Dalmore has been known for a steady flow of high end “luxury” whisky bottlings with prices defying the laws of marketing. After the launch of the Constellation Collection in 2012 things had become a bit quiet, probably not quite unrelated to the deal with Diageo in autumn.
But now The Dalmore is back, with a set of twelve bottles just barely avoiding the One Million Pound barrier. The Paterson Collection is a one-off exclusive to Harrods, and it comes with all sorts of bespoke paraphernalia at no extra cost.
The highest price ever paid for a bottle of whisky was $460,000 for the Macallan Cire Perdu, but that was a charity auction and is not strictly comparable. The most expensive Dalmore so far was a bottle of the 64 year old Trinitas sold for £120,000 at Harrods. The price tag of £987,500 for the 12 bottles gives an average of about £82,300 per bottle.
What do you get?
- 2 bottles of 1995 vintage at 48% and 42% ABV
- a 1985 vintage at 46%
- a 1979 vintage at 49%
- a 1969 vintage at 42%
- a 1966 vintage at 43%
- a 1964 vintage at 42.5%
- a 20 yo (vatted with up 50 yo) at 43.5%
- 2 bottles of 1951 vintage at 41%
- a 1939 vintage at 41%
- a 1926 vintage at 41%
This set surely contains some rare whisky, but you should keep in mind that the 1926 was not drawn from a cask in 2013. This would have made it the oldest ever bottled whisky by a huge margin, Mortlach and Glenlivet 70 year olds being current record holders. It is very likely that the 1926 is the same whisky that was used in blending some of the other high end Dalmores like the Zenith, and this was technically 52 years old. The 1939 as well would be older than 70 years by now, so it is likely to have a lower age statement too.
If for the four youngest bottles we assume a price of £10,000 each, the remaining eight older bottles average £118k+, roughly the same as the 64 yo Trinitas.
In other words: an obscene price tag. But this collection (is it really meant to be drunk?) may actually sell. There are indeed rich people who think that more expensive equals better, and this is the perfect product for them. But if it does or does not sell is not really relevant. It is there and people talk about it, this is what Dalmore wants.
What to make of all this?
The collection has Richard Paterson’s name on it. He has been working in the industry for over 40 years now, and with this personal branding the collection very much looks like a farewell. The selection of whisky, the price, the name – can there be something even bigger afterwards?
But then of course there is also the takeover of United Spirits, Whyte & Mackay’s Indian owners, by Diageo which has only been finalized less than two weeks ago. The future of Whyte & Mackay is unclear, but products like the Paterson Collection are entirely incompatible with Diageo’s marketing of Scotch single malt whisky.
It is not known when the collection was planned, maybe it had been in Paterson’s drawer since long before the takeover. But it very much looks like the grand finale of the Old Dalmore. What lies ahead nobody knows.