I have been moaning for quite some time now about the vast numbers of ‘luxury’ whiskies being released on the market which seemed to be more about the packaging and brand image than the product inside. To my mind, the word ‘luxury’ implied an element of quality or craftsmanship to justify the ridiculously high price tag. Compass Box’s new release inspired me to do a bit of research into what ‘luxury’ actually means, in the literal sense, and I must say I was surprised.
I checked 3 different English dictionaries; Chambers, Collins and the OED (I studied languages, I have a lot of dictionaries in the house) and not one of them mentions the word ‘quality’ in the definition. Expensive, rich, indulgent, yes. But not a word about being quality. I even checked the French Petit Robert and Spanish Santillana dictionaries (told you I had a lot of dictionaries) but no mention of quality there either. So I was wrong. Turns out a whisky doesn’t need to be quality at all to describe itself as luxury - a high price tag alone is justification enough it seems if we follow the dictionary definition.
In that sense then, Compass Box’s new release may not be considered ‘luxury’ - it’s £150 price tag, while not cheap, is fairly tame compared to many whiskies on the market these days.
The good thing about dictionaries though, is that they generally offer more than one definition. Another definition of ‘luxury’ is ‘something that is pleasant and enjoyable but not essential’. This definition pleases me a lot more. By that token, any whisky that brings enjoyment can be called ‘luxury’ regardless of how much, or how little, it costs. Of course, the question of whether it brings enjoyment or pleasure or not depends entirely on the individual, so everyone will have a different idea of what a ‘luxury’ whisky is to them.
So, by my reckoning, if you like Compass Box’s new release then it is a luxury whisky. If you don’t like it, it’s not. Simple! The same logic could apply for any whisky from the cheapest blend, to the most expensive single malt. Luxury, like beauty, would appear to be in the eyes of the beholder.
Now, I have so far resisted writing a blog post to flog my own products however I have had a burst of efficiency of late and managed to create not only a new product line but also a dedicated Whisky Impressions facebook page so I felt I was justified in sharing this with you!
So, first things first, the new arrival. I initially had the idea of doing a Cask End T-Shirt for different distilleries but then I thought it would be much more fun if the T-Shirt could be personalised, giving you lovely people the chance to own a completely unique design, with your own personal information making up the Cask End. There were a few logistic wrinkles to sort out first (like how to get round minimum order quantities) but I am pleased to say that I’m now up and running!
Here are some designs to give you an idea of the type of thing that you could get;
But you don’t need to stop there. It would make a fantastic anniversary present (particularly for a 2nd wedding anniversary, which is traditionally a gift made of cotton) Or you could get one to promote your whisky club, blog, festival, website, trip, distillery (any Visitor Centre managers reading this?) etc. The only limit is your imagination… well, and a few technical considerations. Firstly and most importantly, please be sensible with the number of characters in each line - I can only fit so much in! Secondly, the characters must be from the roman alphabet and I’m afraid certain symbols, special characters and accents may not be available.
Since the t-shirt will be to your own specifications, I will of course email you a proof for approval before printing. The lead time will be a bit longer than usual because they are printed to order but I expect to be able to dispatch in within around 14 days. As with all other products on my website, the price includes free worldwide postage. T-Shirts are available in Men's/Unisex and Ladies' fit, in a wide range of colours and in sizes S - XXL. Should you happen to be looking for 25 or more t-shirts of the same design, please give me a shout before you order as I may be able to offer you a reduced rate!
Now, if you were paying attention, I mentioned at the top of the post that I also have a new Facebook page. So, to celebrate this milestone I am offering one lucky person the chance to win their very own personalised cask end t-shirt, completely free of charge. All you need to do is like my facebook page, and share the competition post by midnight tomorrow (Wed 2nd Sept, midnight UK time) to be in with a chance to win! Winner will be drawn at random and I’ll get in touch afterwards via facebook to discuss their t-shirt requirements!
Good luck everyone! And if you don’t win, you can always console yourself by buying one!
Whisky Impressions is run by Kate Watt. Previously at Springbank and then Glenfarclas, I now design some whisky related stuff and write about it, and anything else that takes my fancy, on this blog.