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What's Your Valuation Rating System

VaryingViewpoint
Moderator Moderator
Posted on 28-08-2018 at 18:27 pm

I thought this topic might be good for many mature and seasoned drinkers to share with others (mostly new to whisky) what personal metrics one uses to keep rational thinking and spending in check when a portion the world goes bananas for such NAS releases as the Macallan Genesis.

For me I've found many great values in the 88-92 rating range costing £50-£200 ($90-$350cnd) range over the last 3 1/2 years all the while prices keep going up. That's because there is more available to be had in an every more competitive market. The whisky boom is now in it's second decade so stocks are not low like 10-15 years ago. The ramp-up on production has been in the works for quite a while now. 

I've come up with my own valuation price point system to keep myself in check to not over spend. 

All in Canadian dollars;

88.00-88.49 for $80-$90

88.50-89.00 for $90-$100

89.00-90.00 for $100-$110

90.00-90.49 for $110-$130

90.50-90.99 for $130-$200

91.00-91.99 for $200-$300

92.00-92.99 for $300-$500

93.00-93.99 for $500-$1,000

94.00-94.99 for $1,000-$1,500

95.00-95.99 for $1,500-$2,000

96.00-96.49 for $2,000-$2,500

96.50-96.99 for $2,500-$3,000

97.00-97.49 for $3,000-$4,000

97.50-97.99 for $4,000-$4,500

98.00-98.49 for $4,500-$5,000

The 88-94.99 range is valuation in real money that I've spent up until this year from my own personal experience in purchasing scotch in Alberta Canada as well importing from Germany on occasion. The 95.00-98.49 range is what I think I would be willing to spend to get me into that scoring range if it was really that great of a scotch.

The most I've ever spent on a bottle is $1200cnd which is about £700. Although I haven't spent more than $1200cnd on a bottle I would consider spending up wards of $5,000cnd (£2800) for certain long gone legendary releases if I had the opportunity and the funds. Which will most-likely never happen the way prices have gone up on such releases these last two years. As we all have dream bottles we wish we can buy.

I still feel we are in a whisky boom with no end in sight. However there is a disconnect to what is available to the informed whisky drinker and the whisky; collector, investor and people with no sense of valuation when it comes to when and why a purchase is made. 

As prices rise on older releases at auction and at retail they are not always connected and derived from or for the same type of consumer. There is still plenty of good value to be had out there. happy

  Edited on 08-09-2018 at 23:54 pm
One life... Drink it well
peatbogger
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 28-08-2018 at 22:53 pm

Interesting.

But this also puts forward the intent of any purchase.

Are you aiming for a safe bulls eye, or willing to go out on a limb for the sake of experience?


Before even making a scale I would have to add that such a scale would have to be based on my own rating. In other words something I've had a bottle or at least a sample of.

I'm not buying anything (again that absolute statement I was challenged on wink ) on the basis of someone elses score, not an average WB score, not a Serge score, and absolutely not a Murray score. The latter would mean you could spend a fortune on bottles of piss.

Although, when faced with the choice of two eaqually priced and to me unknown bottles I have to admit that I sometimes check their WB score. Still if the difference is not too wide I may go for the low score bottle based on my other experiences with the brand or the bottler.


I have never bought a bottle much above the £200 mark.

Staying at the low and "sane" end I have not ventured that far into the deep end of the whisky pool, but out of 20-25 or so £200 bottles I have bough or tasted in the last two years, about half have been what I would call "worth it".

The other half have been real disappointments were I would justify a price tag around £75.


The reason for the self imposed £200 limit is not only out of disappointment in this range, rather more the disappointments in what I have sampled from even more expencive bottles, from £250 to £2.500

Oh, the agony of sitting at a restaurant or bar with 2cl of something not that special knowing you could have had a full nice bottle for that £100.


Yes, there are bottles in this range worth those extra 2-5 points above 90. Like the 30YO Caol Ila special release that I recently got a sample of and rated 94 points. But do I feel those points justify £500 which is the lowest offer? 

