Tuesday 31 December 2013

Martin's whisky predictions for 2014

For the final TimeforWhisky post for 2013, I've decided to make a few predictions for global whisky trends in 2014 (what makes me qualified to do that? Absolutely nothing! This is just for a bit of fun).

By putting this post up I could be setting myself up for ridicule, especially if we look back in 12 months and realise none of these have eventuated...but hey, I can handle that.

So without further ado, here are my 10 (5 serious, 5 sarcastic / not so serious) predictions for whisky trends in 2014:

  1. The rise and rise of NAS (Non-Age Statement) whiskies. As we touched on back in October, due to current worldwide demand for whisk(e)y, which was unexpected when a lot of the whisky we currently drink was being distilled, aged whisky stocks are starting to dwindle. NAS isn't a new thing, but with Macallan leading the way with a core series, and Glenfiddich following with a Global Travel Retail series, I think we'll start to see a lot more of this in 2014. I even think we could see a major blend move to NAS for at least one release in their core range.

    Will consumers take to it? Personally, I think so (having tasted the better The Macallan releases in the 1824 Series, I can confidently say NAS whiskies can still be fantastic drams. Just look at The Balvenie's TUN1401 and the prices it commands too).

  2. The rise of "New World" whiskies. Scotland, Ireland, USA. These are countries we expect to produce whisk(e)y. Australia, Taiwan, Sweden, New Zealand, India - these are (just a few of the many) countries that historically, we don't, but that we all now know make some fantastic whisky. I'm confident we'll see this trend continue, with new distilleries AND new countries making their mark on the global whisk(e)y scene.

    If I was to make a specific prediction, I'd say we'll see a rise in (quality, world-class) Indian whisky. India currently has 10+ distilleries, but only 2 producing world-class whisky that I'm aware of. 2014 could see a 3rd.

  3. Craft / quality Bourbon (and American whiskey in general) will grow in popularity in Australia. Australia is a nation that loves Bourbon, but typically mixes it with Coke. I think 2014 will start to see Bourbon being recognised by Australian drinkers as a quality sipping spirit, in much the same way Scotch has over the past few years. There's no shortage of great Bourbons available here - the general population just needs to realise that it doesn't always need to be mixed!

  4. Flavoured whiskies. I really hope I'm wrong with this one.

  5. Stronger whisky. I think we could see more and more "mainstream" whiskies moving up in ABV%, from 40 to 43%, 43 to 47%, with some moving even higher (not to SMWS-like levels, mind you).
Sarcastic / not so serious:
  1. An Australian whisky will win a global award, and we won't hear the end of it for months.
  2. The 2014 releases of Port Ellen and Pappy Van Winkle 23yo will cost an absurd amount, and will still sell out in minutes. My guess is £2,000 for Port Ellen, though £2,500 wouldn't surprise me.
  3. A new "world's most expensive / oldest" whisky will be released (and will probably taste like eating a chunk of wood).
  4. William Grant & Sons will release at least 3 new Global Travel Retail editions for 2014...and I'll try to buy them all.
  5. Jim Murray will make a controversial statement in 2014, everyone will talk about it, but deep down, no one will really care.
Let's see how this washes up in 12 months...

On a final note - however you're celebrating New Years, we hope you enjoy it (ideally with a dram in hand), and we'll see you in 2014! Thanks again for reading our ramblings throughout 2013, and hopefully you find it even more entertaining in 2014.


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