Something has been bothering me lately, and it is whether or not all the “innovation” in the whisky world is Hype, Hoax, or Hope. I see the same thing happening in the Beer industry, actually it has been happening for years now but is getting even bigger and it is called “craft”. Do we really need to have 800 different styles of whisky that are all just slight plays on a dozen or so traditional types that have stood the test of time for over 200 years? I understand that we are a fickle animal that gets easily bored but as the new and old distillers or blenders strive to make the next big thing is it hurting or helping the industry as a whole? I also understand that not all the new products are bad or unwanted. My concern is about price and availability for me and you, the drinker not the collector. If all the companies decide to start to make 50 bottlings each year with weird and wonderful “themes” or “special” releases what is going to happen to the stocks that create the traditional and time tested bottles we have grown to love?
I think they are creating an industry that thrives on making collectible products in smaller batches and releasing them is smaller areas. This is driving the price and competition up with the collectors, braggers and creating the overall whisky snobbery we see online everyday. I can’t go online without seeing the “Look what rare whisky I got” or check out my review of this $1000 bottle of this 1975 single malt from a closed distillery.
Is this new whisky actually living up to the hype? Some are, I have had a few at whisky shows that were great, like Compass Box, who in turn are helping to dispel the Hoax by fighting for true transparency, which I guess adds to their Hype. I see other offerings from some of the big distilleries trying to compete with the new upstarts by removing age statements and releasing their own “special” bottles which I think may be part of the Hoax issue that I fear. Are they really trying to innovate or just re-branding the same stuff as new and upping the price.
I do see some Hope with some of the new products and happy to see some of the old ones for the most part staying true to their core products like Glenfarclas or Glenmorangie. We have some great new products here in Canada as well with big guys aging longer and focusing on quality over quantity and the new distillers making great, affordable whisky.
I just want to be able to have a decent variety of good whisky at an affordable price to buy for a long time. Maybe that is why I have been buying more Canadian and American whisky lately, I haven’t bought a bottle of scotch in over 4 months.