Review of the year 2010, and the first 5 years of www.whisky-news.com (January -2006- January 2011).
After the euphoria of 2009, 2010 has been quieter with several distilleries reducing their production and reverting from 7 days to 5-6 working days a week. The figures for 2010 have not yet been released, but I would not be surprised if the amount of whisky produced in Scotland is slightly lower than in 2009. The past year has seen the official opening of the new super distillery of Diageo: Roseile, the extension of The Glenlivet distillery, the first run at Abhainn Dearg, the Isle of Lewis distillery and Annandale distillery in the Lowlands received its permission from the Dumfries and Galloway council. Alas, Edrington decided to close the Tamhdu distillery as well as its maltings, the distillery of Barra is on stand still, as well as Port Charlotte, while the future of Bunnhahbhain and the other Burn Stewart distilleries (Tobermory and Deanston) is obscure.
The trend in pricing (more premium whiskies) is still going strong, with some bottles (3) Dalmore sold for £100,000 and the number of new products selling over £1000 has never been as important as before (e.g., Glenfiddich 50 YO, Highland Park 50 YO, Mortlach 70 YO, Bowmore 40 YO, and other Macallan and Dalmore). This trend does not affect only old recently bottles whiskies, but also old whisky bottles (bottled a few decades ago).
According to the figures published in the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2011, sales of bottled single malt increased of 1% in value, but decreased of 10% in terms of volume (for 2009). I don’t think the figures will be much better for 2010.
With the number of good old casks getting very rare and with a number of people ready pay more than £10,000 for a bottle of whisky, this won’t slow down in 2011, unless people stop buying this stuff at any price.
2010 has seen the release of numerous expressions and the number of wood finishes is shrinking, with distilleries such as Arran, Benromach or Bruichladdich reaching the age of maturation, with enough stocks to support (soon) some “standards” and consistent expresions (e.g., 10 YO). Apart from the distillers, the choice of single malts from independent bottlers (IB) is as large as ever, but the products offered are mainly mid-aged whiskies (10-20 years old), with the number of old products (30 years old and more) reduced, with the notable exception of some rather recent IB such as the Daily Dram or The Whisky Agency.
I mentioned above that the trend in finishes is slowing down and a new one is emerging: Creating new “old fashioned” whiskies.
Sometime during the summer 2010, the 1000-tasting note has been published on www.whisky-news.com and the audience is steadily increasing reaching now approximately 10,000 visitors a month. In addition to the numerous tasting notes, a few reports have been published, the number of distilleries in focus further expanded and a fair number of books reviewed. The first interview of an independent bottler was made in 2010 and a second will follow beginning 2011. An article on tasting notes is under preparation and should be released Q1 2011.
Over the past 5 years of www.whisky-news.com, I had the privilege of tasting some exceptional whiskies and I hope that this won’t stop. A new search function has now been added on the main page of my website and although I have been asked to add RSS feeds and other “technological” improvements, www.whisky-news.com will remain as it was, since I don’t have the time and the skills for these “nice-to-have” gizmos that I do not use. Sorry, I might be somewhat old fashioned.
Although there is interest on my website, the total amount of donations for 2010 was rather unimpressive: 0 CHF (=$0=0€=0£). A considerable amount of time and money is spent to keep this website active (hosting), up to date, and to acquire whisky samples. With the exception of a few whisky samples received by some friends or contacts (special thanks to Patrick, Misako, Carsten and Max), all samples are acquired during whisky festivals, whisky samples retailers, or via dedicated forums. This represents a considerable financial investment every year. Feel free to make any contribution to this whisky website, this would be greatly appreciated to keep this website free from commercials. Samples are also well appreciated and financial arrangements regarding shipping costs can be organized. Please feel free to contact me. Furthermore, if you want me to publish a report from a whisky event or any article, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Last but not least, I wish to thank the authors or publishers for providing with some books (special thanks to Ian, Ingvar and Misako).
As a disclaimer, I do not work for any whisky companies, retailers or publisher, nor do I receive financial contributions from such parties. www.whisky-news.com is and will remain an independent source of information related to whisky in general.
I wish you all the best for 2011 and plenty of very fine drams.
Patrick B. 04 Jan 2011©Whisky-news.com