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The Resurgence of Scotch, Single Malts, and Its Impacts

posted Jul 13, 2017, 9:28 AM by David R.
If you're a serious scotch drinker (and you must be if you're visiting our website) you are well aware of the surge in interest and drinking of scotch, especially single malts, over the last 10 years.  While many have hailed this growth as being great for scotch drinkers with the recent rise in the number of various new expressions being introduced from existing distilleries and opening of new distilleries, it hasn't been all for the better.  

The distilleries have taken hits to their holdings of older whiskies and their supplies of whiskies in general.  Another consequence, as would be expected, older whiskies have become more expensive and rarer.  Clearly the law of supply and demand is alive and well in the pricing models of the scotch industry.  Take a look some time if you haven't looked for a while at some of the 18 to 25 year old prices (say Macallan 18 and 25, for example), I'm guessing you'll be somewhat surprised . Another result of these hits to the industry's stocks has been selected and familiar age-statement bottlings disappearing from some distilleries' line ups that have been replaced by no-age statement (NAS) expressions.  Although we may mourn the passing of some our old favorites, some of the new NAS expressions have been quite good.

One puzzling  (while not entirely puzzling, I do understand marketing) trend has been the increase in one-time only new releases.  While some may like this and look forward each year to each distillery's new offering, I think it's a mixed bag.  Despite all the hype that goes with the launch of a new expression, not every expression is as great as it's marketing proclaims.  It's one thing to shell out say $10 for a new six pack of microbrewed beer to try and another to shell out $100+ (which seems to be the most popular price for these annual new bottlings) and then find out it's not as good as they said it was.  Call me old fashioned, but one of the things I like about my favorite age statement single malts was their consistency from to year to year and knowing what to expect when I bought them.

I know the Scotch industry is reveling in the boom right now and as the old saying goes is "Making hay while the sun shines," but they need to be careful they don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg.