If you purchase whisky solely yearly for Burns Evening, you could be in for a shock when scouring the cabinets to your favorite model: a 16-year-old Lagavulin, for instance, now prices about £70. You may get the sweeter, much less complicated eight-year-old – a type of Lagavulin-lite, if you’ll – for about £57, however the 12-year-old is now a £129.49 special release as of late.
Granted, you’ll be able to nonetheless decide up own-label whiskies and family names comparable to Whyte & Mackay and Well-known Grouse for about £20 (costs differ vastly, so it’s value buying round), however go for extra upmarket “expressions”, and also you’ll pay a great deal extra. Johnnie Walker’s Black Label, for example, is £20 in Asda on the time of writing (and £30 at Sainsbury’s), however confuse it with Blue Label, and will end up shelling out over 150 quid.
The whisky market has turn out to be all about what’s euphemistically referred to as premiumisation – ie, making it far more costly. That’s partly about rarity: previous casks are finite, which makes them extremely collectable and a great funding at a time when rates of interest have been at a historic low. The common per-bottle value final 12 months was £426.58, in response to Rare Whisky 101 (which, by the way, categorises something below £1,000 as “more affordable”). Market chief Johnnie Walker’s Pittyvaich, for instance, from its Ghost and Uncommon vary of bottlings from closed distilleries, fetches between £229 and £275, which makes the bottles in at the moment’s decide look comparatively affordable. Macallan, which has lengthy been a collector’s merchandise, fetches many occasions that for its new Red Collection, which ranges from £11,300-£65,500.
The opposite large driver of whisky costs are the more and more refined oak therapies at present in vogue. There’s a trend for uncommon finishes, such because the three completely different sorts of barrels used to make the Isle of Raasay’s single malt, and together with the on-trend chinquapin, a species of white American oak (that’s one thing to drop into dialog with a whisky geek).
That stated, there may be worth available, should you search for it. I just lately got here throughout the Australian-owned Bladnoch, whose head distiller used to work for Macallan and whose wonderful sherry and bourbon cask-aged Vinaya (46.7%) is currently on offer for £38.99 at House of Malt, making it fairly a bit cheaper than these produced by his alma mater. I additionally just like the Pure Scot in at the moment’s decide, which is a well timed reminder of simply how good a mix – and a modest ABV – might be.
5 special-occasion drams for Burns Evening
Ardbeg Wee Beastie five-year-old Islay single malt £38 Tesco (or £33 with a Clubcard), 47.4%. Who may resist a bottle with a reputation like this? Full-throttle, iodiny Islay.
anCnoc Highland single malt 12-year-old £32.05 Master of Malt, 40%. A extra delicate, restrained model of malt, redolent of heather honey.
Pure Scot Signature Blended Scotch Whisky £32.99 House of Malt, £39.95 Master of Malt, 40%. Wealthy, characterful, and with a beautiful, caramelised pear fruitiness that reminds you of the virtues of a mix.
Isle of Raasay Hebridean single malt R-02 £48.95 The Whisky Exchange, 46.4%. Much less peaty than an Islay, however intriguingly complicated due to the intelligent use of various Bordeaux and American whisky casks. One in every of my favorite whiskies of 2021.
Glen Marnoch 12-year-old Speyside single malt £19.99 Aldi, 40%. A traditional, crowd-pleasing, award-winning whisky that does precisely what it says on the tin and is tough to beat for worth.
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