By Rob Allanson

Editor's Word

There has been a lot of chatter on the social media sites recently about Diageo’s latest addition to the Talisker line up, and it throws up that age old topic of age statements, good or bad?

It looks like the no age statement Storm expression has got the blogging world in a bit of a lather and of course two camps have emerged. Surely this is just a storm in a teacup? The excuse to drag out old arguments and pontificate away.

So what is the real issue at work here? Is it because Diageo has released another non-age statement whisky?

This argument, whether older is better, can run and run but I do think there is an element of misunderstanding here.

All those self righteous mutterings about older is better…time to wake up and realise that young whisky can be utterly brilliant. I will admit it can be utterly rubbish too, but then so can an older whisky spoilt by spending too long in the oak. We all know that a good whisky depends less on its age and more on the quality of the cask it matures in.

Let’s face it, young whisky should not be mellow, it should be challenging, vibrant and bruising. What it should be is balanced though, walking that fine line between oak and distillery character.

All this argument does is denigrate anything that does not carry an age statement as inferior whisky. Given that the world is waking up to making whisky, from Australia to America, Europe to Asia, dismissing young, or no age statement, whisky risks missing out on some stunners.

Being rather fortunate in my position, I have tried whisky from the new make stage up to some serious ages from across the world, and it all comes back to how it is looked after and crafted, not what age it is.

Releasing a no age statement makes perfect sense these days. It allows for easier stock management at a time when whisky is really taking off, putting pressure on maturing stock. It also allows distillers and blenders to play with their liquid creations unconstrained by having to adhere to an age bracket.

I think some of this is also fuelled by a certain amount of snobbery and one-upmanship, especially when it comes to the single malts; I mean no one seems to bat and eyelid when a blend is released without an age statement. It comes down to "I am drinking an older and better whisky than you" and "mine is rarer and therefore more interesting." This for me utterly misses the point of whisky -friendship, enjoyment and creating memories.

For me whisky has to be about the stories and experiences you connect to it. I often bring home stones home from trips as memory markers. Whisky has the ability to do the same thing. It helps with those "remember when...” moments in life.

Changing tack, those of you that read this column regularly will know I don't often comment on what's actually in the magazine; time to be different. What you have in this edition is one of the biggest magazines we have printed to date, and we have increased the price a little to reflect this. Packed with all our awards coverage it should keep you busy and entertained for hours.

I hope you enjoy it.