A good “ whisky nose” is not only about the scent of the water of life. It is also the challenge of finding a good whisky deal. Don’t get me wrong…when I buy a whisky I buy it to drink it. But on some unique occasions you run into a whisky that gives you the possibility to make a good profit.
Some four years ago a friend of mine persuaded me to drink more than one whisky to smell and taste the difference. Since that time this liquid got the better of me. A small collection of different whisky’s slowly pushed away some books on a bookshelf. In the autumn of 2011 a visit to Scotland was quickly planned. After visiting different distilleries and the legendary Highlander Inn and Craigellachie Hotel one is completely sold as many of you whisky lovers will agree. The most obvious next step was getting rid of the rest of the books on the previously mentioned bookshelf (and convincing my wife that 25 bottles or more on that bookshelf is a hobby, not a drinking problem). Although our “Whisky Safari” mostly took place in Speyside, the whisky’s from Islay speak to me as well.
Last autumn I happened to be in the northern part of France with my family in law. As a beginning whisky enthusiast, I try to spread the beautiful stories and mysteries about whisky. When you have been in Scotland you know that whisky is more than a drink, it’s a substance that triggers all your senses. It’s a feeling. I am glad that I got my father in law infected. To get through the beautiful French nights we both took a few bottles of whisky with us. To accompany the whisky’s we took with us you have to buy some excellent French cheese so a trip to the nearest big supermarket was an obvious thing to do. After a ten-minute drive we got to a E. Lecerc supermarket. After getting the cheese we were soon drawn to the wine and whisky department. I spotted some whisky’s I never saw before but one in particular drew my attention. A Laphroaig 15-year-old. I knew the 10 and 18-year-old but in my short time as a whisky enthusiast I never saw a 15-year-old.
Back in our lovely French cottage I immediately went online to read about this whisky. It is said to be the favorite whisky of The Prince of Wales. It was discontinued and replaced some 2 years ago by the 18-year-old Laphroaig. After some more searching I saw the current price. In the UK it was for sale for 150 GBP. I was happily surprised! The price for this whisky in the French supermarket was only €58,-! And…..I counted almost 50 bottles.
I was faced with a dilemma. Either I could buy a lot of bottles, keep two or three, and sell the other ones for at least the double. Or I could stick to my intention to buy whisky to drink it, and not to collect or sell it to make a profit. I decided to do the last thing. I bought a bottle for myself and as you should do with whisky…enjoy it and share it with good friends. The bottle is open at this moment and I can honestly say this whisky is worth every penny. What a shame this one is discontinued due to a shortage of stock. In my opinion it’s better than the 18-year-old.
But maybe, maybe taste can be influenced by the chance you get to buy a whisky in a price range that is still “ normal”. Knowing you have a whisky that is still wanted very much but normally to expensive for the middle class of whisky lovers. As I said, it is not only about the scent or taste. There are a lot more dimensions to whisky that makes it not just an ordinary drink.
This is what makes whisky fun and why all tasting notes are so different. My Laphroaig 15 years has a nice place on the bookshelf between the Ardbog and Caol Ila 8 year unpeated. I pick my occasions to drink it very carefully and every time it takes me back to France, good memories of that week and with every sip I realize I was just lucky!
Written by Andreas Meininger February 2014
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