Now, for a laugh, I was just going to leave this page with just the word “Ardbeg” and leave it at that but that would be a little unfair.
For a start Ardbeg are owned by a much bigger player and like most distilleries nowadays are only doing as they’re told from their paymasters but can we really blame the owning companies and distilleries for making hay whilst the sun shines?
I don’t really remember the days when they couldn’t give whisky away, distilleries being closed left right and centre and bare in mind that Ardbeg and Bruichladdich to name but two were on their arse and nearly gone so fairs fair but it really does get on my tits when we see prices soaring and quality decreasing all whilst special limited editions are released, and by limited I mean limited in the loosest possible sense, inviting collectors to spunk hundreds on bottles every other week.
The Ardbeg 21 is a collector and flippers wet dream, the last 21 year old Ardbeg was released in 2001 and this latest offering would almost certainly feature whisky created when the company was in a quasi hibernation but if you’re only allowed two bottles how come there are folk on social media offering more? And of course for several hundred pounds over the initial price.
It’s taking the piss and it means unless you’re sitting waiting on the website to go live, crash and then go live again you’ve got no chance of getting some bottles.
So we can’t blame the distilleries for doing as their paymasters demand and we can’t blame giant corporations for doing exactly what they have always done which is to say make as much as money as they can forever regardless of the customer and actual quality so what about the collectors and flippers then?
I think most people reading this will have a whisky collection of some sort or another as do I, it’s the sheer casual need to keep buying whisky even though I don’t need too because of the amount of swaps and samples I receive, I could stop buying now and not even need to open another bottle for a couple of years and if I stopped buying whisky I’d have enough to last me until about 2030.
Okay, fair enough I do have a few bottles of rare stuff and limited editions I’ve bought to hopefully share with my daughter one day, she’s 4, and I tend to buy bottles from Compass Box and Balcones for future drinking and of course I keep buying my old blends from auction with every other bottle turning out to be superb but when I see something reduced to clear in the supermarket or even with a good offer I pick it up, do I need another Highland Park 12? No, will I buy one the next time I see it for under twenty five quid? Yes, probably and I certainly don’t need to see any bottles of Glenlivet 12 for under twenty notes but I dare say if I do see it then I’ll buy it, because I can’t help myself.
And then you have the proper collectors, the term completionist comes from video games, it means someone who needs to do every side quest, get every piece or armour etc but it’s become a common word for anyone who needs every thing of whatever thing it is they collect and I’ve seen that and don’t have a problem with it although again I think it’s a shame that there are millions of bottles of whisky lying on shelves not being consumed or even likely to be, these people are often the ones who end up paying way over the odds for special bottles they can’t get in their home countries.
And then of course you have the investors, fuck them, they buy whisky purely to sell on in the future, sometimes the same day, as we’ve just seen with the Ardbeg 21 where bottles were on sale for three or four times the list price minutes after the bottle was actually put on sale. These people artificially keep the prices high to protect their investment and the companies see this and know they’ll make money off the back of these bastards and the circle of flipping and investors starts again.
I genuinely feel for the real whisky fans, the ones who love a certain distillery and are now priced out of limited editions because they don’t use automated sniper software to purchase multiple bottles within seconds of release because they aren’t dicks but until the arse falls out of the whisky investor market this will keep happening and all the rest of can do is sit and watch with amazement as prices continue to rise.