I decided to start this blog because as I travel, which I tend to do a lot for work, I see significant differences in the prices of whisky compared to where I live, Toronto. This affords me the opportunities to purchase bottles both for drinking and for collecting that (a) might not be available in my home province of Ontario, and (b) take advantage of pricing differences that are driven by local demand. I will offer observations on the vagaries of the local markets as well as point out what I believe to be good deals.
Please bear in mind that what I consider to be a good deal may in fact not be the case at all for you for the exact reason I stated above, demand in local (in this case your) markets. For example, south of the border, the US still has access to the core Macallan age statement range. Not so in Europe where the price for the core Macallans are over 50% higher there than they are in the States.
Second, the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Our government run (and sole) supply of spirits sometimes runs discounts (usually less that a 10% reduction) which are not terribly exciting, but there are two alternate opportunities for great deals. First, sometimes a single store will decide it no longer wants to carry a certain bottle and decides it would rather use the shelf space for something else. Deep discounts can occur but only at the given shop and the price is not transferrable. For example, I saw an LCBO outlet in Burlington clearing out six bottles of Tobermory 10 for $51 a piece, marked down from $67 regular. That’s a good deal. Even better was a shop in Oakville clearing out Hazelburn 8 for $70 (from $120). I couldn’t resist that one and stocked up. But, unfortunately, these offers are limited and hyper-local.
The other avenue is a product discontinuation. Items slated to be discontinued start off as ‘Limited Supply’ which means ‘we still have lots but don’t intend to order any more’ and they sometimes have a modest price reduction of 5%-10%. These are worth keeping an eye on. At some point when there are only about 20 bottle left in the province, the remaining stock moves to ‘Discontinued’ and the price drops dramatically. Recently LCBO put their remaining dozen bottles of Compass Box Spice Tree on Discontinued and dropped the price from $64 to $39. That’s a great price for this whisky; I bought three of the bottles and noted the remaining bottle in the ‘LCBO Alerts’ page of the blog last week. These are the domestic opportunities I will share under LCBO Alerts as they appear.
What you won’t find here are tasting notes or ratings. Lots of other blogs and resources for that sort of thing out there. I just want to share opportunities for nice prices so that if you find yourself in the part of the world I’m writing about, or here in Ontario for the LCBO notices, you can also take advantage.