Not a member? - Register and login now.
All registered users can read our entire magazine archive.

Stock levels of closed distilleries?

All your whisky related questions answered here.

Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Alzarius » Fri Dec 10, 2010 2:30 am

It seems the more I think about Scotch Whisky, the more questions I have. As I plan out (and rank) my upcoming purchases, I thought I should get some releases from distilleries that are closed, mothballed, silent (is there a difference in the 3?), especially the well-regarded ones like Port Ellen, Brora. Gotta at least try 'em before they are gone forever.

Well, does anyone have any idea (besides the people who work there, obviously) how much stock these distilleries have?

With Port Ellen doing a release a year, you would surmise they have quite a lot of old stock, right?

What about Brora, Glenugie, St. Magdalene, Rosebank? Or even the other lesser heard names like Littlemill, Ladyburn etc.

And while we're at it... what about Ardbeg's 1970s stocks?

I know it's going to be near impossible to rank all these in terms of stock levels, but what's your best estimate?

:D
Alzarius
New member
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Tue Nov 30, 2010 2:42 am
Location: San Francisco, CA, USA

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby dramtastic » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:13 am

To the best of my knowledge

Karuizawa around 4000 casks
Hanyu 350-400 Casks
User avatar
dramtastic
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 3476
Joined: Tue Jan 20, 2009 9:07 am

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Ganga » Fri Dec 10, 2010 4:18 am

Regardless of the stock levels for many of those you've listed, the price is only going to get higher. Recall that Brora, St Magdalene, Port Ellen have been closed for 25 or more years. It's not just the number of casks but how much has been lost in those casks and are they starting to go under proof.

Rosebank, Littlemill probably have a little more availability as they are much more recent closings. But you should look for these to go up over time.

Ardbeg 70s stock is getting lower. Gordon (SpiritofIslay.net) may be able to give you some better information.
Ganga
Matured cask
 
Posts: 23005
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:57 pm
Location: Sylmar, CA

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Spirit of Islay » Fri Dec 10, 2010 3:50 pm

Right Dot Rich ! :lol:
Everytime i comment on Ardbeg stock there's usually a rash of Releases......
AFAIK 1970's ardbeg stock is just about non-existent or if it is it will be very , very Expensive.......as in the recent O.b.'s and DLP's .
From what i gather (going off recent announcements and price hikes from MHUK ) there's very little stock from the 1990's available !
To think 10 years ago as we went into the new millennium they were just about giving away 1970's Ardbeg , £70 for an 72/73/74/75 OMC and £70/£100 for a 1976 O.B. , oh for the good ol' days......
User avatar
Spirit of Islay
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2537
Joined: Sat Dec 14, 2002 2:01 am
Location: Usually somewhere with Whisky......

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby The Third Dram » Fri Dec 10, 2010 5:47 pm

Ganga wrote:Regardless of the stock levels for many of those you've listed, the price is only going to get higher.

This is a simple and painful (pocketbook-wise) truth. Which is why I firmly believe the 'prime' period for accumulating whiskies from many of the distilleries listed has long passed (especially given that the last truly large-scale closing of sites occurred back in the early 1980s).

That inevitable combination of depleting stocks and rising prices carries with it the probability (in many instances and with rare exceptions) that what remains will never reach the absolute quality levels of earlier releases. Thus, if one is considering diving into the 'closed distillery pool' years down the road from the date of decommissioning, one should likely concentrate on those few whiskies that actually merit their asking prices.

Brora and Port Ellen are two excellent examples of distilleries that fairly consistently produced high quality malts. Even here, however, it's increasingly becoming a 'touch and go' situation, particularly as regards single cask issues or older versions.

