A good customer of mine emailed this to me a few hours ago, after I sent out the secret email newsletter featuring some hot new acquisitions:
"Hi David - is it my inattentiveness, or has there not been much in the way of interesting whiskies priced below the $85 and above range lately?"
To which, I replied:
It’s not your inattentiveness – prices are going up. $100 is the new $60 for single malts. They know they can get it, so they’re pricing it accordingly.
This isn't an accident, folks. Small batch, limited edition - it's the way of the future. Limited quantity gives the producer the right to charge more, and the fear of missing out on something fantastic has the public in a hurry to go along with it. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, every company has been watching Ardbeg, Pappy Van Winkle, etc, and the hype that accompanies the release of in-demand, but very-limited whiskies. While formerly it was proper business sense to create something great and then make it as widely available as possible, this somewhat obvious logic doesn't apply to the boutique realm. Look for 2012 to be the year of "limited release" where companies purposely make less of a product with the intent of making it more attractive to collectors. The whisky machine is on to us - they know we want to try new things, not keep drinking the same old brands.
The problem is that the big-budget, limited edition malts have been damn good so far! I absolutely love the new Glenmorangie Artein, and the Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams that I tasted today was superb. I don't think the prices are too far off from where they should be either. Believe me though, as soon as I see a cheap attempt to capitalize on this trend, I will call it out. Until then......I guess we should be happy there are so many great options!