Thanks to storm Katie rendering much of today's bank holiday to foul to go outside on - horizontal snow this morning (happy Easter everyone) I've been tidying out my wardrobe. It had to be done sometime. My wardrobe is where I keep all the good bottles; whisky that I think might appreciate in value, wine that needs to age, and the good gin (also some cloths and shoes, but they're starting to get in the way of the bottles).
My whisky collection is small and really not worth anything, which is fine, and mostly consists of 9 assorted litres of Old Pultney in travel retail special editions. I really like Old Pultney and will probably end up drinking these one day, but for now I just like to gloat over them. None of them were particularly expensive and they have made pleasant souvenirs of holidays with D, but the problem with collecting whisky now is that prices are rising far beyond my means and even airport special editions are now more likely to be £80 than £40.
It's great for the distilleries and those who are primarily interested in flipping bottles for profit, but a shame for those of us who liked to buy a couple of bottles of something interesting, enjoy one and keep the other for a rainy day (quite often literally a rainy day, much like today, when it might seem like a fine idea to split open some treasure from the back of a cupboard and make plans for the next distillery trip).
Now I knew I had a bit of gin around the place, and I know gin isn't currently collectable in the way whisky is (because yes, the chance that something might shoot up in value is part of the fun - it's just a shame when that becomes the only reason to buy) but I think one day it might be.
Meanwhile most gin is an affordable luxury (under £35) and has become the thing I look out for. The gins on the right are easily available and are basically intended for drinking as and when wanted, but the gins on the left... (I've had to stop twice to go and fetch bottles I'd forgotten about). The gins on the left are for 'best'. That bottle of Shetland Reel in its tweed bag is from the first run, Chase Seville orange gin is much harder to find than when I bought that bottle, the Whittaker's has the most glorious label, the labels are really the reason I bought both Bath Gin and Cremorne's Colonel Fox, and Sipsmith's VJOP and the Fortnum's gin (made by Dodd's) both commemorate happy days out.
Those gins are the beginning of a collection, they're the ones that make me sorry I don't have more, have me making a little wish list of next ones to buy, make me ever so slightly regret the 'good' bottles I left at D's and we drank our way through far to quickly. I don't really regret drinking them (they were great) just not having them any more.
What's happening with gin in the UK at the moment is so exciting, and moving so fast, that it's hard to guess where the market will end up, maybe some distilleries will have their moment in the sun and then disappear, possibly rare bottlings will become valuable, but as gin has always been a drink of the masses I rather hope that it stays that way. Meanwhile, whenever I'm feeling flush, I'll buy any interesting bottle I cross paths with that won't break the bank, and if anyone wants a martini they know where to come.