Late to the Trend Again

I discovered the joys of single malt scotch a couple of years ago, when my parents brought back a very fine (if young) vintage from Scotland. This after my mother had famously derided scotch as “tasting like cough syrup.” I’ve had fun in the World of Whisky store in the international concourse in Heathrow, thanks to a wealthy client of ours who flew us to Qatar a couple of times.

But now it seems that everybody else has gotten into the act, and there’s a shortage of single malt. I have had the Glenlivet 22 year, and it’s quite better than Johnny Walker Blue Label. Well, the market is responding as markets do to shortages, by sending the price up. This is signalling the distilleries that they need to be laying down more single malts to come to maturity (much of the oak for the barrels, by the way, comes from the US–are we going to limit that so British oak-growers aren’t outsourced?). However, maturity takes some time, so there will be a slight, twenty-year lag while inventories age appropriately. This is called inelastic supply, so we’ll probably be seeing high scotch prices for a while, or someone will figure out how to improve the flavor of younger vintages.