For anything to be sold at auction you need to have firstly, a knowledgeable and well-informed audience of bidders, secondly an auction-house that has the expertise to understand the lots being put up for sale, and thirdly (and this, dear sweet boys, is where I come in) a body of knowledge, supported by pontificating experts, that can demonstrate the provenance and authenticity of the items that are being sold. Oh dear Nation – look to your dry-as-dust-museums will ye not ?
In the world of so-called antique whisky you seem to have none of these things – so fairy-tale bottles are produced like rabbits from a hat (forgive the rather high-church allusion at this time of year), and as bait, swallowed hook-line-and-sinker (sorry sweet boys, but I do so like getting my hook in the water) by those who know nothing, but want everything.
As far as I can estimate, for the forger, this is as near to a Perfect Market as dear Adam Smith could have imagined.
The Spirit of the Late Sir Roy Strong
Expert on many things
Sometime curator of museums
I quite often get miniatures when I'm curious about a whisky but don't want to buy a full bottle at first. The only thing against miniatures is that it doesn't allow you to try a whisky a couple of times and so discover notes you didn't notice at first. But for a first impression, they're fine IMHO.
I believe that the UK and the EU have a broader range of minis available, but there are places in the US which offer a good selection too. Japan's reputation for them is formidable
Not only are they a 'safer' way to experiment a bit, but they also can be purchased while one is otherwise on a buying 'freeze'. For example, I recently found an OB Longmorn and another version bottled by Cadenhead. I doubt that I would purchase a full bottle of both for the H2H, but my total outlay for the minis was $15 or so ... not bad.
There are many full-fledged mini collectors out there, and so it may be difficult to locate some expressions.
Go for it! Enjoy them! You can even arrange a tasting of minis ... let participants bring their own, and swap a bit before starting. It can be great fun, and a nice alternative to the costlier full-out tastings. Each 50ml bottle holds 2 moderate-size drams, right?
[This message has been edited by St.Peat (edited 07 May 2002).]
P.S. I have measured three 5cl bottles, each have been so far nearer to 6cl than to 5cl.
[This message has been edited by Ize (edited 08 May 2002).]
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