No, I spent £170 on two bottles of 22YO Blair Athol which in my "taste" was worth the equal 94 points. Feeling I have already got twice the value for points for a third of the cost, there were still £330 left to spend on adventures into 3-4 unkown bottles. I may even find another 94 point bottle amongst them. 


So making a table out of it would be a very complicated one, or a very simple one based on price rather than points.

-> £60 : anything goes as a first time purchase, above 85 points in personal score to do a re-stock. Although I most often choose to go for a different "wild card".

     Examples:

     - Rampur the Indian single malt. Blargh! A £55/68p bummer I'm not sure what to do with.

     + Highland Park NAS CS. Solid! At £50/85p I will definitely be getting more.

£61->£150 : temptation mixed with a "huch of personal experience", above 90 points in personal score to do a re-stock.

     Examples:

     - Kavalan Solist Sherry. £150/80p, the points given for the thrill of extreme. As a whisky it's aweful.

     + Blair Athol 1995 Sherry cask. £85/94p and a real no-brainer for getting a couple more.

£151->£200 : as with the previous adding recommendation from a trusted source, above 94 points in personal score to do a re-stock (which are few and far between).

     Examples:

     - Mortlach 18YO OB. £180/80p, adding to the injury of a mediocre whisky is a 500ml bottle.

     + Octomore 06.3. £200/94p. Unfortunately illegal ABV around here, and not found while traveling. 

£200 -> £500 : beyond the braking point of value for money compared to what is available at less. Never bought regardless of points, and probably never will with the exception of finding something at less than 50% market value. The odds of lotto.

£500 -> : no way Jose!

Slàinte Mhath
Administrator Administrator
Posted on 29-08-2018 at 09:42 am

peatbogger wrote:

Are you aiming for a safe bulls eye, or willing to go out on a limb for the sake of experience?


That's an important point. Sometimes, I buy a bottle or miniature, knowing that it won't get a high score, but it's interesting enough to spend the money anyway. Floki is a good example: it's young and slightly immature, but it got character and a unique style that I am happy to explore. I wouldn't buy a bottle or even a sample of it, if I'd apply the above list. Which, on the other hand, doesn't mean that I am eager to waste my money.

I very much agree with peatbogger's thoughts and price scale, with the exception of buying bottles above £200 every now and then. These are bottles I only open on special occasions when I am in the mood for it. Above £500, it is very hard to justify the cash spent on a bottle, no matter how good it is. Some people who are not on a budget will probably disagree, but if I had unlimited cash available to fund my hobby, it would become utterly boring. The challenge of finding a bargain is part of the game, and I pity those who can afford every bottle, not realizing how much they lost the real appreciation of a good Single Malt.

-Slainte

  Edited on 29-08-2018 at 09:44 am
“There is no such thing as bad whisky. Some whiskies just happen to be better than others.” (W. Faulkner)
mrgood
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 29-08-2018 at 17:18 pm

I don't have a hard set of rules.  I just play it on a per bottle basis, quickly weigh all the factors in my head.  i.e. likelihood of quality (for instance I'd risk more for an unknown Springbank than say an unknown Tobermory), general distillery interest, bottle-individuality factors (i.e. peated vs sherried vs experimental vs etc), and even things like strength, rarity, chill-filtration, colourant, bottle size, etc.

I took a look at my bottle spreadsheet (yes, I maintain a bottle spreadsheet :-S  ) sorted by price, and the scores are all over the place.  I've got bottles I paid $75CDN for that I rated into the 90s, but at the same time bottles at twice that cost I rated 70s and low 80s.  There is a general trend of increased rating vs increased price, but at the same time many bottles that buck the trend.  If I had to put a pseudo system together based on my purchase history and resulting ratings, maybe something like this:

< $60 - I'll give pretty much anything a go... which is more and more common since it's getting harder to find bottles in this range.

