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The Dalmore Trinitas

by Master of Malt     19. October 2010 12:36
The Dalmore Trinitas 64

How does it make you feel?

A robin and a magpie were perched on a windowsill at Master of Malt Advanced Base Camp 1. They peered in inquisitively and, by chance, happened to see an email from The Dalmore on someone’s screen, after several attempts to open the email and a quick rebooting (why would anyone unleash a travesty like Outlook on the world?).

Anyway, the email advertised a rather unusual, groundbreaking bottle of Scotch whisky, a bottle known as “Trinitas”. Aside from its age (64 years), its handsome packaging and rarity (there are but three bottles in the world), Trinitas has one overriding talking point; it’s £100,000 a bottle…

Hershel the magpie turned to Esteban the robin, “astonishing, a work of art!”

Esteban didn’t share Hershel’s view; “it’s naked profiteering, of the worst kind!”

Hershel felt he needed to make his point clearer: “But what’s wrong with it? Someone will certainly buy it, someone with a lot of money no doubt, but someone who may well get £100k’s value out of it. Something is worth what someone will pay for it; there is a big market in high-end, luxury goods, driven solely by the value that customers assign to it. What’s wrong with charging a lot for something if people are willing to pay it? It’s incredibly rare, beautifully packaged, and certainly will taste exquisite…”

Esteban felt differently, “But Hershel,” he began, “it’s whisky, it’s a drink and its purpose is for drinking. There is no way it cost anywhere near £100k to make. It’s all just one big marketing story, designed to garner brand attention. It just feels contrived.”

“You could very well argue that it’s art, though… What’s the difference between this and a Picasso (which can easily cost an order of magnitude more)?”

“A Picasso you can look at and you can enjoy without literally removing part of it (i.e. by drinking it). This… …this you take a sip and thousands of pounds worth of value has gone, instantly. In fact, I’d warrant after that first sip you’ve almost completely devalued the bottle!”

Dalmore Trinitas 64

“But a collector of fine wines and spirits may well never taste his or her most expensive bottles. The value is in knowing its rarity, admiring its aesthetic beauty, and the idea that one possesses something so exclusive. It’s very human; we crave the best, the rarest, the symbols of success... The buyer will enjoy simply having it. Hell, the buyer may even enjoy drinking it too!”

“It seems opportunistic, and the fact they’ve produced just 3 bottles is purposefully driving up the price, creating hype. That Picasso has been a work of art for decades; its merits are known universally. Furthermore, if you buy it and don’t drink it, you’re simply collecting for collecting’s sake. It’s a drink for heaven’s sake! The Dalmore have been distilling for years, but it’s only comparatively recently that they’ve been ramping up the frequency and the ludicrousness of these ‘ultra-premium’ bottles. Glen Wonka anyone?”

“The Dalmore have been distilling for centuries, the oldest whisky in the bottle was distilled in 1868! Yes, they’ve created hype and deliberately limited its production (they could easily have taken a little more ultra-rare whisky from their astounding stocks and made more) but that’s how the luxury goods industry works. They’ve brought the techniques of designer fashion brands to the spirits world – I say ‘good for them!’ Recently, a luxury watch manufacturer decided to reposition their brand as super-premium. They did this by literally buying up the existing stocks of their watches, creating rarity. How is this any different?”

“It’s unnecessary profiteering. There is no need to charge so much, aside from to create a story, and reap a massive profit margin.”

“But,” Hershel the robin countered, “by that same token you should never charge more for something than it is strictly worth on an objective level. That Highland Park 40 over there, that’s hundreds of pounds a bottle. That Macallan Rankin 30 Year Old is the best part of a grand, but you can buy 30 year old whiskies for sub £100. Neither is objectively worth its sticker price, but because they are rare, legendary, utterly delicious, and because of the sterling job the brands have done presenting them, as well as the allure for collectors, they command those price tags.”


Richard Paterson making The Dalmore Trinitas

“£100,000 and several hundred pounds are two very, very different ballparks. So few people could even dream of spending £100,000 for a bottle of something that is destined for consumption. How can you argue that it’s anywhere near ok? When such a large percentage of the world’s population can’t even afford clean water, or an education!”

“There are people on this earth who cannot afford anything. You only object to this because 100 grand is outside the realms of what you can afford. The same thing applies to any consumer. This is fashion, after all, it is a luxury, and some people can afford to spend hundreds of thousands on cars, watches, houses, yachts and whisky!”

“But yachts, houses and cars cost money to make! That whisky would have cost less than a thousandth of its retail value.”

“They still have a mark-up, where do you draw the line?”

“It sounds as though we shan’t reach a conclusion!…”

So, we’re putting it to you; how do you feel about The Dalmore Trinitas?



- The Chaps at Master of Malt -

Tags: , , , ,


Categories : News | Whisky


Read the full story (9 Comments )

Comments (9) -

10/19/2010 1:11:28 PM #

Just stupid, no whisky can be worth that much.

fredrik Sweden

10/19/2010 2:11:16 PM #

I think this sort of drams are nothing but bad PR. selling an overpriced 60 year old for so much... i don't get it, i don't like it.

gal Israel

10/19/2010 2:19:46 PM #

I can see the value in the whiskey itself as it's contains some over 100 years old(although i'm sure it's a very small amount), which is incredible!

