I’ll be attending The Great Whisky Smoke tonight – a satellite event for the Hop Scotch Festival which includes an afternoon of cigars, catered food, and Glenmorangie scotch, followed by an evening in the grand tasting hall where a large variety of exhibitors await. While I assumed that the 10 tasting tokens accompanying my ticket would allow me to taste 10 different whiskies in the tasting hall, I just finished going through the festival website and this is definitely not the case. In fact, if I decide to sample Johnnie Walker Blue Label and a Mortlach 18yo, I’d be through my allowance, as both come in at 5 tokens. While you can in theory taste much more by purchasing extra tokens for $1 each, I was slightly disappointed that a $60 ticket only includes a few tastings. However, even at $1 a token, this is still a great chance to try some whiskies you might not have otherwise tried. Let’s take a look at how some of the more commonly available offerings stand up price-wise (relative to our local BC liquor stores). I’ll assume that they’re 1/2 oz pours.
Johnnie Walker Blue (5 tokens)
Bottle Price: $240
Value per token: ($4.60/sample) = $.92
Arran 10 Year (2 tokens)
Bottle Price: $70
Value per token: ($1.34/sample) = $.67
Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky (3 tokens)
Bottle Price: $100
Value per token: ($1.92/sample) = $.64
Taketsuru 21 Year Old Pure Malt (4 tokens)
Bottle Price: $180
Value per token: ($3.46/sample) = $.86
Seems to me that the high end bottles are the best value. In reality, the real gems are those which are not offered in your local liquor store, and hence you might not get to sample again. I’m really excited to try some new stuff, and look forward to meeting some fellow cigar and whisky lovers. And really, a tasting of blue label for $5? I’m in!