Let’s get the alert out of the way: Cragganmore 12 for $66.60 at LCBO. Last month a handful of bottles appeared in stock, then a few more, a few were sold and then a few more added, suggesting that some ‘lost’ stock was discovered in the warehouse rather than a full replenishment. As of today, July 12, there are 95 bottle showing in inventory scattered pretty much evenly across the province so if your local outlet doesn’t have then an inter-store transfer should be pretty quick.
At $66, which is reduced from its regular price point around $80-$85, I would argue that Cragganmore 12 is the best price/quality ratio of any single malt presently available at the LCBO. Also by comparison to the rest of Canada, the LCBO price is firmly the lowest of any of the provinces, which range from $74 in Alberta to as high as $100 in B.C.
I mentioned that this expression represents a strong price/quality ratio and I do stand by that claim, but of all the (single malt) whiskies showing on the LCBO app, only one beats out the strength of this offering and that’s the Benromach 10 year priced at $59.15. Unfortunately there’s none currenly in stock and there hasn’t been for months. I was lucky enough to grab a bottle back at the end of March when a couple of forgotten cases appeared on shelves during the LCBO physical inventory week. I was shocked at how good it was and, in my opinion, it beats out all other age statement Speysiders up to double its price point. It has this curious quality of being able to stimulate the palate without making you actually hungry. Ledaig 10 year is the only other whisky I’ve found that shares this quality (which is also a pretty good LCBO buy at $67, if you can find a bottle).
Not surprisingly I keep a keen eye out for more Benromach 10 to come into stock, and this past weekend I was delighted to see that 119 bottles had become available only at the Toronto Queens Quay outlet. Saturday morning I headed down to claim a bottle. Oddly, despite the huge store’s deep selection of malts, it was not on the shelves. Maybe it had just arrived and hadn’t been put out yet? I asked the staff. No, this was actually a private order of 10 cases (one bottle had been damage during transit, hence the .119 rather than 120) and that they could not sell me even one bottle. Ugh.
I understand that they couldn’t sell from a private order, I certainly wouldn’t want my order pilfered if I had place it, but the lesson here it that caution should be taken when the LCBO website or app suddenly shows an inventory spike from zero to a case multiple at a single store. Forewarned, I’ll know for next time but until then I’ll be keeping a watchful eye for other great deals.