By Sacha Delfosse
It's rubbish to suggest a whisky has to be ten years of age before it's ready for consumption, according to the founder one of Scotland's newest distilleries.
Anthony Wills (pictured), who founded Kilchoman Distillery in 2005, this week said many distilleries are now releasing younger single malts that are "very youthful, vibrant and of good quality".
At a tasting event at Sydney's Oak Barrel on Monday, he said the belief that the longer a single malt is aged, the better it will be is misleading.
"We are not suggesting for a minute that our three-to-four year old is better than a ten or 12 year old, but it shows a lot of promise, it's got a lot of character and it's rubbish to suggest it has to be ten years of age before you drink it," he said.
"The old adage is age matters, but older isn't always better, you are just going to pay more for it.
"Sometimes you are going to get an absolute gem… but sometimes you will buy something and it won't deliver what you expect."
Wills, whose boutique distillery is the first to be built on Islay in 124 years, said Kilchoman is holding as much stock back as it can afford to for the purpose of maturing it, but even then the aim is not to let it age for too long.
"Our mature stock is not going to go on maturing forever and a day," he said.
"The majority of it is going to be sold between 7 and 12 years, there won't be much older than that. That's not because we need to sell it for the money, it's because it's so attractive at this stage that we won't need much more maturation to round it off."
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Wills said the main message he is trying to get across to people is that they should choose their single malt whisky based on the reputation of the brand and not just on the age statement.
"Age doesn't bloody matter. Really what we are targeting is whisky enthusiasts and trying to get our whisky in front of them and get them to try it."