Arty farty whisky party … a personal view

Is it whisky or is it art? How many times have I asked this question? The recent glut of fancy pants marketing and packaging of whisky is getting out of hand. With these mega priced releases, can they not be sold just as the bottle, with an OPTION of taking the full monty as an extra? How much of the over the top asking price for some of these new releases covers packaging? Silver, wood, glitz and colours, boxes that open every which way, come on guys, give the ordinary folk a chance to get a dram of these bottles without the packaging – after all, you cannee drink a piece of wood! Whisky is for drinking, otherwise, why make it? Some examples, and aye I do love em all, I used to be a designer in my youth (still am I like to think) and I love art, but are these just “art for arts’ sake – money for God’s sake”? Thanks to 10cc. Chivas Regal – a 50-year-old expression created to mark the anniversary of Manchester United’s 1968 European Cup triumph –raised £21,780 for charity at auction. Good but am sure those Manky fans would have paid for a simple bottle also. Glenfarclas 50 vintage single cask single malts in a luxury £100,000 trunk, why?  Gordon & MacPhail  Caol Ila 50 year old single cask whisky –and a 64-year-old Glenlivet.


Bottle of glenlivet
Bottle of whisky

Glenlivet Dubai Duty Free’s 35-year-old single malt. Bowmore 52-year-old single malt with a price tag of £22,300, ‘legendary status’ for the (overly) price. Johnnie Walker ‘highly collectible richest and most indulgent’ yet. Aye rich is the word if you can buy this.  45 year old Ben Nevis by whisky company Cask 88 – now I DO like the art. Glen Moray bucking the trend, simple packaging, great whisky, but bloody good art! Highland Park Year Old, at US$15,000/£13,500 a bottle. What does the liquid actually cost? Arran Brodick Bay one of the “in a tin” releases we are seeing lately.

Now, as to the drams above – just a sample of what crazy stuff is going on out there – which is my favourite drink? And my favourite art?  They all have merit in both fields, the Brodick, for going back to the old train and post card days, the boxes; Glenlivet Bowmore Chivas Hi Park – my dad was a carpenter you know, as an angel now I bet he is lookin doon and wishing he was still here to design and build those. The craftsmanship of that Farclas case is amazing. For sheer art I choose Glen Moray, for drinking it has to be the Farclas. Your choices are most probably different to mine, who cares! Whisky like art, is a very personal thing, in the eye & mooth of the beholder.