What’s it like to taste $50,000 worth of whisky?
It’s a hard question to answer – even once you’ve done it. But one thing’s for sure: the experience around it says a lot about the wild moment in the ultra-premium whisk(e)y market we’re living through.
The Axis was lucky enough to receive an invitation both to the press/industry preview of Glenmorangie’s #Unseen Luxury Pop-Up in New York City this September, and, amazingly, to a VIP Tasting of Glemo’s mind-blowing 1970s Collection – only 10 in the world, only 3 of them in the U.S., retailing for $50,000 apiece. (N.B.: The event was covered for the Axis by our dear friend J.T. Rickhouse – lucky guy. The tasting notes below are his. – BO)
We approached the pop-up and tasting with lots of questions. What is a brand like Glenmorangie trying to accomplish with such a wildly expensive offering? Scotch exports fell by 7% globally and by 9% to the U.S. in 2014. There’s more competition than ever from the U.S. super-premium bourbon revival, from malt whiskies from Japan, India, South Africa, Scandanavia even. How do major brands find a balance between exclusivity and aspirational dreams (e.g., a 5-bottle set costing $50,000) and securing a broad enough market for sustained growth?