The produce of second-string distilleries (such as Banff and Littlemill... there are many others that opened their doors in the boom cycle of the late 1800s mainly to make malt for blenders) represents a much more risky proposition, in my view.
User avatar
The Third Dram
Triple Gold Member
 
Posts: 2386
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 8:38 pm

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Ganga » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:41 pm

Yup TDD. Rosebank is not as far down the road as it stopped production in the mid 90s.
Ganga
Matured cask
 
Posts: 23005
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2006 11:57 pm
Location: Sylmar, CA

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby MacDeffe » Fri Dec 10, 2010 10:57 pm

Stock at Michters = 0 :-)


Other than that I would get some bottles of Rosebank and Caperdonich while its still affordable

Steffen
User avatar
MacDeffe
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:26 pm
Location: aarhus, Denmark

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby MARS » Sat Dec 11, 2010 12:46 am

For what I know, stock of port ellen are huge(really huge)but demand is high and price are going up and up.
Stock of brora are much lower but demand is smaller and the prices are still reasonable(get your hand on a official 30 years old form 2004 and 2005. It is incredible stuff).
The good bottling from st madgalene and rosebank are not really sheap. No idea for the level of their stock.(really low for St madgalene I suppose as we don't much new release)

Their are other distilleries to consider as convalmore(that can be great)or glenury royal(some promotions recently on the 1968 and 1970 OB)
Lochside is still cheap for a malt of very very good quality (but it is not about peat and more about fruits). 1981 being a very good year.
Littlemill is not always good. But it is not expensive. (pittyvaich may be as interesting)

And they are the recently closed distillery as caperdonich(sometimes really good, and the price is cheap for what it is)or thamdu (not bad, and the price is really low also)
MARS
New member
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:56 pm

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby sinclair » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:12 am

Any thoughts on Inverleven (not common even when it was in production)and Imperial?
sinclair
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:53 pm

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby corbuso » Sat Dec 18, 2010 1:24 pm

It is very difficult to have an estimate, since the owners (e.g., Diageo) keep this information confidential. In addition, some stocks might be available from brokers and other independent bottlers.
I suppose that the stocks of Port Ellen are still fairly high (at least compared to other closed distilleries), Brora is running low to very low, and St-Magdalene limited. Rosebank should be lower than Port Ellen. Stocks of imperial are probably in the mid range, but Inverleven on the low side.

Lochside is fairly easy to find, convalmore and coleburn very limited and Glenury Royal, probably in the same range as Rosebank.

Littlemill should be in the same level as Lochside and Caperdonich.

Pittyvaich should be rather limited, since the distillery was in production only for a short time.

Just my guess

..........
www.whisky-news.com
corbuso
Gold Member
 
Posts: 878
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 11:56 am

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby MacDeffe » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:39 am

Of the closed distilleries I find these 5 to be the top

Port Ellen, Brora, Caperdonich, Rosebank and St. Magdelene

I am always worried about this 6

Inverleven, Ladyburn, Littlemilll, Glenlochy and Pittyvaich

The rest is not that common to find but have usually been giving good experiences to me. I didn't have enough of each to pinpoint them as good or bad.

(Lochside, Glem Mhor, Glen Albyn, Banff, Dallas Dhu, Glen Esk, Glenury Royal, Convalmore, Millburn and North Port)

The few Banffs, Glen Esks, Lochsides and Convalmore's I have tried have been really excellent, but it amounts to 1-3 of each

Steffen
User avatar
MacDeffe
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 235
Joined: Thu Mar 19, 2009 2:26 pm
Location: aarhus, Denmark

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby MARS » Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:05 pm

The recent single cask littlemill 1990/2010 are not bad at all (they are a few of them). It is promising for the future release!

Pittyvaich can be pretty good but I don't have enough experience with this distillery.

I must say that I have tryed a few rosebank that didn't impress me but when they are good, they are good.

I have tryed nearly 20 lochside and they were all very good(still, the youngest one was 17 year old). But you have to like your malt non or lightly peated!
When I have the occasion, I buy a few bottle of this distillery. I wish I choose this one to collect in place of glendronach!
MARS
New member
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:56 pm

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Onefortheditch » Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:08 pm

This is a question I have wondered about.

Is the information commercially confidential and should consumers have a right know in order to decide they are paying a "fair" price? Public services have to publish a lot of information because of the Freedom of Information Act- MP expenses being an excellent example, but private organisations hide behind commercially confidentiality and competitive advantage. At the end of the day all goods and services we buy or use, whether provided by the public or the private sector, are simply goods and services. As a society we should be looking at what it is fair for the consumer to know, not what a company thinks is fair in order to increase its profit margin.

