The 411

Again - there is about five blog posts worth of information that I would like to share with you, but I simply don't have the time to write five blog posts.  I can write one quick one, however, and we'll have to make do with that.  Here's the latest:

Suntory's Mike Miyamoto was in the Redwood City store last night to pour the Hakushu 12 and Yamazaki 12 single malt whiskies. Having master distiller Miyamoto personally lead the tasting was a rare honor and one that we all took full advantage of. The information was invaluable to our whisky-loving customers. Two interesting things I didn't know about Yamazaki - they have multiple stills, of various shapes and sizes, to produce different types of spirit. This allows them to play with different flavors and create marriages that usually requires ownership of multiple distilleries (i.e. Diageo blending together Talisker, Benrinnes, and Clynelish to make an expression). The other fact is that Yamazaki 12 is running at around $100 per bottle in Japan right now. They're basically subsidizing the foreign markets to keep their momentum going.  We're selling this for about $40 right now.  I'd expect a pretty big hike here in the U.S. at some point in the near future.  There's just not enough of it to go around.

I spent the morning at St. George Distillery with Dave Smith and we went over various points of business.  First off, we tasted the new 30th Anniversary Single Malt coming in early December.  It contains some of the oldest whisky the distillery has ever produced, including one of Lance's first-ever malts. It comes in a beautiful box and the label is pretty awesome as well.  It won't be cheap, but it will be delicious. One of the components was aged in a pear brandy cask (the sister to our apple brandy-aged barrel from a few years back). We also got rolling on our Faultline Gin Batch #2. Dave will be attempting to smoke some orange peels next week and begin maceration. Smoke and citrus - together at last!

The other thing Dave and I discussed was the sourcing of American whiskey from Kentucky. Prices are beginning to go up and we're both evaluating the future of the market. If prices come back down when stocks begin to increase, then we will have bought in at too high of a price.  If the market continues to raise the price of whiskey, then we will have to pay more if we wait. This is a perfect analogy to the housing situation I discussed previously.  No one is sure what the market will actually do so we're all being cautious. That being said, I went by Old World Spirits afterward to meet with Davorin and select a new cask of Rusty Blade (it's coming home - at cask strength once again for the holidays!). We began talking about rye and Davorin mentioned that he currently can't source any actual rye to distill.  The drought in the midwest has left little supply from the harvest and he mentioned that Diageo has been buying up most of it for their Bulleit brand. First we had a shortage of rye whiskey and now we have a shortage of actual rye.  This should keep prices nice and high for all you rye drinkers!

Speaking of rye, it appears that the Rittenhouse shortage is slowly beginning to fade.  We've got a ton in stock right now if you need any.  There's some Black Maple Hill as well.

Also, the wholesale price of Oban 18 is now over $100.  All of you who paid $77 got a real good deal.  Better than your local retailer can actually get! Wild. As I promised earlier, I now have to lower the price on another Diageo whisky. Let's seeeeeeeee................Dalwhinnie 15.   Was $50.  Now $41.99.  That should help even things out a little bit.  Remember, we need balance!

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll