Top 10 Overpriced Scotch Whiskies

by Oliver Klimek on July 22, 2011

This is an entirely subjective collection of whisky pricing monstrosities that I have come across in the past months. I only included original distillery bottlings, so the ridiculous Isabella’s Islay does not make it onto the list. Also omitted are 50+ year old luxury bottlings like the Dalmore Trinitas as here it becomes very difficult to find comparable bottles that would allow you to judge how justified or unjustifed the price tag is.

There may be even worse offenders out there, it wouldn’t surprise me at all. Don’t hesitate to share them.

10. Tullibardine Pure Pot Spirit

A 0.5 litre bottle of this newmake costs €35. This is about the same price level as the 13 year old Tullibardine wood finishes. [Of course this is legally not a whisky, but it would become such if allowed to age for 3 or more years.]

9. Highland Park Earl Haakon

The successor of Earl and Lord Magnus, at 18 years of age it costs €180.

8. Macallan Fine Oak 25 yo

€400 is not exactly cheap for a 25 yo single malt.

7. Glenfiddich 40 yo

A bottle will set you back €1800. Currently you can get a 33 year old original single cask bottling for less than a third of this price.

6. Bruichladdich Octomore

A bottle of this 5 year old peat monster costs €100.

5. Oban Managers’ Choice 9 yo

A single cask bottling with a single digit age for €340.

4. Kilchoman 100% Islay Distillery Only

At the tender age of 3 years this cask strength bottling is priced at a whopping €170.

3. Glenmorangie Pride

The price tag for this 29 yo bottling is €2750. And the “limitation” to 1000 bottles does not make it particularly rare.

2. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Anniversary

A limited cask strength version of the Jonnie Walker Blue Label blend for €1700. The regular version sells for less than 10% of this price.

1. Ardbeg Double Barrel

Two bottles of 1974 vintage single casks are enhanced by a set of finely crafted accessories, bringing up the price to more than €10000. A 1974 original single cask bottle normally costs around €1000, and even these can’t be called bargains.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Steffen Bräuner July 22, 2011 at 6:49 pm

Can’t have been an easy list to put together, the candidates are getting more and more!

Steffen

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Oliver Klimek July 22, 2011 at 6:54 pm

That’s true indeed. For example the Oban is just the most striking contender from the Managers’ Choice series.

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Bernhard Schäfer July 22, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Yes, the developement in this direction a pain…but as long as there are enough customers for that…and it is a list beeing easier to make it longer, than shorter..

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Bozkurt Karasu July 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm

I am actually getting really offended by the price of new makes… I would put also Highland Park “new make spirit drink” into this list: 35cl/£21.00..!

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Oliver Klimek July 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

The reason why I picked that one is that it is not a new or revived distillery needing cash beore they can sell their whsky, like Glenglassaugh or Abhainn Dearg. In such a case I can understand such a pricing. But here we have much less cost but the same price as an aged whisky of the same distillery.

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Bozkurt Karasu July 22, 2011 at 8:12 pm

Needless to say there are also many examples of American white dogs but overpriced new spirit mania takes over other spirits, too… Remy Martin’s just released an unaged brands more expensive than their cognacs…

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Gal July 25, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Indeed, it’s getting hard to make those lists up ;) so many …
IMHP the HP Haakon is a good example. it’s priced at 160 GBP! for an 18 year old CS. it’s not a single cask, even…
crazy.

Not talking about the Ardbeg DB, which is insane but aimed at a very small audience…

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lawschooldrunk August 17, 2011 at 10:58 pm

and now you can add the 3yo abhainn dearg

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Benjamin January 6, 2012 at 5:50 am

Oban 2000 MC?
I bought it fo 230€ (a lot of MCs gone down) and I think it´s still too much BUT: It is one of the best Obans i know!

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Oliver Klimek January 6, 2012 at 7:55 am

I am convinced that the Oban is excellent, but does that mean I would pay just about any price for it? No. And I think most others won’t do either. Of course the maximum price people are willing to pay for such a bottle is a personal thing, so consequently this list is subjective.

What is your personal limit for an ecxellent 9 yo single cask whisky? 300€, 500€?

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douglas January 15, 2012 at 2:03 am

A key question!

Logically I should be happy to pay more for the best whisky regardless of what age it is. But so far I haven’t been able to convince myself to pay more than 100€ (~£80) for a whisky under 10yo.

I can pay much more for an older whisky even though I accept it might not be as good as the Oban 9yo. I just find it easier to accept that older whiskies have cost more to supply.

Funnily enough I could spend more on a 9yo distilled in the Fifties or Sixties. I suspect something about production methods back then or premium quality sherry casks makes them attractive to me.

I feel that quality offerings like the Manager’s Choice and no-age-stated whiskies like Glenmorangie Signet are partly aimed at breaking our association of age and price. I don’t disagree but psychologically I’m having trouble. I still need there to be some other factor to make it worth more to me.

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Oliver Klimek January 15, 2012 at 7:02 am

The association of age and price is a direct consequence of the assoiation of age and cost. In 20 years you can sell two 10 yo bottlings but only one 20 yo, so it is perfectly understandable that the 20 yo must be more expensive. This is a no-brainer. Turning this around or like you say ‘breaking our association of age and price’ needs very clever reasoning to be accepted by the buyers.

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Alex Neumann January 15, 2012 at 2:21 pm

Never forget, 30 years ago, the distillers sold their “standard” whiskies (which then and today easily fetch the 90-points-mark) for a price around 30 Euro (converted). For the same result, in case of the 9 y.o. Oban (91 points at WF), today you have to pay 230-300 Euros -
progress? Haha!

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