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I know there are lots of new ones to try but there is something comforting in reaching for a bottle that you KNOW you are going to like
General favourites are Laphroig 10YO, Laphroiag QC, Highland Park, Glen Garioch, 'Farclas, Edradour, Caol Ila, Ardbeg, Bowmore...
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Out of the 20 bottles I usually have open ......
I will always have Greenspot, Redbreast 12yo, Redbreast 15yo and Jameson 12yo available.
Also Talisker 10yo and Laphroaig QC have been replenished every time and I always try to have a glenrothes but that is harder as they are all vintages and not exactly the same bottling but I'm on my 3rd '89 in 3 years so that's not bad consistency.
Would it count if I felt like I needed to stock up on Highland Park and bought an indie instead of an OB?
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But the majority of the time I'd buy something new. Aside from keeping a few old reliables in stock, it's more fun to try (and buy) something new.
Then for a while I guess I bought repeats probably 50% of the time.
Perhaps for the 1990s I bought repeats 80% of the time, only adding something new when I found a supermarket special offer.
Then around about 2000 I started to explore again. Now I suppose about 40% of my purchases are repeats. I expect that to take a plunge this year as I try a few more distilleries and especially start to sample more expressions from the distilleries I really like.
I don't many "standard" OB's as often as IB's, so I churn through the standards quite slowly. (i.e. Bowmore 12, Lagavulin 16, Ardbeg 10, Macallan 12, etc, etc).
However, I'm increasingly buying more and more single cask bottlings, which by their very nature, at non-repeat items.
MrTattieHeid wrote:...does it not make sense to do what Bruichladdich does--continually release small-edition bottlings? The same with Arran and its multitude of small-batch finishes.
On one hand, I would agree that a distillery that is able to come up with 'fresh' ideas is certainly going to appeal to those with more transient tastes, I think it is an inherently flawed and short sighted approach.
Repeat purchases within a brand are certainly good for business, but at what point do the releases stop being interesting, unique and above all, good product, and start to become offensive / tacky in the way they go about taking your money. What is going to compel me to buy release #9 in a series of finishes from Bruichladdich if #1 was fairly standard? Not much, I tell you now.
As much as I dislike the trend towards finishes and younger and younger whiskies, distilleries should look at the success of A'bunadh and the Quarter Cask as examples of how to ignite, or re-ignite brand loyalty without the fatigue of small batch limited summer nocturnal release this, and wine de jour finish that.
You mention building fierce brand loyalty, but at what cost? I'd say for every fierce loyalist you get on board with the releases that you mention, you get the equal but opposite reaction of irritating or alienating other consumers.
What a load of waffle, I make little to no sense.
But if you do like these whiskies, and aren't obsessed with having the same exact thing over and over ("Where can I get more Ardbeg 17?" "What can I get that's just like Macallan?" etc), then you are very happy to get the variations on a theme. From a marketing standpoint, for this kind of distillery, this is the jackpot. They really couldn't care less if you are irritated, because you aren't going to buy it anyway. "Offensive" is a value judgment; it's hard for me to see how you can be offended, since they compel you to do nothing. Certainly they don't "take your money"--the people who buy the stuff do so willingly. As for short-sighted, I would argue just the opposite. Put it this way--I can probably name ten or twenty standard ob's that I think are really good whisky, but which I haven't purchased in three, four, five years and may not purchase any time soon or ever again. Those producers don't care, because a) 90% of their product goes to the blenders, and b) they have other loyal customers and don't need me. Distillers like Bruichladdich and Arran of necessity must take a different approach, and their success speaks for itself, your irritation notwithstanding. The question is not whether you like it or not; it's whether the approach works (it plainly does) and why. Of course, not everyone who answered the poll 0-20% is going to be a dedicated Bruichladdich consumer, but this is, I think, the target market for this kind of distillery, and I think this explains, in part, why they do what they do, to get repeat business from a customer base that is normally very promiscuous. Don't you?
