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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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Most Recent Whisky Review

Kilchoman Sanaig

I am a big fan of sherry cask aged and finished Islay whisky (Bowmore 15 The Darkest is still all time Top 10 for me) and so I was looking forward to this 46% ABV no age statement expression from Islay's youngest distillery (but not for much longer!). The nose is classic "bonfire on the beach" with some cooked fruits as well.  The taste is very sweet with caramel, vanilla toffee, green apples and of course some peat which then goes on to dominate the finish while some tannin Sherry notes also push through drying the mouthfeel.  With water the sweetness turns to brown sugar and the peat turns more smokey; hot and peppery on the palate.  It is good but the sherry feels held  back rather than forward on this one.

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  • Sunday, 08 January 2012 21:28

    Dalmore 1926 Goes on Sale for EU 250,000 while Whyte and Mackay Profits Plunge… Surely a Coincidence?

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    One whisky story (actually two) caught my attention over the holiday season.  My first reaction was to ignore them, but like so many slightly irritating things, by leaving it alone the itch just grew and grew and in the end I had no choice but to scratch (and write this). 

    First l became aware that Dalmore had released a single bottle of a 1926 vintage whisky for the staggering price of 250,000 EU.  One quarter of a million Euros for a single bottle of whisky!  I can buy one bottle of Ardbeg Alligator for $100, and I suggest that it is highly unlikely this Dalmore actually tastes 2,500 times better than that Ardbeg.  OK, so Dalmore throw in a 1.83 carat diamond in the stopper –deduct $60,000 or so – which means the actual whisky is only 1,900 times more expensive than the Ardbeg.  I haven't tasted it of course (and never will) but I seriously doubt it is worth it.   I have written (ranted) about whisky pricing and speculation before and will not repeat myself here and if that had been the only story I would not even have mentioned it. But then I saw that the Dalmore's parent company, Whyte and Mackay, reported a significant drop in year over year profits.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/company-news/whyte-and-mackay-not-for-sale-despite-profits-plunge.16250673

    The Whyte and Mackay position is that they are investing in promoting their premium brands and that is why their profits have dropped, a short term dip while they refocus their business.  I am sure (and hope) that is the case but this to me, as a business person first and a whisky aficionado second, is a red flag.  I happen to think their blends and the Jura and Dalmore single malts (the ones that cost $100 or less) are great value whiskies.    To my mind all whisky is luxury product, no-one has to buy a bottle of whisky, and certainly none of the whisky people I know are multi millionaires who will be willing or even able to spend 250K on a bottle.  Whisky lovers simply wants good product at a reasonable and fair price (taking into consideration this is often a hand crafted, artisan product).  I believe if Whyte and Mackay focus on producing good, accessible whiskies I am sure they will be successful.  If this business "re-focus" goes towards more of the "ultra premium" brand stuff and 250,000 Euro bottles with 1.83 carat diamond stoppers, I suspect this may not be the last we hear of their financial concerns.

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