< $100 - mid-to low 80s and up

< $150 - mid to high 80s and up

< $200 - creeping into the 90s

< $300 - Has to be in the 90s.

> $300 - very rare. If I'm paying this much it better be %&$ing fantastic.

I guess this is why I don't buy as much these days.  I'm too picky and frugal to pay the going rates for the going quality...  I'm gonna go have a cry now

(current exchange rate is $100CDN ~= €66)

  Edited on 29-08-2018 at 17:22 pm
peatbogger
Specialist Specialist
Posted on 29-08-2018 at 22:44 pm

I recognize those brain gymnastics of mrgood.

Size, ABV, color&filtering, experience vs adventure, cask type, rarity, future availability.

Trying to factor against price and figure what you can expect to get for your money.

My palate stops at a certain point where there is no sense in feeding it with anything more complex or exclusive, and add to it my personal taste and preference.

A trained professional taster of any field does not give scores, they give descriptions and make advise or choices based on a general desire and not their own personal preference.

Don't ask a sommelier what he recommends, tell him what you like and ask if he got something he think you will enjoy.

That's why tasting notes, even biased by preference are so much more important than just scores.

In that way any one elses points are more or less pointless to me in regards of purchase descissions.

My question to myself during these silent calculations are more about the likelyhood of feeling I get what I pay for, which led me to this bell graph based on my own experience in what I feel I have got out of previous bottles.

value_graph

Any experienced feeling of value above the graph is a pleasant surprice, anything below is a disapointment.

Buying a £15 bottle there is not much expectations. A 25% chance of feeling I spent my £15 well is a reason to not buy. That's why I don't buy JW RED.

At £50-60 85% satisfaction is acceptable. A'bunadh is an example that usually come in above the curve.

The peak is between £90-100 where the bottle have to be really nice to make me feel good about buying it. The £95 CB NoName qualifies.

Past £100 it is more or less downhill in expecting to feel I got my money's worth. The £110 Glenmo Signet is spot on line just tipping the edge of rationality.

Sure there are £200 bottles that make it above the curve, even above the 80% line, but why would I pay +£200 to have 80% feeling of spending my money wisely, when I can spend half and be all jolly?


And I agree with Slàinte Mhath, having an unlimited budget will eventually make a hobby into a boring pass time activity. Where would the excitement be? Probably at snubbing other big spenders at auction.

I also have a few bottles set aside for special occations, not surprisingly my most expensive.

Like a decent vintage Glenfarclas Family cask, a special release Mannochmore, and Bruichladdich Black Art. All around £350-370 bottles which I have secured for under £200.

But when will I find an occation worthy? Am I just afraid to be disappointed?

Getting nervous that I uncontiously bought them as an investment wink 


  Edited on 29-08-2018 at 22:50 pm
VaryingViewpoint
Moderator Moderator
Posted on 29-08-2018 at 23:36 pm

peatbogger wrote:

I recognize those brain gymnastics of mrgood.

Size, ABV, color&filtering, experience vs adventure, cask type, rarity, future availability.

value_graph

The peak is between £90-100 where the bottle have to be really nice to make me feel good about buying it. The £95 CB NoName qualifies.

And I agree with Slàinte Mhath, having an unlimited budget will eventually make a hobby into a boring pass time activity. Where would the excitement be? Probably at snubbing other big spenders at auction.

I agree with this, as I've found myself having a harder time spending over $150cnd (about £90) for a bottle in the last 12 months or so. Do to the fact that it's just not needed as there is plenty to choose from in the price bracket of $90-$150cnd (£50- £90).

The CB NoName, Octomores, Springbanck 12yo Cask Strength,  Longrow 11yo Cask Strength, and many more have been very satisfying without having to spend more than $150cnd (£90). And most of these are released once and sometimes twice a year every year. 

I also agree with both Slàinte Mhath and PB of "Where would the excitement be?" in finding liquid treasures at reasonable prices, that makes it GOLDEN!happy

I believe there is still enough distillers out there that are more geared to the drinker that appreciates a quality single malt than solely selling to the highest bider. And that is where I'm more apt to spend my scotch dollars going forward. 

