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ancient sherry butts and virgin oak Bourbon casks, they are an unrivalled
and unusual family of tastes, ages, flavours and personalities".
"Traditionally every malt whisky is chosen and vatted by one Malt
Master to their taste, but what if there were 20 Malt Masters? It was an
experiment in whisky personality," Kinsman commented.
The resulting liquid is refined and balanced, with candy floss sweetness
and a rich vanilla oakiness; deep and mellow, the initial sweetness is
complemented by unusual notes of toasted almonds, cinnamon and a hint
of crisp tannin. Perhaps more importantly, both of these whiskies -- the
XX and the IPA -- offer consumers something unique.
"New news is always a driver of interest and encourages
experimentation by whisky punters," Andrew Skehan, Marketing
Manager at William Grant & Sons Australia, told National Liquor
News. "The great thing about whisky is you can have more than one
bottle open at a time and enjoy the liquid that best suits the audience
"Consumers generally stick to a repertoire of brands and try new
variants with brands they trust, and shoppers shop via market leaders.
Given Glenfiddich's place in the Australian market, being a beacon brand
and calling out the 'most awarded' gives shoppers confidence to buy, be it
either by the core range or through our innovation with XX and IPA."
Another innovative product that's currently pushing boundaries in the
whisky world is Nomad Outland Whisky, a collaboration between renowned
Master Distiller Richard Paterson and expert sherry producers Gonzalez
Byass. Made with a selection of more than 30 malt and grain whiskies aged
between five and eight-years-old, the liquid is first blended together before
maturing in sherry butts in Scotland for three years. Then, the whisky is
shipped to Jerez in Spain, where it is finished in Pedro Ximenez casks for a
year before being bottled -- hence the 'Outland' in the whisky's name.
Joe Molinari from Combined Wines, which imports Nomad, says
that more and more drinkers are looking for difference and innovation,
especially given the overall trend towards premiumisation.
"It [premiumisation] is a factor in all segments of the spirit category,
but especially with Scotch as it had become very boring in its range as
the older targeted drinkers simply drank the same brands year after
year," Molinari says. "The younger drinkers coming into this segment are
looking for chance and a point of difference -- brands with a good taste,
package and interesting story.
"Blended offers a difference in taste for those that don't like the malt
flavour," Molinari continues. "I think the growth in single malt is due to
the fact that many consumers are under the impression that malt is best,
but will eventually realise that there is another dimension to flavours that
may suit them more."
Diageo will also be releasing two new experimental blended Scotches
in the off-premise in Australia over the next few months. While primarily
targeted at bartenders, the latest releases in the Johnnie Walker Blenders'
Batch Series, Espresso Roast and Rum Cask finish, have been crafted
by a small team of 12 passionate and skilled blenders under the expert
guidance of two-time Master Blender of the Year, Jim Beveridge.
Head of International Brands at Diageo, Jonathan Morgan said:
"Premium blended whisky sales in Australia have seen a jump of 7.5 per cent
in the last year, which shows the growth and opportunity in this market."
With whisky-based cocktails having experienced a surge in popularity in
premium bars worldwide, the Johnnie Walker Blenders' Batch Series has
been designed first and foremost to form the cornerstone of cocktails -- a
phenomenon that may well trickle down to at home cocktail mixologists.
TRIED AND TRUE
Of course, there's still plenty of room for age statement, high-end
whiskies as well. Glen Grant, the world's number five selling single malt
Scotch, recently took top honours in Jim Murray's latest Whisky Bible for
its range of aged single malt Scotches.
ADVICE FOR RETAILERS:
Andrew Skehan, Marketing Manager, William Grant & Sons: "1)
Opportunity to gain space/share from other categories that are less
profitable. 2) Increase ranging preferably through lighthouse/hero
brands. 3) Range rationalisation of the blended segment. 4) Ensuring
the right mix from regions. Speyside is the dominant region in Scotland
and this is not always reflected in retailers' ranges."
Nicole Stanners, Marketing Director, Campari Australia: "Single malt
Scotch is one of the highest dollar per litre categories within Glass
Spirits, offering retailers a lucrative opportunity if they can encourage
dark spirits shoppers to trade into it and ultimately through the category.
As single malt Scotch can be challenging to access based on its
complex liquid qualities and price, it's important to have age statements
that mitigate these barriers."
MT Jones, Group Brand Manager, Spirits Platform: "Trial is king.
The old industry catch phrase of 'liquid on lips' is incredibly potent
and plays an important part in the consumer journey and upselling. In
addition, retailers should be learning more about the whiskies on their
shelves. As the category grows and the range of brands on offer swells,
consumers will rely more and more on the retailer to guide them to the
Martin Lynch, Regional Manager Asia-Pacific, Teeling: "One of the
best pieces of advice I could give is the importance of getting 'liquid
on lips' through tastings. This can be highly effective as you will often
meet consumers who have a particular perception of Irish whiskey from
their experiences with one or two of the big brands and when they taste
something like a Teeling they are often really surprised and impressed,
leading them to pick up a bottle and tell their friends."
WHISK(E)Y -- SCOTCH & IRISH
A whiskey barrel at
Slane Distillery in Ireland.
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