About two years ago I read a book about this very subject. It was a generally well thought out essay, but the 150 page book was about 125 pages too long, since there weren’t many new points of view or explanations after the first few chapters.
I think choice if a very paradoxical thing if viewed from a whisky fanatic’s point of view. When I started my collection there was one shop in my area that had lots of whisky. About 1400 different bottles about half a mile from my house. That was tough. I never knew what to pick but I always came home with something good.
Since then, a lot more shops and sites have opened and if I take a wild guess at combining the amount of bottles directly available I think I am being careful if I state that I have about 10,000 different whiskies at my fingertips.
Think about combining The Whisky Exchange, Whiskykoning, Master of Malt, Jurgen’s Whiskyhuis, Whiskybase, Whiskysite, Whisky Auction, The Old Pipe, Van Wees, Loch Fyne Whiskies, Whiskycorner and their vastly different collections, reaching that number shouldn’t be a problem. I’m only counting the shops that have a decent web shop. Taking away the bottles I don’t care about and cannot afford, there is still a few thousand left.
This results in a conundrum. My wife promised me a bottle for my birthday next week, but since I am a bit more up-to-date with what’s available I can pick it myself. This means I have money burning in my pocket and a bottle to buy. But which one?
I am searching for the perfect way to spend the alloted amount and get the best out of my cash. This means a lot of searching, reviewing posts I did bases on samples I had, filtering through lists of drams I tasted at festivals. Making choices. I just opened a few sites and looked through the new releases, highlights and things I still want a bottle from after trying a glass. After 10 minutes I had over 30 tabs open in Chrome.
Does this make me happy? Yes and no. It means I can’t make a choice that makes me 100% happy since there is always that one bottle that you forgot about. The other option is to wait till something new comes along and scoop that up, but that makes other limited editions sell out before I get to those. So how to make a choice then? Honestly, I don’t have a clue.
The (partial) shortlist:
- Master of Malt’s Glenturret 1977
- G&M’s Mortlach 21 (I still want a Mortlach in my cabinet)
- Sazerac 18 if I can get it
- Wait for Master of Malt’s Springbank 1993 if they pick the bourbon cask.
- The new Lagavulin 12 CS, since that is a classic and I just want it.
- A collection of samples to taste many different things.
- A lovely Inchgower 1982
- Many, many others…
What I’m trying to say is that I think my life would have been easier when there was less available. I don’t want to choose from thousands and thousands of different bottles, just a few dozen should be enough. Taking my spoiledness into account maybe one shop that has a thousands, but that should be more than enough. I just don’t know where to start!