Friday 9 October 2009

Premium bottlings

Following my post of yesterday, I have had a long intercourse with a couple of my students about whether or not a bottling such as Glengoyne 40 Years Old is at £3,750.00 per bottle value for money. One argued that the value of the liquid wasn't in question, but that most whisky drinkers would prefer to buy the whisky in an ordinary bottle, then they would be able to drink it. To buy a bottling in an expensive decanter with its wooden box and associated add ons just gives items which the drinker doesn't need - or want, he argued.
The other side was also put, by me, that the bottlers are making a statement in wrapping their superlative product in crystal and adding on extras, such as a booklet detailing what was happening in the world on the day that the whisky was distilled. And then cocooning it in a highly polished container.
The bottle which started all this is in the attached image.

Monday 5 October 2009

Wigtown Book Festival

Just back from Wigtown and the Wigtown Book Festival, and, more specifically, Whisky & Words, a festival within a festival.
I was doing a tasting at midnight on 1st October and launching Bladnoch 8 years old, the oldest bottling produced by the distillery's current management and a pretty wonderful glassful, see my tasting notes.
The midnight tasting was titled "Flavours of Whisky" and is the content of a project I am currently working on. Being midnight, there was not a great turnout, but they were very receptive and some had not experienced such an event before.
As it was the first time I had delivered this presentation, I wasn't sure how it would work out, but it went very well indeed. Tying the various whiskies in with the characters of flavour which I find in them. The revelation for me was the marriage of Caol Ila 12 yo with freshly sliced oranges. It was magnificent.
The event was also attended by Gavin Smith, Hans & Becky Offringa (the Whisky Couple), Charlie Maclean, Neil Wilson, Ian Buxton, Richard Paterson, David Wishart, Helen Arthur and Tom Morton. We had a great time. It was the first time that the whisky festival side of it had run, although the book festival is now into its tenth year and it may be run again in 2011, setting a timetable as a biannual event. There was not a high attendance for some of the events, but the calibre of those who attended was high. Word will spread!
Tasted Dutch Whisky for the first time thanks to Hans, from Zuidam Distillers in Baarle Nassau - again see my tasting notes.