In November 2012, nearly 18 months ago, I took a closer look at whisky inflation since 2002. The result in a nutshell was that especially the older expressions increased in price while prices for standard bottlings often remained flat if adjusted for inflation and increase in excise duty.
I will try to make it a tradition to look at the price development from time to time. So I have taken the bottlings from the 2012 list that have not been discontinued and noted their current prices as charged by The Whisky Exchange. TWE was chosen because the inital 2002 prices taken from the Wayback Machine were also from that shop. The current bottling of Macallan 18 Sherry is not available there at the moment, so for this bottling I entered the price of Master of Malt. Laphroaig 10 yo Cask Strength was not available at either retailer.
|ABV||Nov 2012||Jun 2014||- Exc||Diff|
|Balvenie 21 Port Wood||40||86,95||126,00||125,61||44,5%|
|Benrinnes 15 F&F||43||40,49||49,95||49,53||22,3%|
|Blair Athol 12 F&F||43||40,25||41,95||41,53||3,2%|
|Highland Park 12||40||24,49||30,95||30,56||24,8%|
|Highland Park 18||43||56,95||99,95||99,53||74,8%|
|Macallan 18 Sherry||43||97,94||146,00||145,58||48,6%|
|Chivas Regal 18||40||48,49||50,95||50,56||4,3%|
|Johnnie Walker Blue Label||40||139,00||135,00||134,61||-3,2%|
UK excise duty has increased by £1.41 per litre of pure alcohol since 2012. The “- Exc” column shows the current price minus the increase of excise duty based on the actual ABV and the volume of 70 cl. Because of varying batches the ABV of Aberlour Abunad’h is assumed to be 60% on average. The “Diff” column shows the percentual difference of the current price adjusted by excise duty increase compared to the 2012 price. Up to date excise duty data can be found at the HMRC website.
Accumulated consumer price inflation in the UK was about 3 to 3.5 percent in the past 18 months. While a number of bottles have been fairly unchanged, we can see that there are some significant price increases. Again the older expressions have suffered the most from price increases. Glenfiddich 30 is a special case because this is a bottling that is still available but apparently has not been re-issued since. So the drastic price increase reflects the dwindling stock of this bottle.
But also some younger whiskies like Highland Park 12 or Laphroaig 10 have become over 20% more expensive. But surprisingly some highly demanded whiskies like Talisker or Lagavulin have seen only moderate increases. The only bottle that actually became cheaper is Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Which is a bit surprising with all the talk by the industry about higher demand for luxury blends.