Murray McDavid used to have a good presence on our shelves but they and Bruichladdich (same owners) are just selling old stock right now for the most part. Only Bruichladdich 10yo and 14yo are general offerings. I've enjoyed most of the Murray McDavids I've had though Mark Reynier seems too infatuated with wine finishes at the moment, IMO.
hpulley wrote:MacKillop's Choice hasn't graced the shelves of the LCBO for many years. I contacted them about it but their story is the usual one: they'd love to have their stuff on the LCBO's shelves but have not been able to get them on there...Harry
Like C_I, I have a large number of Signatory bottlings presumably because they can provide the quantities that the LCBO demands before they will stock any product. My collecting is pretty much limited to what the LC will import into the province.
I'm advised that the LCBO is the worlds' largest seller of alcohol (that should cause some comments)! It's not so hard to believe, as every single town or village in Ontario has at least one outlet and there are even Agency stores (attached to mom and pop grocery stores) in most hamlets. We are a small city and have 2 main stores, 2 satellites of the bigger stores and 1 agency store in our cachement area.
The Liquor Control Board can demand from the producers a set amount of product, (so the LC will be able to provide the selection in all of their outlets) and then negotiate producers to as low a price as they can get. By extension then, should a producer be unable to provide sufficient stock or the right price, they wouldn't be carried, thereby losing access to a very large, lucrative market. This may be the case with some products we never see.
First of all, I collect whisky for drinking, and, I am fond of the most honest and pure way of presenting whisky...which is single cask undiluted, unchillfiltered... so, I am almost obliged to turn my eye to the IB's, because, in all honesty, they are the only ones to bring me 'my kind' of whisky at more or less affordable prices! Most OB's that fit in my alley fetch ridiculous prices these days!
My favourite IB's are all of the above! Quite simply, because they all had absolute stunners and absolute monsters, and that is only natural! If and when you bottle a single cask, you are always gonna find people who love the stuff, and others who hate it... Most of the bigger IB's though, bottle pretty decent stuff for most of the time, and damn excellent stuff for some of the time. Price versus quality (meaning here: what I liked ) is what makes a great IB... anything above 160-170£ is to expensive in my book, and troubles the view a bit
- DL brings a lot of first notch stuff, and a lot off stunners... but lately I feel that they surf the waves of the high prices a bit to much (who can blame them) so I'm sorry Susan...a lot of the real good stuff becomes a bit pricey (Platinum and OMC) ...
- DT has some absolute stunners in their Peerless range, at a more or less affordable price, but they to, begin to ask premium prices...
- Signatory used to bring some very very , very good stuff...whisky to dribble over!... they lost the plot a bit between (rougly) 99 and 2004 with good but far from extraordinairy stuff... lately I think they are on the up, again... prices sometimes OK, sometimes way to high (Susan, instead of a drive in my Impreza, I'll have to let you taste some good Signatory to change your mind!...if you want to! )
- G&M: are absolutely champion at both ends of the scale! They have some absolute stunners for very reasonable prices (1965Glenlivet, 1958 Glen Grant, 1957 Glen Grant, 1960 Strathisla, aso, come to mind, all in the pricebrackett of 100-160£) in their 'OB'-range (40%ABV, but stunning nevertheless)... The CC-series has some very good value for money bottlings at 46% and a lot of decidedly unimpressive stuff at 40%...their best offerings at modest prices come from their "Reserve" series (prices 30-70£, most at cask strength, from 10 tot 35yo)
- Cadenhead's is very good nowadays, with a lot of value for little money, but they to had some decidedly dodgy bottlings between rougly 99-04)... they have one big bonus though: stunning single cask bourbons, rums and cognacs!
- Murray McDavid: the 'normal' series was very good indeed in the early years (some Springers and Macca's come to mind) ...now they have a dragon with the "maverick" series ... and the Mission is Brilliant, but sometimes a wee bit Dear....
- Blackadder has some good quality stuff, but is rather expensive...and That 'Raw Cask'-theme, although with a lot of good whisky, is a Marketing gimmick if I ever saw one!
- Hart Brothers is OK, I've tasted some stunners, but I also have a couple of "wish I hadn't opened this one' in my collection. They tended to bottle at to low a strength as well (40-43%)
- James McArthur: His series 500 years of whisky 1494-1994 produced some gems...lately I lost track of his bottlings so can't comment on them...
- Adelphi has done some very good HP's and Glen Grant's, no experience with the rest...
So, all in all, I have the feeling that the big 4 (G&m, Cadenhead's, DL and Signatory) or maybe 5 (+ DT) still do the best Job!!
PS1. Mind you: all of the above is just my opinion...
PS.2 Come to think of it: another qualification is the one: What IB has the nicest representative... and in that category DL wins 'hands down'... Suzywong although Mark (Watt) gets a vote of sympathy to!
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