An age statement is a very valuable and useful indicator of value. Never confuse value with preference. When a premium price is demanded, the consumer is entitled to know what might have driven the value. Time drives value and increases rarity so age is one (acceptable) answer to the consumer. We dismiss (authentic) age statements at our peril because multinationals are only too happy to sell us perceived value over real value - think vodka. Lifestyle brands over authentic brands. It is more profitable.
Age statements in rum have been shamelessly corrupted - from outright false to downright misleading. The proliferation of corrupt age statements should not diminish the value of real age statements. Quite the contrary, shun the 'frauds' and invest in real value.
Never combine the use of 'new barrels' with quality and value. Refill barrels have an equal or sometimes more important role to play in spirit making. A seasoned used barrel is not available 'off the shelf, it has to be created. It is not like a second hand car, it may even be a classic. It is an irreplaceable part of the spirit maker's wood library.
Moreover, there is a beautiful world of aged, yet distillate driven spirits to be appreciated and those are not made with new barrels.