Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are we in a whiskey bubble?

There was no doubt in my mind that vodka had become a craze.  A mania.  An extraordinary popular delusion.  The crowds were mad for vodka.  The proliferation of brands alone told me this.  Crystal skull vodka.  Black vodka.  Quadruple distilled vodka.  Expensive vodka.  I mean who pays more than 40 dollars for grain neutral spirits anyways?

The whiskey renaissance, meanwhile, was producing new and interesting brands.  Amrut Indian whisky is a solid entry in the new "Indian whisky" category.  Rye whiskeys are coming back from near death with some solid brands.  But then this caught my eye:  St. George's English whisky.  Sounds very exciting and promising indeed.  But then to learn that the first batch that can be legally called whisky, merely 3 years old, has completely sold out.  Has whiskey become a craze as well?

But there's more.  There is the first whiskey produced in Chicago since prohibition, Lion's Pride.  Again a very young whiskey selling for quite a lot (more than 40 dollars a fifth) for being two years old.  Shouldn't your price be based on taste and not location?

I'm starting to get the impression that young men are watching Mad Men and drinking whiskey in large quantities because they want to be Don Draper.  Funny digression:  the Mad Men generation largely drank blended Scotch whisky and not the single malt Scotches that are popular among these pretentious young men.

So what do you think?  Are these new whiskies part of the great whisky renaissance?  Or is whisky starting to become a craze, a mania like vodka?  A whisky bubble perhaps?  And is that a bad thing?

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