Whisky Luxe Edinburgh – 50ml For A Bag Of Gold?

by Oliver Klimek on August 30, 2012

On Friday 7th September Edinburgh will see Whisky Luxe, the newest member of Whisky Magazine’s Whisky Live family. This new format is supposed to be an upmarket extension of the existing festivals to give you “the ultimate VIP experience”.

After looking at their website, I have to say that I am not inclined whatsover to visit this festival, though. £125 for the entrance fee (for bookings without one of the masterclasses) sure looks luxurious, but what do you get for it?

“Entrance to Whisky Luxe Edinburgh on Friday 7th September from 7pm – 10.30pm. Includes delicious food, luxury gifts including our whisky tasting glass and Whisky Luxe handbook, access to all areas including a tasting in the magnificent Diageo Claive Vidiz Scotch Collection room, The Scotch Whisky Barrel ride, meet global whisky ambassadors and much more.”

“You receive 25 coins in your bag of gold as part of your Whisky Luxe experience. Whiskies aged 18 years and under, unaged whisky and cocktail samples are worth 3 gold coins. Whiskies aged 19 years and older plus some of the rarest whiskies ever to be presented to a visitor are worth from 4 – 5 gold coins and in some cases may be more. Additional gold coins can be purchased from the Whisky Magazine stand at a cost of £1.00. All samples are 10ml or less and all coin proceeds will go to Macmillan Cancer Support & VOCAL (Voice of Carers Across Lothian).”

So essentially food is free and you have to pay for every dram with your ‘gold coins’, formerly known as tokens. A bag of gold… Wow, that sure sounds VIP-py. Naturally, as a VIP at a luxury event you will want to skip the nether regions of the whisky selection and go for the high-end drams. 4, 5 “or more” gold doubloons will be drained from your bag with every miniature dram (what does the “10ml or less” exactly mean?). So after about 50ml of whisky – the amount of two standard  25ml pub drams – your bag of gold will be empty.

Effectively you will have paid 125 quid for a double. Yes, additional tokens are not very expensive, and the proceeds even go to charity. But doesn’t this mean that in order to get the feeling you get your money’s worth, you will have to drink as many additional drams as possible? This is not really what I would call an invitation to responsible drinking.

You can also view it from a different angle. Since the money for additional tokens goes to charity, the £125 pay the exhibitors for every bottle that is poured. So you are subtly ‘encouraged’ to give money to charity in order to reduce your personal average cost of a dram to a reasonable level.

The idea to give some of the collected money to charity is of course good. But it would have been better to donate a fixed percentage of all proceeds instead. They way they did it here is questionable. And even without charity, the entrance fee should allow you to attend and enjoy the event without psychological pressure to spend even more.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Keith September 1, 2012 at 9:29 am

Oliver,
I really question this type of event or pricing as if it’s like similar ones (WL & some ‘token’ ones in Germany) then none of the entrance fee goes to the stand holders to pay for whisky poured. Usually a percentage of the value of each token goes to the stand holders if they return the tokens at the end of the event, so the organisors get not only the entrance fee, but a percentage of all drinks poured too.
My problem with this event is that it is being promoted as a luxury one and yes, they do say there will be some magnificent whiskies available, but the website lists primarily “daily drams” in the 10-12 year age bracket which each carry a normal price of €25 to €40. At three tokens each for these drams visitors are being ‘luxuried’ into paying 3 GBP for 1cl (or less) which means 210 GBP per bottle for something that costs a fifth to a tenth of that price. One could save the entry fee and buy four to five different bottles for the same cost.

Giving money to charity is indeed a worthy thing to do, but remember only money from additional tokens will go that way. I agree with you that an overall percentage from the event would be a better idea but then I suspect the organisors want to make sure of their own revenue (and profit) before committing to any charitable cause(s).
Thanks for the blog post.

Reply

John G September 6, 2012 at 10:12 am

Oliver
When I originally read the post I felt much the same as the other poster. But I was speaking to someone with a ticket last night and it really made me think. He asked me how much I thought the extras were worth without the whisky. After a bit of head scratching I got to £75 although a lot depends on the quality of the meal etc, this is less than the £99 Whisky Luxe thinks it’s worth but anyhow.

If the people going believe that they have got £99 worth of value from the night then it makes you later argument null and void.

Also if the Yamazaki 25 and Balblair 1975 2nd Release are available at £5 for 10ml then that is a good price to try them at.

I think a review of the night by someone that has attended might be better because other than that you are just speculating that it is a rip off (although it may turn out to be right). On the whole I thought you post reeked of something .

Reply

Oliver Klimek September 6, 2012 at 10:25 am

My main gripe here is that you have to pay extra to get the drams for a good price. This effectiveley turns it into a ‘pay per dram’ event with a prohbitive entrance fee. It starts in the evening and lasts for only 3 1/2 hours, so food wouldn’t even be necessary. You have to pay for those ‘extras, no matter if you want them or not. The whisky on pour is the main attraction here, and not the bells and whistles.

I agree of course that a final verdict can only be spoken afterwards. But I have read many less than enthusiastic comments about this event, so I am not alone with my uncanny feeling here.

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