Dalmore have been shifting a lot towards LVMH premiumisation and I personally missed the Cigar malt when it was pulled out of the USA - have to say it was under priced at the time.  However, for all the great work Picasso did, in his later life he started churning out lots of cheap ceramic rubbish and charging too much for it.

That isn't to say this is rubbish or art, but I hope whoever ends up drinking them enjoy it.

If I had the money I would have bought one - if I ever opened it would be another question.

Chris United States

10/19/2010 2:41:46 PM #

A well put together argument, chaps.  Our thoughts are that, whilst this is an absurdly expensive whisky, clearly market forces out there dictate that it will probably sell. What will that do for the price of other 'super premium' bottlings?  No doubt drive them up too.  Does that mean everything above 30-40 years old will be unobtainable to the average drinker?  Who knows, but we sincerely hope not.

I recently made the point that compared to the Shackleton whisky (lost for a century under the frozen Tundra, yet by most accounts, still intact) Trinitas (wasn't that once the name of an electricity supplier?)  has less of a provenance, less scarcity and less of a reason to justify the £100,000  price tag.  

What's also slightly perplexing is the number of news stories running on whisky in the mainstream press, which seem to solely concentrate on the outrageous prices being charged.  Sure it establishes the category as a luxurious market, but just for once, wouldn't it be great for the focus to be on the craft, the brilliance of the actual spirit, not just the whole god-damn glittering package.

Right...I'm off to drink some Dalmore Gran Reserva.   A snip at under £40.  You can read what we thought of the dalmore Trinitas here:

caskstrength.blogspot.com/.../...rs-bob-dylan.html

Neil United Kingdom

10/19/2010 11:47:40 PM #

I love whisky. I write about whisky. I can barely wait to leave work, go home and have a glass of whisky. That said, there are far, far better, more important things in life to spend money on than whisky. A $100,000 bottle of whisky is obscene and pointless, especially in a time when $100,000 could be put to much better use. If Dalmore were donating the profits of these 3 bottles, they'd be on to something, but as far as I know they're not, it's just a simple profit-reaping PR gimmick.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for people spending money the way they want and companies using whatever cheesy tricks to get people in the door. But just for once, wouldn't it be nice to see a company generate a lot of excitement about a worthy cause rather than generate a lot of faux hype over something virtually no one on the planet will try, let alone care about?

Peter United States

10/20/2010 12:10:58 PM #

My thoughts pretty much reiterate much of what has already been said.

No doubt the ‘Trinitas’ is probably a very fine drop of drammage but for this or any whisky to be sold for £100,000 is fairly ludicrous in my mind. It also sends out so many negative messages about the industry as a whole in my opinion.

Even if it had more of a historical story or punch to it, I’d still find it hard to believe that any dram could justify such a price.

Though if there are those gullible enough, oops I mean who are willing to pay such an amount, there’s obviously a niche market for it and I wish everyone involved the very best of luck in their extreme luxury endeavours.

Steve United Kingdom

10/23/2010 3:33:16 PM #

They put just enough whiskey from 1868 for it to be worth exactly £100,000. It's like filling your car with petrol with a tenner in your pocket and you don't want to go over.


Maybe they should have charged £1m for it. Then it would be ten times more newsworthy.

John

John Ireland

10/25/2010 6:26:07 PM #

In response to Peter's comment, Macallan are auctioning the 'Cire Purdue' for charity, and that will almost definitely exceed the £100,000 mark. Is it any better or worse that it's for an obstensibly good cause? The end goal is still the same - to claim the title of 'Most Expensive Whisky in the World', and of course the publicity that it entails. Why hide behind the pretense of charity? At least Dalmore have the balls to be honest about it.

Besides, all this really boils down to a is a personal vendetta between Macallan and Dalmore. The contents of the bottles are irrelevant, they just need a reason to justify the (entirely arbitrary) price tag.

Also, with regards to the art arguement, how many priceless works are kept under lock and key in private collections, only ever witnessed by a select few?

So long as there are still great whiskies under £100 for the rest of us to appreciate, I couldn't care less to be honest.

Sue United Kingdom

10/31/2010 6:43:09 PM #

A hundred thousand pounds for a whisky!?!?!?!?
Yes it is obscene.
Yes there are better things to spend that amount of money on.

This is only the argument from those WHO CANNOT AFFORD IT!!

If there is someone who collects and treasures such things and for whom money is no object then I say fair play to that person. Whether they have inherited a vast fortune or have worked hard all their life and wish to rest on their hard earned rewards.

Let us all be honest with ourselves, if we were in the position to spend that amount of money and not really care then we would wouldn't we?

As to the whisky itself, this thing has been over 140 years in the making. What on earth do people expect Dalmore to do with whisky after that long? Stick it in Whyte & Mackay? If after such a length of time the whisky is stunning and drinkable then treat it with the reverence and the respect that it deserves and to hell with croakers who are bitter that they will never have a dram.

Christopher United Kingdom

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