NAS vs. Age Statement Blind Tasting Challenge: Glen Moray 12yo vs. Port Cask Finish

Blind Tasting Challenge - NAS vs. age statementIn early 2015 whisky blogger and malt maniac Oliver Klimek set out to do a wide-scale comparison between NAS and age statement expressions, all done blind and with 35 tasters per pair of whisky. The results are very interesting with a near-draw between the entry-level malts and their NAS counterparts. Head over to his site dramming.com for all details on the challenge and the results!

Here are my original tasting notes on the first pair of whiskies: The Glen Moray 12yo vs. their NAS Port Cask Finish edition. All notes are original as written during the blind tasting phase.

A1A: Glen Moray Port Cask Finish
Distillery: Glen Moray
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 2014 – 2015
Age: NAS
Limitation: –
Casks: Port Cask Finish
Alcohol: 40%
chill filtered; probably coloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
pale straw
The nose opens very light and shy. Predominately vanilla (pudding) and honey. Some light fruit notes as well – fresh grapes, red apples, banana chips, freshly squeezed oranges. The alcohol is noticeable (a eucalyptus note) but I wouldn’t put it at more than 40% ABV due to the very light nose, it would benefit from more oomph. The fruity notes fade over time and reveal a more malty side. The palate is equally light – 40% ABV, not 1% more. Some sweet vanilla pudding, sweetened apple juice, grapes, red apples, gooseberries, a light maltiness, faint spices (cloves, cinnamon) and a wee note of yeast- an unassuming mix of light fruits and light sweetness. No metallic youth to be detected here – is this the one with the age statement? The medium long finish starts sweet and slightly spicy, lots of vanilla, a bit drying with a yeasty aftertaste.
Verdict:
As unassuming and pleasant as can be at the same time. A standard supermarket entry-level malt designed not to overwhelm anybody. Doesn’t have much to offer for the advanced malthead, but it’s a pleasantly quaffable dram.
Score: 76/100
(Nose: 78 Palate: 76 Finish: 75)

A1B: Glen Moray 12yo
Distillery: Glen Moray
Bottler: Official Bottling
Distilled: –
Bottled: ca. 2014 – 2015
Age: 12y
Limitation: –
Casks: –
Alcohol: 40%
chill filtered; probably coloured
Whiskybase link

Tasting notes:
Colour:
light gold
The nose is even lighter than in sample A1A. A bit darker, maltier in appearance. Slight vanilla, malt, wood honey, hints of spices and darker fruits might mean there’s some ex-sherry casks involved, but it is but a very faint note. Not much going on here at all. The palate is sweeter than sample A1a, a bit richer with a mix of malt, blood oranges and a potpourri of dark fruits. Definitely at 40% as well, but with a bit more bite to it – I’m guessing this is the NAS dram. A slight oaky touch too, maybe a short finish in a sherry cask? The medium long finish is a bit more nippy as well, slightly richer and sweeter, oilier with malt, yeast and a hint of oak at the end.
Verdict:
A younger malt then A1A. Lighter on the nose, too light for my personal preference. Overall sweeter in style, either finished in a sherry cask or with some sherry matured whisky in the mix. Despite the oak notes it feels younger and more immature than A1A. Just like the previous dram, it’s a very light entry level dram, nothing really bad about it – it’s just not that interesting or complex.
Score: 74/100
(Nose: 72 Palate: 75 Finish: 76)

Afterthoughts:
Well, in this case the Port finished version won, due to the additional layer of depth provided by the few months in different wood. Both are fairly light and unassuming, though.

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