...where distraction is the main attraction.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Some final thoughts on the Longrow and Kilchoman reviews

After writing about 16 different Kilchomans this year, I'm suffering from Kilchoman fatigue.  You may be too, after my five posts this week, so I promise this will be the last post about Kilchoman for a long while.

1.  Kilchoman and Longrow are both in my Top Ten Favorite Single Malts list, with the latter being in my top five.  I chose to do these two packed weeks of reviews to end the year thinking that I'd be hootin' and hollerin' with joy about these malts/brands, with there being at least a few super duper whiskies.  Instead, while there were a couple very good items, there were a larger number of not very good ones.  Two things became clear.  First, that these beloved brands were in fact fallible.  And secondly, not only are their cheapest basic single malts (Machir Bay and Peated) respectable, they're better than many of the brands' more premium products.

2.  Getting peat + wine to work well is very difficult, yet most peated whisky producers are doing it damn-the-result style and promptly bottling it in order to expand their product ranges.  In some cases the limited edition hype will clear out the bottles regardless of quality.  But I wonder, are these customers actually opening their bottles?  Or are they hoarding?  Or are they "investing" (aka flipping)?  And for those who are drinking their whiskies, are they so motivated to buy a second bottle or come back for the next edition?  Time will tell if these products can outlast their hype.

3.  Due to the prices of the Kilchoman and Longrow whiskies reviewed over the past weeks, I wouldn't buy a single one of these single malts.  Good-to-very-good young single malts (especially if they're not single casks) will not get me to part with $120 or more.  And I'm one of the fans!

4.  Single malt whisky prices have changed drastically.  The selection of quality whiskies for the lower working classes were abandoned 8-10 years ago.  And now the quality options for the middle classes are fading.  Thankfully, several good basic single malt "expressions" remain.  If we get priced out of those, then the industry (whose volume sales continue to struggle) is going to have to offer us more than NASes to keep our business.