Is Whisky The New Gold?

If flying wingsuit YouTube videos are any indication, humans crave the new and extreme. That quest for chart-topping experiences may go a long way toward explaining the current thirst among whisky drinkers for rare blends and limited-edition vintage cask releases.

Demand for limited releases has increased sharply over the past few years. Last month, Bowmore (a peat-smoked Islay whisky) released a 12-bottle limited-edition Bowmore 1957, a “truly exceptional cask” set aside in 1995. One of the 12 (each featuring a hand-blown bottle and platinum stopper) was put up for auction October 10th, with a reserve price of about $160,000.

The Dalmore unveiled its 21-bottle Constellation Collection of individual vintages for $200,000. Macallan launched the third in its Masters of Photography collection, pairing original works from Annie Leibovitz with four special cask-strength whiskies for $2,750 a bottle. Four customized Macallan 1949 bottles from the brand’s Fine and Rare Collection, each with a one-of-a-kind gallery-sized Leibovitz print, sell for $25,000 a bottle. Finally, The Glenrothes, a Speyside region distillery, discovered a few long-lost casks, unveiling a 1970 expression (limited to 179 bottles and dubbed “The Extraordinary Cask”) at $5,000 per bottle.


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