Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tiny Bottles

I guess it goes without saying that I’m obsessed with whiskey, and I’m on a mission to taste any that are new to me. But buying more 750ml bottles than I could possibly drink gets expensive, and it’s getting harder to find bars that carry whiskeys that I’ve never had before. This has brought about my infatuation with small format whiskey bottles. Sadly, their rarity can rival that of Unicorns. They seem to go in and out of availability quickly, so I always snap them up when I stumble upon them. The four most common sizes are 50ml, 100ml, 200ml and 375ml. The 50ml (standard nip size) is too small for me to sample on two or three occasions, as I like to do. The 375ml seems to be the domain of mainstream whiskeys and special limited production items. With something like the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection, where a limited number of barrels may only produce a few thousand bottles, it makes sense to use the 375ml format and double the number of bottles available to curious consumers. Often, the little bottles are bundled into sample packs. While I’m happy to find anything new and unique in a small bottle, the 100ml and 200ml bottlings are what I’m really after. So far my finds have included the 200ml Walker Blue, a trio of 200ml Bruichladdich bottlings (10yr, 15yr, 17yr), a trio of 50ml bottles from the Balvenie (10yr Founders Reserve, 12yr Double Wood, 15yr Single Barrel), a sampler pack of four 100ml offerings from Glenmorangie (The Original, The Nectar d’Or, The Quinta Ruban, The Lasanta), a three pack of Glenrothes 100ml’s (Select Reserve, 1998 Vintage, 1985 Vintage), and nips of Jim Beam Rye, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, and Gentleman Jack. The ones that are known to exist but have eluded me thus far: the Talisker 200ml trio (10yr, 18yr, Distiller’s Edition) and a variety of Glenrothes 100ml trios of different vintages. I’m sure others are out there, but like I said, they tend to come and go. So, be sure to buy any of these little gems as you come across them.

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