A New Whisky Crisis Looms – Scotch Distillers Running Out Of Names

by Oliver Klimek on October 30, 2014

We haven’t quite digested yesterdays’ news of Diageo freezing some of their expansion investements yet, and now another blow is hitting the Scotch whisky industry. The names for Scotch whisky are running out faster than expected.

The first sign of the crisis was overlooked by many, when Ardmore announced their new Legacy bottling that is destined to replace the successful Traditional Cask. Only a few whisky geeks remembered that Tomatin had launched a bottle with the same name back in March.

But yesterday events culminated in a climactic product launch by The Glenlivet. To celebrate 1 million sold cases in the past 12 months the Founder’s Reserve was introduced, a No Age Statement whisky that will sell for around £30. Nobody present at the launch event knew for certain if Glenlivet were aware of the fact that there is already a Founder’s Reserve by Glen Garioch on the market. But what stupefied all in the room was the fact that Glenlivet had already launched a whisky named Founder’s Reserve in 2011 to commemorate their distillery expansion.

The naming problem of the Scotch whisky industry is made staggeringly obvious here. There simply are not enough names around for the ever increasing number of NAS whiskies the producers have been unveiling in recent years at a frantic pace.

Experts of the Munich Rubble Plain Institute For Guessing The Future Of The Whisky Market have calculated that if distillers keep on launching NAS bottlings at the current rate, multiple name occurences will become the norm by late 2017 and the last unique non-Gaelic whisky name will be used up by early to mid 2019. Computer models are still undecided if “Collector’s Reserve” or “Investor’s Reserve” will come last, but with a 99%+ certainty, a “Janitor’s Reserve” will come onto the whisky market shortly before these two.

The reservoir of Gaelic names for Scotch whisky will be able to extend the grace period for about another 18 months. But by the end of 2020, previously used names will have to be recycled over and over again.

It is still time to act. But we need to act fast and determined.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

kallaskander October 30, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Hi there,

Founders Reserve… in memoriam and to honour the now extinct

Balvenie 10 yo Founders Reserve ?

What a Select Tradtional Legacy.

Greetings
kallaskander

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sk October 30, 2014 at 3:01 pm

Indeed this is very serious.
HP has already exchausted all the Norse gods.
Tal has exhausted anything to do with weather..

Perhaps they should switch to other theologies now. Roman, Greek etc

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two-bit cowboy October 30, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Legacy must be in high demand. Tomatin has already changed to Dualchas [cultural heritage or “legacy”] for the USA market thanks to copyright issues. Makes you wonder whether Ardmore will encounter the same problem, or perhaps did Beam hold the copyright prior to Tomatin releasing the whisky?

BenRiach’s already gone Latin: Curiositas, Arumaticus Fumosus, and the lot? But wait, all of those also have age statements so they must not count.

Ah, but there’s still hope for more Gaelic names. Bunnahabhain’s new NAS peated whisky will be Ceòbanach [kyaw-bin-och] or “smoky mist”.

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Gal Granov October 30, 2014 at 4:49 pm

it’s time they tried using Hebrew names 😉 we’re distant relatives of the Gaelic language, aren’t we?

Meet the Ardbeg “Yofi” (beauty)
and the Laphraoig “Otzma” (power)

and maybe the bowmore : “Ashan” (smoke)

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Reb Mordechai July 14, 2015 at 8:16 am

The new NAS Caol Ila – “Chas VeChalila”

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Jeff October 30, 2014 at 8:09 pm

But as Diageo’s Nick Morgan has pointed out about NAS itself, “frankly it’s less about running out of stock, than running out of numbers”, so I’m sure the industry will find some inventive way of weathering this storm as well.

Your call to action is well founded, however; it’s just too bad that it isn’t a call to end NAS through boycott, because that would actually help consumers. But it is a good piece nonetheless and, in the spirit of truth in advertising, I have an NAS name for the industry to use: Deamhsadh (“the Fleecing”).

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MargareteMarie October 31, 2014 at 10:11 am

I like the name. You know exactly what to expect!

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richard October 31, 2014 at 2:14 pm

I’m surprised you didn’t comment on the “Doublewood” feud between Balvenie abd The New Zealand Whisky Company. It’s not like you to shy away from controversy. (My thoughts; shame on Grants )

I actually enjoy the names with reference to a background story. Scottish heritage and national landmarks are prefered . I’m waiting to see who comes out with a Brownie of Blednoch to rival the Cu Bocan.

Rick

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Pat November 5, 2014 at 4:34 pm

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a Select Doublewood Non-Chill-Filtered Cast Strength ex-Bourbon ex-Sherry ex-Port Finished Peaty Special Founders Edition Collectors Reserve Special Single Malt.

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Jeff November 8, 2014 at 5:21 am

You the man, Pat! – and well read, too! Mr. Age Statement – he dead!

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Cigar Inspector November 11, 2014 at 11:28 pm

I vote for unpronouncable Gaelic names that are equally impossible to spell.

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