If you’ve been enjoying the exclusive W Club Glenfarclas bottling then get set for a treat later this year when The Whisky Shop launches an exclusive BenRiach.
The new whisky is a big, rich shirred treat, and very lovely, according to Inverness whisky enthusiast Desmond Masson. And he should know – he helped to choose it.
Desmond, aged 55, won the chance to spend a day as a VIP guest at BenRiach and to help make the selection.
“It was a great day,” he says, “and I was amazed because I thought I would be just watching on but I was very much part of it. There were nine whiskies and my views were listened to and eventually the three of us chose the one that will be bottled for later in the year. It’s a 1977 Pedro Ximenez cask so it’s sherried and very lovely.”
Desmond has been a regular customer at the Inverness branch of The Whisky Shop for about two years and buys malt both to drink and collect.
“I drink whisky socially and I’m always looking for something different. I like to always have something special and interesting open. But also if I ever have some apart money then I’ll buy something to keep,” he says. “Most of the stuff I buy to collect is priced between £100 and £200 but I do have one or two special bottles. The Whisky Shop helped me get me a Dalmore Candela, for instance, and has just helped me to get a special Macallan from Germany.”
Desmond was already a big fan of The W Club before he won the BenRiach trip and is encouraging others to join.
“I understand The Whisky Shop chain is a retail business and doesn’t discount as some supermarkets do but as a W Club member I get 10 per cent off everything, and I can go along to an evening tasting where I’ll get five free whiskies and be under no obligation to buy anything. About 20 or 30 of us went to a great night at The Whisky Shop recently, with five whiskies, before going on to see The Angels’ Share. And our first whisky was a Balblair to tie in with the film. That was a fabulous night. That’s what i like about The Whisky Shop. I’m treated like a VIP customer whenever I go in.”
Andy Simpson reports on the latest auction news:
“Firstly, following on from my comments last week, it’s interesting to see the effect a flooded market has on bottles of whisky. The Macallan Easter Elchies Cask release sold at auction last week for the equivalent of its original £145 retail cost. Granted, it was the full sized bottle without the mini but that’s a completely different ball park to the first recorded sale of £345.
This years release of Springbank 21 year old is also seeing some cooling in values with a sale of £195 following its early peak of £275.
Onto other auction prices:
The Ardbeg 17 year old seems to be lifting back up a little with a sale of £190 being the highest recorded since October last year.
Another Ardbeg hit new highs last week with a bottle of ‘Almost There’ selling for just shy of £90. In 2008 these were changing hands at auction for £35 – £40.
Staying with LVMH, it’s good to see a new Glenmorangie record at £205 for the 1987 Managers Choice (bottled 2001). Might there be a more general upturn in older Glenmorangie prices? It would be nice to see.
Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix seems to have moved up to a consistent new trading level of around £100. That said, when there are a high number in the market at the same time, this bottle does experience significant price volatility and tends to see a downward spike to around £60.
The final bottle this week is the supremely divine Talisker 1981 20 year old (the one with the gold map of Skye on the label). This just goes to show how important the quality of the whisky is when looking at what to buy. Back in 2008, believe it or not, you could pick these up for well under £100. One sold over the weekend for £450! From memory, these bottles retailed for £70 which represents an increase of 543%. I was going to drink my last bottle but I think I’ll hang into it now!
There’s been much anticipation for two of the first heavily sought-after bottles of 2012.
The Macallan Easter Elchies Cask and the Balvenie Craftsman’s #1 have both been released and sold out faster than I can drink a dram of Port Ellen 1st Release! As would be expected, the secondary market is being flooded with both bottles. There’s almost a race to get the first bottles out to auction which is not particularly my thing but it makes some interesting auction watching!
• The Balvenie Cooper retailed at £65 and sold out within all but a day (great job from Balvenie as it was over £50 there was no extra charge for postage… very much appreciated). The price for this bottle seems to have levelled out at £200. This represents a good short term gain, however, I would see this bottle remaining at its current price for some time (at least until the oversupply calms down).
•The Macallan (released with a matching mini) was only available at the distillery and retailed for £145. The first two bottles (full sized with mini) to appear on the secondary/auction market sold for an impressive £335 and £345 respectively. Even the separate (free!) miniature has sold for as much as £110 on its own. As is to be expected, the market’s now being flooded and prices are tumbling. If you missed out initially and intend to buy one on the secondary market, hang fire for a while and wait for prices to come down to more sensible levels.
Other notable recent sales include:
• The fantastic Lagavulin 21 year old (6642 bottles released in 2007) topped £440 for the first time last week. At an original retail cost of £110, that’s a 300% gain over 5 years.
• The Bruichladdich ‘Laddieflu’ Valinch sold for £155. Interesting Valinch bottling as I understand only 40 or so were actually sold before the bottle was very tactfully pulled by the fine folk over at ‘Laddie.
• Whilst not UK records, there were a couple of good sales for Highland Park. The half sized Ambassador cask III went for £185 (previous ‘spike’ was up to £260) and a St Magnus Festival (one of 500 bottles released in 2006) sold for just shy of its previous best, realising £145… good growth from an original retail cost of £32.
• A final very special mention goes out to – NO NEW RECORDS SET BY THE RARE MALTS SELECTION! – I think it’s the first week in 18 months I’ve not seen a Rare Malts Selection bottle break a record, having said that, there were very few sold last week.
Next week sees Mulberry Bank Auctions and McTears on Wednesday the 28th. Real shame both these auctions are on the same day. On a positive note (whilst I appreciate commission bids and internet bidding will happen) there might be the odd bargain here and there! Here’s hoping…
You know Richard Paterson’s in town as soon as you walk through the door. Party poppers go off, there are screams of delight and then Richard’s rumble rules the room.
the Nth Whisky Show Live, March 2, 2012