my bottles.

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