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Single-Malt Scotch Supplies Are So Low, It’s Worth More Than Gold

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Old, single-malt scotch has long held pride of place among discerning consumers of alcohol. After all, a finely aged Scotch is both delicious and dripping with Swanson-level class. Unfortunately, that means a lot of people drink it, and that means it’s running out fast.

There are two problems at work here. The first is that we’re in the middle of a long whiskey boom affecting suppliers across the world; simply put, two decades ago, nobody was expecting nearly the demand of whiskey that’s out there right now. But thanks to sinking or even eradicated liquor tariffs, countries around the world are importing more booze than ever.

Which leads to problem number two, that this stuff is really, really hard to make. For something to have “single-malt Scotch whisky” on the label, it needs to be made exclusive with malted barley, distilled in pot stills in one distillery, and aged in oak barrels no larger than 180 gallons for at least five years. Oh, yeah, and you also have to be in Scotland. Unless they invent time machines, Scottish distilleries can no longer create more of their more finely aged products than they could point you in the direction of Hogwarts. Not that they’d want to, since, after all, the entire idea is to drive up demand while keeping supply low.

The good news is that this won’t affect your day-to-day consumption of brown liquor, nor will you be forced to consume “diet whiskey” instead. Distillers can do most of this stuff anywhere else, with some delicious results, you just can’t call it “Scotch.” But if you want the really good, finely aged stuff, you’d better be prepared to pay its weight in gold.

(via CNN Money)

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