The last 12 months have been a bit mental haven’t they? With the pubs closed, and us all being unable to travel anywhere I seemed to have picked up the very endorphin firing and the potentially expensive habit of bottle chasing.
Bottle chasing, for those not aware of the phrase; is essentially in its mildest form scavenging all the whisky websites on ‘release day’ to try and pick up a bottle of that new must have whisky. In its most extreme form, it’s lusting after a new release to the point where you’re ringing shops a good 2 and a half hour drive away to see if they have it in stock; and then convincing yourself it’s an ‘essential journey’ to go and pick it up that afternoon. (It wasn’t in stock, so the very non-essential, essential journey was not taken).
Being involved in a whisky club has probably not helped matters. I now see links to more and more new releases almost on a daily basis thanks to our group chat. The perils of WhatsApp! Have I bought more bottles because of it? Most definitely. Have those bottles been worth the chasing? Probably?
All this bottle chasing nonsense came to a head for me just before Christmas with the release of the much desired Kilkerran 16. I’d had the 12 and a couple of the 8yo cask strength releases and loved them; even tried a few of the work in progress bottlings and enjoyed those too; so it made perfect sense to get my mitts on a KK16.
I was up early for my only task of the day. I knew it would be difficult; there was alot of hype around this new release; the oldest Kilkerran to date.
Tweetdeck was set for any #Kilkerran appearing in the Twittersphere, phone alerts were set to loud. Several websites were open and the F5 key was thinking (if it could have any thoughts at all) dear God let this day be over soon.
First. Nothing. It was quiet; too quiet. Had I missed the all already? Surely not. Then, a ping on the phone! Ping! Click, SOLD OUT. Another. Ping! Click, SOLD OUT. A tweet from a whisky shop, Ping! Click, SOLD OUT. This went on for a while. Until a friend sent me a link privately to another whisky site. Ping! Click, add to basket, go to checkout. . . SOLD OUT!
At this point I was already into my fourth Tassimo 100% Columbian of the day and the FOMO was mixing with the caffeine to create a potentially ruinous situation for me and my F5 key. Think outside the box Peter, think. Then it hit me! Phone calls! Not all the whisky shops you use have websites; ring them up see what’s happening. So I did, the first shop I called I was convinced would be a sure thing; they sell more wine than whisky, it’s probably not even on the shelves yet. I was right to a certain extent. It wasn’t on the shelves; but that was because their whole allocation had already been sold. It was now at this juncture I began to spiral. As in I began to spiral out from my location with the help of Google Maps; to all the potential stockists of this elusive bottle. No joy. I eventually gave up the phone calls idea around 120 miles from home.
It’s fair to saw my goal at this point was very singular and, rather driven. After all this effort. I decided to sulk; and bought a bottle of the also newly released Hazelburn 13 Oloroso to soothe my broken heart.
So that was that then. I was going to have to scrounge a dram from one of my lucky friends who had managed to snag a bottle.
Mid-afternoon rolled around and after my £3 meal deal and thankfully no more coffee; I was resigned to my fate.
. . . PING! Click, add to basket, checkout, pay. . . BOUGHT! The Kilkerran 16 was on its way to me. I was happy; day completed. I was happy; happy I’d got the bottle, but quite honestly a bit embarrassed over the efforts I’d gone to in order to get one. The bottle arrived and has since been opened enjoyed and shared. It was good, but I prefer the 12.
More importantly; it has also meant I’ve had an internal monologue rolling around in this head of mine about the power ‘whisky hype’ can have over you. I was like a man possessed that day trying to get that bottle. That to me is not a healthy attitude to have for a hobby that I do for enjoyment. I am aware that many people love the ‘thrill of the chase’ on getting the new bottles and good luck to them; but the way I’m wired just doesn’t sit well with that.
So, bearing all that in mind I’ve decided to give up the bottle chasing for good. I’ve come up with a much more suitable way for me to enjoy whiskies that are new to me, not necessarily new to the world but without having to drink too much coffee and debate driving to Timbuktu to pick up a bottle. More on that in the next write up.
In the meantime, hope you’re all doing well, and enjoying your whisky (in moderation).