How wood you like that?

A few years ago, I was privileged to attend the launch of a new, premium expression of Glenmorangie.  Appropriately named “Pride”, it was a very limited bottling of a special and unique whisky.  The spirit was distilled in 1981 and initially spent 18 years maturing in Glenmorangie’s best ex-bourbon casks.  In 1999, the whisky was then transferred into some Sauternes barriques sourced from Château d’Yquem, where it then spent a further 10 years of extra-maturation (or finishing, in the old parlance).

The result, not surprisingly, was incredible.  Three compounding factors are at play here:  It begins with Glenmorangie’s famed light, fragrant, and complex spirit (malt, citrus, and spice), which is then framed and shaped by the bourbon casks.  (Vanilla, oak, and sweetness now enter the equation).  And, finally, you then have the influence of the sauternes casks, which inject exotic, dessert-like undertones, sweet fruits, spice and more toasty oak.   A mere three bottles originally found their way to Australia, and took pride of place at three very lucky bars for sale by the dram.   A new incarnation of Pride (vintage 1978) was released last July and if you can score yourself a wee dram, it’s worth hunting down.  (The price of an entire bottle is sadly beyond the means of most of us.  And if you’d like to explore that theme a little further, read this article here).

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Are you paying too much for your whisky?

Is whisky too expensive?  How much should you pay for a good bottle of single malt?  How much should you pay for a bad bottle of malt?   Why are some distilleries or labels so expensive, whilst others seem so much cheaper?  Why do NAS whiskies cost so much, when all you ever hear about is that their vattings contain mostly young malt?

That’s a lot of questions. So what are the answers?

In whisky, just like in life, there are no easy answers. The cost of making whisky is one aspect of this.  And the forces that govern that haven’t really changed all that much in the last 20 years.  However, what you can sell the whisky for is a totally different prospect.  And that’s something that has changed exponentially in just the last 10 years.

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Some special drams from the house of William Grant & Sons

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of William Grant & Sons.  As I’ve penned in numerous articles and blog posts previously, it’s not just their whiskies, but also their people, and how they move & operate in the whisky world.   Courtesy of the good folks at WG&S Australia (thanks Mark, Laura & Richard), I recently experienced yet another great example of this.

Ludo Ducrocq would be known to many whisky drinkers around the world as one of the most knowledgeable, likeable and agreeable brand ambassadors.  Ludo started out as a distillery tour guide for William Grant & Sons, but his passion for whisky and his love for telling other people about it quickly saw him move into more ambassadorial roles.  In 2009, he was appointed as Grants’ first Global Ambassador (for the Grants’ range of blended whiskies), and today works with the title of “Head of Brand Ambassador Advocacy”.  In other words, he’s the Brand Ambassador to the Brand Ambassadors!

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