Well that year went quickly! I've been assured by those older than me that the years do tend to go faster the older you get, certainly feels that way. I don't tend to look back to often or remember years specifically but 2011 will be a year to remember for independent bottlers. Demand has never been higher and supply has never been smaller. In particular old whiskies and anything (and I really mean anything) peaty have disappeared, gone, almost over night.
It would appear that the success of certain markets and in particular brands like Smokehead, have meant that the demand for Islay/peaty style whiskies has driven it out of the market. There was a time when Caol Ila was as available as any malt. Not so now. Even whiskies like Ledaig are so rarely available and of course demand such a premium...
I'm not going to moan about it too much though. I have always believed that Independent Bottlers should survive by bottling great whisky. Whether this comes from the largest grain distillery or the smallest malt distillery is irrelevant - it must be great. There will be those privileged independent bottlers who are able through sheer size to buy direct from the distillers but for the rest of us, we must seek out those unusual drams that make us what we are.
So what does this mean for 2012? Well, certainly from my wee organisation, I will take great pleasure in bottling some Fettercairn (for the first time), Glendronach (I managed to get one), some astonishing young malts (5-7 years old) and a couple of outstanding old casks. I may also break with my own tradition and bottle a grain whisky. So, things are different, but I am still looking forward very much to bottling some great whiskies in 2012 and hope to meet you sometime along the way.