You ask me whether I would spend R5 000 or even R20 0000 for a bottle of whisky.The answer is probably not, possibly I can’t afford it, although I do have a certain sympathy towards people who are prepared to spend large sums of money for individual bottles of whisky. There are two ways of looking at it. The first is as a collector, these bottles are all in very limited edition, this one for example is one of only 400 bottles, its a Glenlivet from 1959, bottled in 2001, and never sold, never sold to the public, it was, all these 400 bottles were made available to people for auction, they were all sold for charitable purposes, which makes them very desirable, from a collector’s perspective.
So this I would guess is currently fetching probably in excess of R180 000 per bottle. So in other words, it’s good value, if you paid R30 000, you’d get your money back. But the other way of looking at it, whisky is after all made to be drunk.
And that in itself has two aspects, the, looking at a very old whisky is very very interesting, a whisky that was made in 1959, a lot has changed, Glenlivet has changed through out the industry since then, and so to nose and taste a whisky made as long ago as that, particularly against a contemporary whisky is most instructive, but the other side of it is whether old whiskies for which of course you pay more are better than younger whiskies, and the answer to that is quite simply they’re not necessarily better, they’re just different. I mean there are certain whiskies for example, if you like, the full impact Smokey Islay you’re better to drink it young, about 10 years is probably ideal for the full impact of the smoke.
Some whiskies take age better than others, Mortloch is a classic example, Springbank is a classic example, young Springbank I find not too pleasant, but old Springbank is absolutely magnificent. Putting a price on age, obviously you’re going to pay more for the old bottle as I said, but putting a precise price on it is frankly impossible, but I think that the key message is that they are not necessarily better, they are different..