For That Price, We’ll Just Give You The Fermented Grain Mash  

, , , | Right | January 21, 2020

(I work at a higher-end specialty whiskey and beer store. Anything the supermarkets and liquor stores carry, we don’t. It’s simply not exclusive enough anymore. Sadly, I have a conversation along these lines roughly once a month:)

Me: “Hello, can I help you?”

Customer: “Yes, you see—” *goes into spiel about how a coworker is retiring, it’s a friend’s or family member’s — usually father’s — birthday, Fathers’ Day is coming up, etc.* “—and so I’m looking for a nice bottle of whiskey as a gift.

Me: “All right, that sounds great. I have all the whiskey right here. Is there a particular style that you’re looking for? 

Customer: “Well, it has to be Scottish, Single Malt, and preferably at least twenty years old.”

Me: *cautiously* “Do you have a budget in mind?”

Customer: “Yes, around €20.”

Me: *head-desk*

(For added information, here in the Netherlands, whiskey usually starts at around €25 a bottle for the cheapest blended stuff, not counting the sample size bottles. Save for some exceptions, a normal, common brand whiskey is about €40 to €80 per bottle, depending on origin and popularity. Scottish Single Malts generally start at €50 a bottle, with better brands going up to €80 to €120 a bottle. A twenty-year-old bottle disregarding the origin and malt status starts at €150 a bottle. Combine all those criteria and you’re looking at a starting price of €300 per bottle. Quality whiskey is hard to come by and some people really need to do more research.)

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