MacLlyr wrote:Can anyone tell me how rare the Lagavulin 21 YO OB is? Is it numbered, if so how many were bottled? As well what years was it bottled? As well can anyone tell me how it stacks up against Ardbeg Provenance?
In terms of taste vs. Provenance, well they are both awesome bottles. Some will prefer the Provenance (and there are at least three "different" Provenances - I've managed to taste two of them: the European and the American releases), some the Laga 21 and some other bottles (Laphoaig and Brora 30 YOs comes to mind, not to mention various Port Ellens, older Longmorns, etc...). So, like anything, it's a matter of personal preference. One thing, though, is that while these are all great bottles, they are also costly bottles.
Regarding "collecting or speculating" on them: well, that's tough (no one can predict the future) and not a very popular topic around these places for reasons that we all know (i.e. reduces availability and drives up the prices of special bottles, which many aficionados already consider to be over priced). As has already been mentioned, Laga 21is a limited release, but then so again were the 25 and 30 yo Lagavulin bottles. Also, the Brora 30 annual releases have also been fantastic bottles: the 2007 is about 30-40% more expensive than the Laga 21, but the 2007 release was only 1/3rd the size of the Laga 21 release (and the bottles are ranked "higher" in most reviews, such as the Malt Maniacs' website). Still, for so "few" bottles (just over 2000 compared to about 6600 for the Laga 21), you can easily still find Brora 30 kicking around. Plus these are all Diageo limited releases and actually, they (Diageo) seems to be pretty good at charging top dollar for bottles by hyping up demand for bottlings with "limited remaining" stock, especially from closed distilleries such as Port Ellen and Brora. These would be - IMO - more collectible bottles, but Brora doesn't seem to enjoy the same collecting interest that Port Ellen does, even though it's a better whisky IMO.
Will Laga 21 increase in cost over the years? Perhaps and obviously there are people selling it online even now, though you'd have to be stupid to buy it at inflated prices in the USA because there is quite a bit of it available through regular channels. This is different in Europe though, where stocks of Laga 21 sold out quickly.
So, like anything, i would buy a bottle first and see if you like it - if so, then great! If you can afford it, buy some more to have for the future. However, if you're planning to watch your laga 21 reach Ardbeg Provenance or Bowmore Black pricing and cashing in on that, I think there are better ways to make money.