It would be nice to try using the Freedom of Information Act to find out about remaining whisky stocks from closed distilleries and see what the Information Commissioner thinks. I think it would be a dead end, but it would be interesting to hear a formal statement that consumers do not have a right to know about important details that concern the products they are buying. Especially ones that could affect the price!!

I have often heard from the whisky trade that "it is nearly all gone". They would say that wouldn't they!!
User avatar
Onefortheditch
Silver Member
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:48 pm
Location: Inverness, Scotland

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby corbuso » Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:39 pm

Collector57 wrote:
corbuso wrote:Littlemill should be in the same level as Lochside and Caperdonich.
...because nobody wants to buy it...

the quality of the previous 12 YO was indeed below average (at least to my opinion), but I recently tasted a few 1990 single casks from different IB and they were surprisingly good, even very good.

corbuso wrote:Pittyvaich should be rather limited
...because it's awful[/quote]
I had a soft spot for the 20 YO released last year, not an exceptional whisky, but enjoyable and the 12 YO Fauna & Flora was respectable.
But always, it is a matter of taste :-)
corbuso
Gold Member
 
Posts: 878
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 11:56 am

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Willie JJ » Sun Dec 19, 2010 11:24 pm

I think Corbuso is right. There have been some decent casks of Littlemill and Pittyvaich recently. I guess that they are attracting more attention from bottlers now that their closed status is becoming significant and that the prices of the better regarded closed distilleries are getting ridiculous. No doubt the decent casks will get used up soon enough and we will be back to getting crap from these stills, but this time at ridiculous prices.

I also think speculation on stock levels is only that. We can't know who has what stashed away and I don't think we need a statement from the Information Commissioner to know that companies won't tell us and will continue to exploit the situation. It's called capitalism.
User avatar
Willie JJ
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4562
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:31 pm
Location: nr. Edinburgh

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Onefortheditch » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:20 am

We wouldn't get a statement from the Information Commissioner anyway as I've just found out the Freedom of Information Act only applies to public bodies. I'm not aware of any equivalent for private companies. And you are right Willie, secrecy is a part of capitalism, but there are many different flavours of capitalism and companies are forced to disclose some types of information through regulation. Capitalism is evolving and hopefully the customer will eventually benefit.
User avatar
Onefortheditch
Silver Member
 
Posts: 328
Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 9:48 pm
Location: Inverness, Scotland

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby MARS » Mon Dec 20, 2010 9:58 am

I didn't try the signatory bottling (little mill 1990)but signatory don't have a good reputation for what they release recently.
You have to look at bottling from german bottler (whisky agency, perfect dram, whiskyfair, Malts of scotland)and belgium bottling (daily drams, for the nectar, toshop)

The best being from whisky agency/perfect dram/whiskyfair(same bottler).

I am not only talking about littlemill, of course!
MARS
New member
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:56 pm

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Willie JJ » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:07 pm

Onefortheditch wrote:there are many different flavours of capitalism and companies are forced to disclose some types of information through regulation. Capitalism is evolving and hopefully the customer will eventually benefit.

I hear what you are saying and regulation has helped to improve the release of (mainly financial) information, but information on stock levels is at its heart commercially sensitive and we will never see that published. Companies will argue correctly that publication would disadvantage them against foreign competitors that do not have such reporting requirements. Of course if we got global agreement that it was a good idea that everyone should do it then it would be harder for them to argue against. Don't hold your breath.

MARS wrote:I didn't try the signatory bottling (little mill 1990)but signatory don't have a good reputation for what they release recently.

I didn't try the Littlemill either, but I think that's an unfair comment about Signatory. They have recently released very nice Glenugie, Ladyburn (Rare Ayrshire), Glenlochy and other bottles from closed stills.
User avatar
Willie JJ
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4562
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:31 pm
Location: nr. Edinburgh

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby MARS » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:42 pm

I am not saying all the recent signatory release are bad but they are more than a few one who are not good at all! (and more than a few one who are very good also)
What I mean is you can't buy a signatory bottle without tasting notes from independant taster.
MARS
New member
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:56 pm

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Willie JJ » Mon Dec 20, 2010 1:55 pm

MARS wrote:I am not saying all the recent signatory release are bad

That's fair enough then. It just sounded as if you were.
User avatar
Willie JJ
Cask Strength Gold Member
 
Posts: 4562
Joined: Tue Nov 27, 2007 8:31 pm
Location: nr. Edinburgh

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby corbuso » Mon Dec 20, 2010 3:00 pm

Collector57 wrote:that's interesting. I had a 1990 Littlemill from Signatory recently that I threw down the sink.
And the 20yo Ledaig went the same way but that was a 90's bottling.