MrTattieHeid wrote:I don't understand your point at all, parvus. Of course, if you think release #1 is bog standard, you aren't going to bother with releases 2-9.
Why bother with 2-9 if you can't get 1 right? Quantity (of releases) seems more important than quality these days.
Of course, not everyone who answered the poll 0-20% is going to be a dedicated Bruichladdich consumer, but this is, I think, the target market for this kind of distillery, and I think this explains, in part, why they do what they do, to get repeat business from a customer base that is normally very promiscuous. Don't you?
I agree that Bruichladdich need to do something to keep their revenue up, seeing as they don't (from what I have read) sell to blenders, and having repeat business is certainly the way to go about it. Yes, the whisky consumer base is a promiscuous one, but isn't that true for most products?
I liken them to a musical artist who keeps trying to churn out hits many years after their last success, but always seems to fall short of the mark - they still manage to sell a tonne of albums, and make a heap of money, but overall their output isn't what it once was.
This isn't a beef I have with Bruichladdich in particular, although they are a good example of it, it's a trend now days amongst almost most manufacturers to somehow cut corners and break traditions in favour of quicker, faster, better - the latter often being lost long the way.
I hope that comes across a bit more succinctly, Tattie - I find it hard to get my thoughts down in a coherent manor at times.
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parvus wrote:This isn't a beef I have with Bruichladdich in particular, although they are a good example of it, it's a trend now days amongst almost most manufacturers to somehow cut corners and break traditions in favour of quicker, faster, better - the latter often being lost long the way.
I have to disagree vehemently. Bruichladdich are using more traditional methods than many of their counterparts yet innovating with their product. Good for them. What's more important is that they are making good whiskies. It will be years before we know for sure how the new distillates will stand up against the pre closure spirit but if PC5 is anything to go by the potential is huge. Their whisky making is traditional even if their business approach isn't.
On the other hand if you look at probably the most traditional of all distilleries, Springbank, their output has disappointed many forum members of late.
Tradition only counts up to a certain point. I can't smell it. I can't taste it. Other things are important to me when I open a bottle.
I agree that heritage and distinction is important to me in that I take delight in tracking down distilleries that still use floor maltings, bottle on site, have had only 4 managers in their 200 year history, have the smallest 'railway' in the world etc.
However, I also represent someone who loves the malt heritage, enjoys holidays to Scotland at least twice a year and is a relatively loyal customer.
The more dynamic marketplace demands innovation. This is I guess where wood finishes, younger expressions, miniatures etc take over.
I enjoyed reading the discussions lately that actually are all about market forces... Macallan positioning itself as a 'luxury', Whisky Live and the token debate, loyalty to particular distilleries etc.
In reality there will always be distilleries that are fighting for share of the marketplace. I don't think that innovative necessarily means lower quality (although there are many examples where this IS the case), but it does mean that I've got to be more flexible in my habits to accomodate some of the great new things that are out there.
The only problem is to find the time and money - i'll manage somehow!
- Muskrat Portage
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0 to 20% - 17 votes (48%)
20 to 40% - 14 votes (40%)
40 to 60% - 3 votes (8%)
60 to 80% 1 vote (2%)
80 to 100% No votes
Would you now stick with tried and trusted whiskies until you have a bit more spare cash, or will you still try different brands/expressions?
Personally, I have just voted 0 to 20% as I intend to keep trying different whiskies, although I will not spend on the more expensive ones but rather go for the standard expressions.
It really IS wonderful to be blessed with such myriad choices. But does anyone else here share my nostalgia for the 'good old days' when distilleries actually put their whole hearts and souls into one or a mere few bottlings?
Credit crunch hasn't affected me (yet? fingers crossed) - I still have my job, and whisky prices in Scotland for "standard" bottlings don't appear to be rising any more, if you're willing to shop around (in fact, there have been some excellent deals on offer over the Xmas/New Year holiday period).
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