We recently got a very firm knock on the Shed door, and upon cautiously opening said door we were greeted with none other than the debonair Mr James Angus, wide eyed and beaming with the look of a madman with a plan.
James Angus serves up whisky reviews and musings at full, undiluted, cask strength. One of the key contributors and administrators for the ever growing Facebook group, Whisky Adventures, he’s known for saying exactly what he thinks whether you like it or not. Here at Shed Quarters we like that a lot and we hope he likes us a lot too.
That would be unusual though. James dislikes humanity with a passion as deep as his appreciation for whisky. However, like a fine Scotch it’s all about balance and he has a very big heart for those that deserve it. And he’s a fair gentleman too so no one gets singled out for ‘special’ treatment; we are all loved and despised with equal vigour, regardless of our varied backgrounds and differing opinions.
Wishing to share some of his resentment for humankind, James has kindly offered to put his knack for crafting abrasive and informative words to use for our very own Shed Time Stories. And we simply could not refuse – far too dangerous. Instead, a residency was offered and I was released from the headlock.
Unlike staffers at Shed Quarters, James can say what he wants without the looming threat of commercial suicide peering over his shoulder. With that in mind James’ views are James’ views and not those of The Sipping Shed. Legally speaking at least.
And if they’re your views too, we recommend you try some mindfulness and a cup of chamomile tea. Calm down for goodness sake!
So without further ado…
The flipper by James Angus.
The resale or trading of bottles is nothing new. There is always a bottle that someone is after.
It maybe you have like minded friends and around Christmas everyone gets a bottle that they are not a fan of and they’ll simply trade it with a mate who likes it.
Job done nice and simple.
Or previously you may have a load of bottles stashed under the kitchen sink and to get rid of them easily you phone up an online auction site and send them, then sell them via auction.
Easy and simple.
Now welcome to 2021 and every fucking thing has changed.
Over the past two years a whole new sparkles and glitter coated version has emerged.
Whisky is now an investment and you can have a portfolio of bottles and casks and even management wank terminology and on-line seminars about investment and a software (got have a spreadsheet or an app) to let you track price.
The price of limited run or discontinued bottles has gone fucking chicken oriental during the Co-vid crisis. Bottles that were and still should be worth buttered buttocks are now becoming attractive because they are discontinued.
Bell’s 21yo. Discontinued 30 years ago and let’s be honest it’s not the greatest of bottles was trading for £20-25 a bottle. £30 tops.
Now it’s minimal of £50 because a few shit kickers think it worth loads as it’s old and discontinued therefore it’ll sell for even more next time. Almost artificial price rising. And with all the bottle intelligence of a small prawn they apply this to every bottle and pay over the odds on the off chance and this raises the price.
Cough cough TOSSERS Cough.
Then there’s groups who seem to pick on a bottle and then back it and promote it. One bottle that stands out was Fettercarin Warehouse etc etc to make interesting and then a quick flip.
It’s shit. The only positive feedback I’ve heard about Fettercarin is that the bastard bottle has been finished after using it as a mixer.
Next up are the professional level flippers.
They’ll will simply buy a limited run bottle from a well known distillery and then straight away it goes to auction. Sells for more than the RRP. The profit goes to buying the next limited run bottle. Or they hoard bottles and then.
Laws of supply and demand appiled.
These people really piss off the enthusiast for that particular distillery because they have to pay well over odds to get a bottle they’d like to actually drink. Pick a cult distillery, go through the forums and oh yes some of them really did lose their shit when they couldn’t get the bottle they wanted. Even saw a suggestion that a distillery should open the bottle for the customer and render it unsellable as a way to stop this.
When flipping a bottle I believe that a certain etiquette should also be applied though.
Club bottles shouldn’t be flipped unless pre-agreed by the club.
Someone has gone to an awful lot of time and toil to find a nice cask for like minded friends to enjoy. Even potentially leaving themselves out of pocket to do a nice thing. Sometimes these are obscure and rare and the open market value is potentially huge. Or just the name of the club is enough to push the value very high.
To flip these bottles shows a complete level of disrespect and contempt that is almost on par with Margaret Becket on Question time.
I’m not against flipping because as long as a limited run bottles are released then some will get them, some won’t and some are willing to pay.
Here’s the slightly worrying thing.
A lot of distilleries will be seeing the prices of their bottles go up at auction. They might well start to think that they can milk a few extra pounds out of the drinkers when the next limited run comes out.
In recent months a distillery was flogging the fuck out of a series of bottles with London underground station names on them for £120.
Now I’m not suggesting that it’s bad juice but £120 a for a bottle from a young distillery.
I know that London weighting (because London is the greatest place on gods green earth) charges can bump a price but 120 sheet!!?? Now I will speculate that the prices of some bottles of *insert brand name* are just about fucking vertical when flipped, so they may think they aren’t charging enough for their elite, premium drinkers. This logic can also be applied to a number of other distilleries.
Just a little note of caution in case distilleries do think about taking the piss.
There’s a lot more drinkers like me who will budget and won’t buy bottles that take the piss on price than there are those who spend a couple of hundred on every bottle and yes you may make a quick quid or two but you’ll piss people off and they aren’t as thick as pig shit even though the marketing department believes they are.
Need more? Are you crazy? Well, to be fair, James saves a lot of the really racy stuff for his own blog so check it out here