Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is this fraud, cheating or lying ?

Just some of my random thoughts here. Maybe I am speculating and fantasizing too much, but I can't help myself think and speculate :-)

A new independent bottler "sources" some casks from Whyte and Mackay

an old Fettercairn, Dalmore, Carsebridge and North British under the Sirius label.

After about a year these bottles pop up for sale at the Whiskyshop (UK) and the prices are quite high. The grains go for 5-10 the price of similar bottlings and the malts are in true Dalmore sense released at fantasy prices. My first thought was that this was just a shadowbottler for Dalmore/Whyte and Mackay, but you never know?

At around the same time the man behind these bottlings, Mahesh Patel, is announced as purchasing a full set of the Dalmore Constallation, which is a rather large range of some older cask finished Dalmores of which the cheapest is a 20yo port finished at 2000£ and the most expensive is a 20000£ 1964 finished in a sherry metusalem cask.

(no typo's....)

Recently the Whiskyshop named Isle of Jura Superstition Whisky of the year. Isle of Jura and Dalmore are both Whyte and Mackay products.

To me this is like selling a Toyota at the price of a Ferrari and a Ferrari at the price of an Airbus, while naming a McDonalds Quarterpounder Food of the year.

I also see an unfortunate threesome. If connections like these were involving international politics there would be SCANDAL headlines hitting the newspapers..

The purpose of all this is not to sell these superexpensive malts. They only have one function. Their function is to create attention. Their function is to create a brand. A brand that is connected with luxury. If a bottle of old Dalmore is priced at 20000£ it will lead the uneducated consumer to believe that the regular normal priced Dalmores are superior products.

Similar things has been done by many other branded whiskies. But I have never seen a threesome of backrubbing like this. As a consumer you have to beware. If a shop name a specific bottling as Whisky of the year, you would expect it to be something special, wouldn't you ?

Well, it's a free world. There's plenty of malts out there and plenty of shops. I just choose to shop with people I consider honest in their pricing and honest in their recommendations

Sometimes I wish whiskyconsumers, were as much consumers as they are fans. If I look at the marketing in the business I sometimes can't help to think we are the easiest prey on the planet Earth.

I often see people lie down flat on their stomach drooling about some random packaging, that couldn't be given away for free, if it was sitting on the shelves in IKEA by itself.

PS I didn't even mention the Dalmore Zenith, which is another link between the whiskyshop and Whyte and Mackay


  1. Thanks for connecting the dots, Macdeffe.

    I also noticed Mr Patel's purchase of the Constellation collection, at about the same time of his release of the Dalmore and others under his Sirius label. I remember hoping he got some sort of loyalty points or platinum card discount or something, given he's a faithful customer.

    I did not realize the connection with The Whisky Shop. But related to TWS, every time I read a whisky review by Dominic Roskrow on Whisky Advocate or elsewhere, I keep firmly in mind that he works very hard at his day job, selling whisky for TWS.

  2. Ah yes. Thanks Florin. I was wondering about his positive comments which just seemed a tad too positive. Always keep in my mind that no reviewer are truly independent

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  4. I remember many years ago in England when I wanted to upgrade my HiFi system. After buying the relevant magazines I chose to follow a supposedly 'unbiased' review which named a specific product as not only "best in class" but also extremely good value for money.

    I then visited a renowned independent HiFi shop to purchase the components but found a rather sceptical sales person there who pointed out the amount of multi-page advertising for the said products in that particular magazine edition.

    In the end he wired those components up for me and I heard them, I then heard his own recommendations alongside. His were better and cheaper!

    I guess one has to always be aware of what may go on in the background of such campaigns which are not limited to whisky.

  5. The single malt sales industry is rife with conniving assholery. This suprises no one.

  6. This is why I like the royal mile whisky's approach to the whisky of the year. They have a big festival in Edinburgh and let the customers vote from the quite big selection there.

  7. Aye, I always look at that award. I even voted for it once :-)