Let’s face it most bloggers that spend enough time and energy on their hobby to garner some read solid readership numbers will begin to open up opportunities to drink more and more expensive whiskies.
As a consumer on the other side of your electronic medium of choice do you get excited about reading insights into especially rare or expensive drams? Or do you find it irrelevant when you can neither afford it or find it on shelves.
As someone who has been in and around the industry for over a decade I have of course had access to some pretty amazing whisky. Most of the expensive bottles that have found their way into my home have been sourced via channels that would normally be well above my current pay grade. For me one important question I ask myself when reviewing a whisky is if I could see myself shelling out hard earned dollars to add said bottle to my collection.
I can see that writing about super rare and expensive whiskies actually does a lot to help those agonizing over a purchase to consider whether or not to take the plunge. Rare and older whiskies are always expensive but are not necessarily amazing. From this perspective it is probably even more important if you are buying the whisky strictly for consumption rather than investment that you read up on as many opinions as possible so as to make a somewhat informed decision.
Everyone has a different pallet and therefore opinions will vary greatly.
It’s like reading reviews on Trip Advisor. It doesn’t matter how amazing a resort is or how awesome their customer service, there will always be a number of people that are either habitual complainers or did in fact have a horrible experience. Never base your decision on just one review. Make sure you either weight more highly sources that you have come to trust or go by the vast majority or reviews either good or bad.
Finally having taken all this into account you should just go with your own choice. I have for example thoroughly enjoyed many movies that critics were scathing with their detrimental comments. The difference is that when I go to the movies I can just enjoy it as a relaxing form of escapism and entertainment and am not analyzing the deficiencies for a newspaper column.
Whisky is the same way. The more bloggers write, the more we can potentially become jaded and opinionated. Read my blog #67 on Mellow Corn to see that even believing that I am completely open minded and always try to judge every whisky on it’s merits does not always hold true.
It is so easy for all of us to be swayed by age statement, distillery, colour and definitely packaging and expense. You can read my Blog #69 written about blind tastings and how beneficial it is not knowing everything about a whisky before trying it.
So lot’s to think about every time I reach for a higher end bottling.
With all that in mind however it is time that I visit the most expensive bottle of whisky that I currently own as it has fallen below the marble limit (see blog #60) and needs to be finished off this year.
Glenglassaugh 41 Year Old Decanter edition (Pre Benriach sale)
I came upon this bottle due to an unfortunate series of events that caused some leakage en-route which made it non-saleable. Terrible when these things happen 🙂
Tasted in the Glenglassaugh crystal cut glass that came with the whisky.
Distilled in 1967 this whisky is older than me and I’m getting to that age where this is going to become much more expensive to say. This was the first release of Glenglassaugh 40+ whisky after the revival of the distillery in 2008. Presented in a beautiful cherry wood box it comes in a crystal decanter and 2 Glenglassaugh crystal glasses in case you have a really good friend or family member that would be deserving of sharing this with.
Colour: Rich amber and mahogany and looks every bit the 41 year old sherried whisky it is.
Nose: Takes me back home to when my awesome mum prepared rich Christmas puddings during the holidays between Christmas and New Year that would hang wrapped in cheese cloth until the following year. The smell of rich Christmas spices, sherry, brandy and candied orange would waft from the pantry every time it was opened. I looked forward to Christmas day as much for mum’s puddings as for the pressies under the tree. This Glenglassaugh expression contains all of the above but also kicks in another of my childhood favorites – dried apricot. My Grandpa had several huge apricot trees in his back yard and my brother and I ate them till we were almost ill. So many buckets that the only way to handle the harvest was to dry them. A staple item in the daily lunchbox they were a juicier and more flavorful version than found at your local supermarket.
Palate: Roll on the lovely dark slab of rich Christmas pudding drowned in home made vanilla bean custard…..(mum time to make another one I’m coming home for Christmas). Even slightly diminished due to sitting in the decanter for 5 years (thank goodness for the marbles) it is a really great example of why 40+ whiskies that retain the youthful sparkle with the seasoned experience of age are truly amazing. Sherry influence is there but not overpowering and the dried fruits complement the spice. No overtly powerful cask influence to ruin the delicate balance.
Finish: Soft fruits linger on and a tapestry of delicate flavors develop, definite apricot that gets its look in amongst the fruit basket that also has some hints of cassis and blackberry. Finally kicking in some candied bitter orange peel like hand made marmalade.
So this little beauty sold for $ 3600 in BC $ 3500 in the UK and was an absolute steal here in Alberta for a mere $ 2600. There are still bottles out there so feel free to contact me if you are on the hunt and I’ll point you in the right direction.
Would I pay the money? There are certainly drams that I have had that are less expensive and provide similar amazing qualities. However it is going to be a lot more expensive and a lot more difficult to find these lovely fruit driven 40+ year old whiskies in the future so if my level of income allowed it I would ante up. This is one bottle that I shall be very sad to finish.
Share your most amazing whisky experience to date, I would love to hear your stories.