An open letter from a concerned whisky lover

collageSubject: Thank you!

Dear Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Highland Park, Talisker, The Macallan, Glen Scotia, Glenmorangie, Longmorn, etc,

You are amongst my favorite whisky producers, or do I have to say were. I truly love your craftsmanship and former expressions of mostly the 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20 and 21 year old (and older) whisky’s with various maturations and cask finishes. I still have a nice little stock of them in my collection. But since you all started bringing 3YO whisky’s (or more commonly called NAS or for the Diageo companies under you “Flavor Led Whisky’s”) and over-marketed/overhyped whisky to the market with fancy names & stories and with prices that are, more often than not, much higher than the AS expressions (with no explanation or accountability for that steep price). I regret to have to say that I have lost a bit of my faith and respect for you.

Earlier I could buy new expressions of your distillery blindly and trust they where of outstanding quality for a fair price. But nowadays I have to taste everything before I decide to buy something (and If I can’t taste it I certainly won’t buy it) and often I’m very disappointed with the price to quality ratio. I’m also disappointed about the lack of transparency about what’s in the bottle and how it’s produced.

In the food industry transparency is becoming the standard as more and more people are concerned about their health and want to know what they put into their bodies. People want to make good choices based on honest, full and trustworthy information. I have to commend Compass Box Whisky for their effort to raise awareness and their openness on their whisky’s this could and should be an example for you (and actually to all producers).

So I’m slowly leaving my beloved whisky brands and started shifting towards alternatives (grappa, rum, calvados, armagnac, etc), independent bottlers and whisky distilleries with openness and without bullshit (pardon my French) stories.

I know that the whisky aficionados, lovers and malt-snobs are just a very small portion of your customer base (with an ever growing portion of whisky investors and new economy customers that will simply pay anything you ask for everything you produce as long as you claim it to be “limited” or “special” – whether that claim is true or not) and than there is the ever growing presure from the boardroom to produce more and maximise profits. So I do realize that this letter will probably have ZERO effect.

Well for now I want to thank you sincerely for all the quality whisky you have produced in the past and hope to meet you again when you start producing good quality age stated whisky with full transparency and for a fair price again.

With kind regards,

Govert Pennings

P.S. for those of you that still have one (or a few) age stated whisky in your portfolio and that still has a fair price, that dram will certainly find its way to my glass.