Demand hits Laphroaig 10-year-old supplies

Laphroaig is facing up to a shortage of its signature 10-year-old Islay single malt as global demand for age statement whisky continues to take producers unawares.

Whisky producers around the world have been struggling to keep up with demand amid a boom in interest in age statement single malts, driven particularly by the US and Asia.

A spokesman for Laphroaig at The Whisky Show in London on Friday (7 October) told the drinks business: “There is a slight shortage of liquid for the 10-year-old and there will be a bit of a shortage of supply for a while.”

The situation with Laphroaig has also been seen with Japanese whisky Yamazaki, which has also seen stocks of its 10-year-old expression all but run dry due to soaring demand.

The Laphroaig representative said the current soaring demand for Laphroaig 10-year-old has its roots in the US.

“Age statements in the US is in boom,” he told db. “There is a real desire and need for age statements whisky and obviously the industry could not foresee this 10 years ago. Add Asia into the mix and its pretty clear why producers were unprepared.”

He admitted that the shortage of supply was a mixed blessing for the brand, saying: “It’s good and bad news. There is great interest in malt whisky all around the world at the moment and people are falling in love with age statements.

“Blends are great and obviously crucial to the industry, but generally people now love to have a single malt that has been stored in a barrel at the distillery. It’s a sense of romance and heritage that dives the demand.”

The Whisky Show, which was put on by The Whisky Exchange at Vinopolis, London, attracted producers from all over the world, though Scotch whiskies and producers were very much in the ascendancy.

Among them was Richard Patterson, master blender at Whyte and Mackay, who was showing off the recreation of a century-old whisky buried under the Antarctic ice by legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton.

Earlier this year Patterson spent eight weeks marrying and blending a range of malts to get an exact replica of the 100-year-old Mackinlay’s liquid.

Patterson told db: “The response to the whisky has been fantastic and I think people are a little surprised by it.

“I think the majority of people expected something quite heavy and unrefined, but what they are getting is a very delicate, fruity whisky with a subtle hint of smoke and they are taken aback by how fresh it is.

“Demand for the whisky is huge among collectors and enthusiasts. People are generally fascinated by it and it offers a little window into whisky’s past.”

Elsewhere at the show db sampled Glenfiddich’s Age of Discovery 19-year-old expression, which the brand team revealed will be moving away from being a travel retail exclusive and be put on general release from February 2012. The whisky has been matured in oak casks previously used to age Madeira wine and will retail for £75.

Balvennie also confirmed to db that its 40-year-old expression will be released soon, having been delayed due to “unforeseen production problems”.

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