Maybe the Ledaig has improved as it's still producing, but the Littlemill put me off.

With Ledaig, the 20 YO from the early 90s were quite good, but the quality went rapidly down afterwards. At least, since a couple of years, the quality of the young Ledaig seems to be improving
corbuso
Gold Member
 
Posts: 878
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 11:56 am

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Wave » Tue Dec 21, 2010 6:32 am

MARS wrote:I didn't try the signatory bottling (little mill 1990)but signatory don't have a good reputation for what they release recently.

I quite disagree Signatory has been releasing some gems in the last several years and recently, as for the Cask Strength Editions I can only think of a couple (and I've got quite a few) that were only mediocre.

With the talk of closed distilleries I'm surprised no one has mentioned one of my favorite closed distillery, Millburn. Of the ones I've had from Cadenhead's, G&M and Signatory have been as good as any Brora I've had, peaty as well. I'd say stocks of Millburn are low since releases are few and far between but I grab them when I see them.


Cheers!
User avatar
Wave
Double Gold Member
 
Posts: 1860
Joined: Wed Sep 06, 2006 6:57 am
Location: Illinois, USA

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby corbuso » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:03 pm

Collector57 wrote:
corbuso wrote:With Ledaig, the 20 YO from the early 90s were quite good, but the quality went rapidly down afterwards. At least, since a couple of years, the quality of the young Ledaig seems to be improving

I think mine would have been late '90s - probably around 1998.

If so, I would not be too surprised...
corbuso
Gold Member
 
Posts: 878
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 11:56 am

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby corbuso » Tue Dec 21, 2010 12:06 pm

[quote="Wave
With the talk of closed distilleries I'm surprised no one has mentioned one of my favorite closed distillery, Millburn. Of the ones I've had from Cadenhead's, G&M and Signatory have been as good as any Brora I've had, peaty as well. I'd say stocks of Millburn are low since releases are few and far between but I grab them when I see them.

Cheers![/quote]
The ones I tasted might be slightly peated, but never as much as the Brora from the 1970s. With Millburn, as well as Glen Albyn (and sometimes Glen Mhor), in my experience, I have found that the quality is (very) variable. Some can be very good, but some rather poor since too woody. Before buying any of them, I try to taste them before.
corbuso
Gold Member
 
Posts: 878
Joined: Tue May 24, 2005 11:56 am

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby sinclair » Mon Dec 27, 2010 5:58 pm

Poor Littlemill .Goodbye and God Bless .I cant help it,i just love the name.
sinclair
Bronze Member
 
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 1:53 pm

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby Malteriet » Tue Jul 10, 2012 8:27 pm

Port Ellen has recently released their 11th release and the rumour says they have enough for at least a 13th release and probably a 14th. But they are very old now, as the distillery closed in 1983, and the people I've heard from who have tried the whole range say it topped around the 7th or 8th release.

I've recently bought (re-bought) the DT rarest of ten rare Inverleven which is just excellent and develops through time when open. Get it while you can :thumbsup:

With regards to closed, mothballed and silent, the closed ones are typically completely or partly demolished. Stills and other equipment will often be missing which makes it difficult to start them up again. The mothballed ones are still quite intact, but they are not maintained regularly like the silent ones.
Malteriet
New member
 
Posts: 16
Joined: Tue Jul 10, 2012 2:19 pm

Re: Stock levels of closed distilleries?

Postby MARS » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:11 pm

For what I know (but I didn't visited the place where they keep it so...), diageo still have plenty of port ellen. No idea how many more release we will see but I think it will be more than 2.
Talking about quality, I think it's a matter of taste more than anything else. Didnt tryed all the release but I found that they are getting better and better.
Still, the prices are insane now!
MARS
New member
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Mon Jan 04, 2010 3:56 pm

Return to Questions & Answers

Whisky gift and present finder