Whisky Advocate

And you complained about White Bowmore being expensive…

September 10th, 2008

The 1964 Vintage White Bowmore has an excellent pedigree and tastes great too. But $6,000 is a lot of money for a bottle of whisky.

How about more than twice that amount for a new 1964 Balvenie?

I just read this in AnTara News — Indonesia:

On 1st September, the family-owned Speyside distillery will release The Balvenie 1964 Single Malt Scotch Whisky — perfect for the more discerning malt connoisseur. Bottled exclusively for duty free retailer Sky Connection and available only at Hong Kong International Airport, each bottle is priced at HK$108,000 [7,100 GBP / $14,200 USD]. This unique cask, Number 10378 from 1964, has matured to perfection at The Balvenie Distillery, and is extremely rare, offering connoisseurs a whisky of a lifetime.

The 1964 cask, personally selected by The Balvenie Malt Master, rested in a single oak cask for over 40 years at The Balvenie Distillery in Speyside, Scotland. With only 151 bottles forthcoming, The Balvenie 1964 is a beautifully crafted rarity.

Looks like the sky is the limit right now. Wasn’t real estate like this three years ago? And tech stocks about eight years ago?

8 Responses to “And you complained about White Bowmore being expensive…”

  1. Brian says:

    Maybe, but the exposure would be limited since the supply is so limited. These rare and expensive bottles are only really available to a few hundred people at each release. Contrast that with the American housing market which (according to 2005 figures) includes 124 million properties,which grew by 7 million in four years. And while it takes 40+ years for a distillery to make one of the headlining releases, securities can be created out of thin air and traded in an instant.

    High-end whisky trade is more like the art market. It’s a relatively small sector of the economy but it’s populated by highly specialized experts who are paid by extremely weathly clients. It’s a very juicy customer base if you’re a whisky company.

  2. John Hansell says:

    Brian, excellent point.

  3. Tony Menechella says:

    I would have to agree with Brian, but with one exception. Unlike art, isn’t whisky supposed to be crafted for people to taste and enjoy?? I’m not a collector, but like the majority of people reading this, I have some collectible whisky, which I plan to savor and enjoy over as long a time as possible. And as Brian mentions, there is a juicy customer base for these rare and quite expensive limited releases. But for the majority of us that can’t possible afford these, it gets a little disheartening to see them bought up only to keep changing hands over time. I can’t help but wonder if some of the collectors out there even realize what they’re missing out on??

  4. sam k says:

    More money than brains, my mom always said…

  5. I have to agree with Tony M. I buy whisky to drink it. I will even drink something that is very collectible — and share it with my friends (I’m no millionaire, but some of my stuff is no longer available at any price, so I really treasure each sip, and I drink it knowing full well that that portion is gone forever).

    An important dimension of my enjoyment of whisky is the social aspect. I share my whisky with friends, and they do the same. We all learn. If I had enough money that I would consider buying this special product, I’d treat it the same. This whisky wasn’t made by skilled craftsmen from the finest ingredients, carefully tended for decades, and selected for bottling at just the right time, to be trapped in a bottle sitting on someone’s shelf where no one can enjoy it. My $0.02.

  6. John Hansell says:

    Thomas, I look at whisky the same way you do. As you might expect, I have some special bottles of whisky–some open, other not yet opened. But I rarely have a dram from one of my special whiskies if I am drinking alone. I pull out the really special stuff when I have friends over who will appreciate the experience with me. Good things in life are meant to be shared.

    But one thing is for certain: my goal is to have nothing but empty bottles by the time I die. I may have bottles that are not yet opened, but it is just a matter of time until I get to them.

  7. Suckered says:

    I do not agree with comparing Whisky to art. Maybe to wine but not art. I would never pay $6000 for a lithograph, that is what collecting whisky is, there are no one of a kind pieces, with the exception to the Macallan 1942 which now there are 2 left in the known world…
    I do purchase these “collection” Pieces from time to time but the proliferation of prices of these bottles is completely out of hand to the point of reducing my purchases from 3-6 of these a year to maybe one a year? (i did buy the Black Bowemore). I also don’t fit the wealthy client mold as i am solidly in the middle class yet i still purchase these whiskies. Price must be dictated by quality plus rarity not just rarity which is now the norm. and my goal with whisky is similar to Patek Phillipe “you don’t own it. you are holding it for your grandchildren” I want them to enjoy whisky distilled 75-100 years before they were born.

  8. John Hansell says:

    I want to be your grandson!!

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