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Issue 17 - Mini bottles, big obsession

Whisky Magazine Issue 17
July 2001


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Mini bottles, big obsession

Brian Hennigan investigates the murky world of the miniature collector and discovers that these hardened collectors will stop at nothing to achieve their goals

They're difficult to find. There aren't many. But take care: they're fanatics. They will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. And they have the resources to do it.

The Editor's words rung in my ears as the wind swept me down the cobbled streets of Scotland's capital. Word had been around for some time that there was a new fear stalking the streets of hard liquor. They hunted alone and took what they could, distance no object. Their trade was miniature bottles, mostly whisky, and their goal was to fill every shelf in their house and garage.

At The Whisky Shop, Princes Mall, Edinburgh, they were familiar with the collectors. As the door closed silently a chill descended, the type of chill that can mean only one thing: air-conditioning.

“They come in twice a month or so,” said Grant as if referring to the tides of the North Sea. “They look for any tiny difference,” continued his associate Carol. “Tiny things that I don't even notice.” They mentioned the time that the sunset on the Highland Park miniature had been changed. Orders had been placed and money exchanged. It had got pretty hairy for a time. Didn't those marketing boys know the trouble they caused with their so-called re-packaging?

What about the whisky itself though? Does anybody actually buy the little whisky bottles for drinking? “Some people do it for tasting,” Carol noted, her eyes alive to the dark shadows at the back of the shop. Her tacit inference was clear. The Drinkers are a rare and n...

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