There’s a common assumption that older whisky is more expensive because of the costs of maturation for additional decades. This my friends is utter rubbish. Whilst there are of course outlays involved, the cost of storing a cask over a long period is negligible. It sits in a warehouse (which the distillery has already built) quietly, occasionally being assessed both structurally and internally. The price of older whisky is based purely around the opportunity cost of not bottling that liquid earlier, the notion of it being a more limited commodity and, most importantly, the cachet of those who want to buy something ‘old’. So when Aldi releases a 29 year old whisky for less than £40, folks might start to wonder what witchcraft is at play.
When the Internet isn’t being utilised for cat photos or porn, it is by and large an echo chamber. You hear what you want to hear, you see what you want to see. There’s some truth in that for whisky also – whilst the folks I regularly engage with are switched-on, clued-up and usually non-partisan about their brown liquids – when I step outside this ‘comfort’ zone, it’s a different story. The Interwebs are of course packed full of armchair experts with little to no knowledge, but plenty of in-built prejudices. And some of the most common fallacies that are raised time and time again revolve around blends and blended malts.
The Commonwealth Games have taken place every four years (except 1942 and 1946) since their introduction in 1930. The 1986 games were the second to be held in Edinburgh (also 1970), but were tarnished by a much-reduced athlete participation. 32 of the 59 eligible countries opted to boycott the 86’ games due to Margaret Thatchers’ policy of maintaining sporting links with apartheid supporting countries such as South Africa at that time. Reduced participation equated to a decline in sponsorship and broadcasting revenues with a net result of a £4.3m deficit. Nevertheless, more cheery things came out of the 86’ games including today’s rather unusual, but frankly superb whisky produced specially for the games.
Present most enthusiasts with an unidentified bottling and, likely before even tasting the liquid, their thoughts will focus on ascertaining the distillery of origin. It’s human nature. As much as we all like being presented with a mystery, most of us like to solve said mystery. Anonymous whiskies are part and parcel of the independent bottling world – some distilleries – oft-times the larger ones – like to keep their brand closely controlled. It’s understandable – especially when it comes to the vagaries of single casks.
Door No.5 and Boutique-y are having fun with their tea spoon again. This blended malt is composed of 99.9% single malt from a ‘famous Speyside distillery’. So whilst the label indicates a blended malt, and technically it is, for practical purposes the 0.01% tea spoon is not going to have any discernible impact on the original single malt contents of this bottle. It’s 19 years old and is delivered at an ABV of 50.2%.
Today is a mini milestone for The Dramble - our 500th review. Golly, where does time fly? It’s been an amazing 18 months for myself and Danny, and we’d like to thank you all for the support, encouragement and feedback you’ve provided on the journey so far.
1970’s distillate is held up to a higher level of esteem than it often warrants – despite there being just as many disappointments and failures as there are today. Like fine wine, good cheese and fond memories, the things we remember positively seem to only get better with age and time. Socioemotional selectivity, usually the purview of psychologists, has developed a little niche in the whisky world – rather than looking at a period of distilling history as a whole, enthusiasts tend to either recall particularly memorable bottlings, or assimilate the general viewpoint that ‘things were better then’. Nevertheless, this period in time did produce some particularly fine whiskies – and it also reflected a different viewpoint in terms of the balance between spirit and cask.
Black Friday - unofficially the beginning of the Christmas season, now more commonly recognised as the one day of the year that most personifies the good-will, humility and frugality of the human race. Scenes of stampeding frenzied shoppers flattening each other to sate their inante bargain-hunting mentality have always rather baffled me, whilst at the same time provided a timely reminder of just how astute George A. Romero’s 1978 film Dawn of the Dead really was/is. Fortunately for us, the world of whisky doesn’t tend to devolve in to a sadistic version of supermarket sweep all that often – indeed, The Whisky Exchange are looking to bring us something altogether more sophisticated for this year's annual celebration of consumerism.
October - and already my parents were asking me what my wife and I wanted for Christmas. It’s a commonly held belief that retailers gear up for Christmas earlier each year in what’s been termed “Christmas Creep” – early advertising to gain visual impact and competitive advantage. The truth of the matter however is that whilst Christmas has undoubtedly become more commercialised, the extended shopping period has existed for over a Century. TV adverts from big retailers have all started to air between 6th-12th November for well over a decade. Perhaps it’s just their increasingly saccharine heart-string tone that makes us feel like we’ll be continually shafted by John Lewis until we lay in our death beds?