Around this time last year I had a fistful of LCBO gift cards, graciously received gifts from various friends and family, and was looking for a couple of nice bottles to spends them on. While browsing the Toronto Kingsway store, I noticed a bottle of Macallan 12 year on the shelf. A lone bottle, no price tag. It stuck me as very odd, since the Macallan age statement expressions hadn’t been available in Canada for a few years. A year later I still don’t know why I didn’t buy it, maybe because it seemed so out-of-place, like there was something wrong with it, like it was a trap of some kind. The next day though I returned with the intent of correcting my foolish decision but, hardly surprisingly, it was gone. I shrugged it off as a black swan but it kind of happened again, yesterday.
Armed with this year’s collection of gift cards I was browsing the LCBO website and came across this:
As I’ve discussed before when a single bottle of something odd shows up on the website it’s usually ‘ghost inventory’ and a call to the store almost always ends with ‘we tried really hard to find it but it’s either broken or stolen. Sorry.’ I get it. My expectations are usually pretty low but it never hurts to call, right? I mean I got really lucky with finding a Laphroaig Cairdeas 2012 last year so the risk/reward ratio is heavily in my favour, right?
Here’s the odd part: the website showed zero inventory of the Single Barrel Amrut across the whole province. Not sure why, I decided to confirm the inventory against the LCBO app. To my surprise a single bottle showed at the Toronto Queens Quay store, so I called. A very helpful gentleman said he would look to see if it was on the shelf. A minute later he informed me that yes, it was here and that he could hold it for me if I can down to the store as soon as possible. He also congratulated me on my luck as he seemed well aware of the improbability of the bottle actually being in the store.
An hour later I collected it, for the princely sum of $42 (the only other price I could find in Canada was SAQ at $99). The gentlemen I spoke with said that it had been a return the previous day, and that since there was no receipt, it had been reshelved at the last price offered, no doubt reduced when they were clearing out the last stock. Given the timing it must have been bottle gifted to someone who didn’t know what they had and was happy to return it to the LCBO for something they wanted. That’s just fine with me, everyone comes away happy.
I’ve posted before about a couple of prime buying opportunities:
- the end of March during LCBO year-end inventory when lost and forgotten items are unearthed and put out on the shelves
- the end of September when each store needs clear shelf space for incoming Holiday inventory for the holidays
And now there’s a third window of opportunity: the week after Christmas when items get returned by people who don’t know what they have. The mysterious Macallan 12 I saw last year probably was a result of a similar return. To be fair, there was only one bottle of the Amrut Single Cask but I’ll leave you with this tip: as of this morning (Jan 5) eight bottle of Glenfiddich 1963 Original Malt have appeared , priced $59. The same bottle runs $99-$140 so it’s a remarkable deal.
Three bottles at a store in Kitchener; if you’re not in that city, ask for an inter-store transfer.
P.S. Thanks for the gift card, Mom. You said that it would buy me half a bottle of whisky I like, but I got a whole one, with some left over!