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Issue 100 - The New World

Whisky Magazine Issue 100
December 2011


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The New World

Tim Forbes has worked for The Whisky Exchange since 2003 and looks after the company's online presence including The Whisky Exchange Blog

It's no secret during the last few years the whisky world has been expanding. Twenty years ago, any kind of threat to the three-way oligarchy of Scottish, Irish and American whiskies would have been unimaginable, yet nowadays limited release single malts from India and Japan sell out just as quickly and change hands for many times their release price in the secondary market.

So how has this situation come about? Even with the benefit of hindsight it's difficult to separate demand from supply as the root cause in this case, but it's likely that it was the initial work of pioneering importers and retailers taking a punt on new whiskies that led to their discovery by adventurous whisky aficionados.

Once present in the market any new brand must prove its quality to survive. Outside their domestic markets new whiskies from non-traditional countries arguably have to be better than their established rivals to prove themselves worthy of their place on the shelf.

It's clear new world whiskies have succeeded as part of a more general upswing for quality spirits – meaning the new single malt drinker is very open to other categories.

In other words, the fact that there is currently an increased demand for high-quality single malt emphatically does not guarantee that whisky companies are going to have it all their own way in the future. Modern consumers may have broader palates and be more open-minded than at any point in the past, but these qualities are two-edged. Their desire to ...

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