Ridiculously expensive whiskies have just about jumped the shark
I try to be open-minded and cover all whiskies, regardless of price or category. Some of you give me a hard time for writing about whiskies you can’t afford, while others (as demonstrated in our most recent post on craft distillers making “moonshine“) complain when we cover the opposite end of the spectrum.
That’s okay. I’m a big boy. I can take it.
You can rest assured, knowing that the majority of the whiskies we write about and review are whiskies that most of you can afford. Whisky still is, after all, an affordable luxury.
Well, most whisky, that is. Even I am surprised by the proliferation–no, make that competition–by the whisky companies to see how fancy–and expensive–they can make a bottle of whisky these days. I mean, every major brand seems to have thrown their hand-blown glass, silver-lined, diamond-studded hat in the ring, including Glenmorangie, Ardbeg, Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, Macallan, Johnnie Walker, and Dalmores (plural). I’m sure there are more brands we could include here, but these are the ones that came immediately to mind.
And this craze seems to be getting more prolific. Just within the past few days I’ve been sent press releases for a 1970 Vintage Extraordinary Cask Glenrothes ($5,000), a 70 year old Gordon & MacPhail Glenlivet ($35,888 CAN), and–you better sit down–a Bowmore 1957 54 year old release which will sell for around $155,000. (I’m not picking on these three brands, specifically. They just happened to be the the most recent three. This is a industry-wide issue.)
Okay, I’ve always felt that I don’t care if a whisky company comes out with a ridiculously expensive whisky, as long as they still sell good quality, affordable whiskies for us 99.99%ers. I understand why they might want to create a fancy whisky to commemorate a special occasion, and I’m proud of those companies who tie in a charity component to it. But, it’s gotten to the point where my eyes begin to glaze over when I get a press release on a new whisky that’s priced like a car. Or house! It’s just not cool anymore–especially given the economic woes most of us still struggle with.
Careful, whisky producers. You are very close to jumping the shark. (For me, anyway.)
These older whiskies don’t need to be this expensive. It’s the packaging and marketing that drives the whisky from an affordable luxury for many of us to just display items for the very rich. Take Glenfarclas, for example. They came out with a delicious 40 year old whisky a little while ago for only about $460, not $4,600. It was packaged in their standard Glenfarclas bottle format.
Tell me about a great whisky at an affordable price. That will never go out of fashion. And I will shout it from the highest mountaintops.