  Edited on 30-08-2018 at 00:58 am
One life... Drink it well
VaryingViewpoint
Moderator Moderator
Posted on 30-08-2018 at 00:46 am

mrgood wrote:

I don't have a hard set of rules.  I just play it on a per bottle basis, quickly weigh all the factors in my head.  i.e. likelihood of quality (for instance I'd risk more for an unknown Springbank than say an unknown Tobermory), general distillery interest, bottle-individuality factors (i.e. peated vs sherried vs experimental vs etc), and even things like strength, rarity, chill-filtration, colourant, bottle size, etc.

I took a look at my bottle spreadsheet (yes, I maintain a bottle spreadsheet :-S  ) sorted by price, and the scores are all over the place.  I've got bottles I paid $75CDN for that I rated into the 90s, but at the same time bottles at twice that cost I rated 70s and low 80s.  There is a general trend of increased rating vs increased price, but at the same time many bottles that buck the trend.  If I had to put a pseudo system together based on my purchase history and resulting ratings, maybe something like this:

< $60 - I'll give pretty much anything a go... which is more and more common since it's getting harder to find bottles in this range.

< $100 - mid-to low 80s and up

< $150 - mid to high 80s and up

< $200 - creeping into the 90s

< $300 - Has to be in the 90s.

> $300 - very rare. If I'm paying this much it better be %&$ing fantastic.

I guess this is why I don't buy as much these days.  I'm too picky and frugal to pay the going rates for the going quality...  I'm gonna go have a cry now

(current exchange rate is $100CDN ~= €66)

I've to become much more discerning in how I spend my money in the last year or so when it comes to choosing my next purchase. I use many metrics such as mrgood's; "strength, rarity, chill-filtration, colourant, bottle size, etc." to the point where I won't purchase any scotch that is chill-filtered and less than 46% abv unless it's cask strength anymore (as I like more power, viscus, body and depth to my drams). And there's a lot available without going over $150cnd (£90).

Once you figure out what you really want from your dram it's easier to focus on what to look for as oppose to what the industry is trying to market you.wink

  Edited on 30-08-2018 at 02:48 am
One life... Drink it well
lincolnimp
Connoisseur Connoisseur
Posted on 30-08-2018 at 10:43 am

I have a much simpler way of looking at things, 

Do I want it?

Do I need it?

Is the price acceptable to me for the type of whisky and that distillery?

We all hark back to the glory days, 5 years ago perhaps? wink

But in 2011 I paid £300 for Brora 32 year , in 2012 the new 35 year went up to £450 which I thought was not value but managed to get it for £390 so I got it (might have been 2013 when I actually purchased it), the fact is these type of bottles as a treat, something to save for, where still in reach to many of us.

Not sure about other peoples wallets but my wages growth has lagged well behind bottle inflation so I turned to only buying at auction but now things go for silly money so have given up on those only looking now and again.

Unfortunately over £50 I see very little value anymore, under £50 there is still whisky to be had like Kilkerran 12 but even these value bottles are reducing in number.

I still look who doesn`t, but I think the general trend of distilleries telling me what they think a whisky (as a core product) should be for a certain age and a general decision to make price points where they are is one I don`t agree with anymore. 

The rise in price of HP 18 is a good example of this

I used to accept it, now I don`t. I used to buy loads of bottles per year, now I don`t but the whisky industry will keep on going and for every one whisky lover like me there will be 2 eager new whisky buffs to splash the cash so the whisky industry is not worried about the implications of their pricing, for the moment anyway.



  Edited on 30-08-2018 at 10:46 am
VaryingViewpoint
Moderator Moderator
Posted on 30-08-2018 at 18:55 pm

lincolnimp wrote:

I have a much simpler way of looking at things, 

Do I want it?

Do I need it?

Is the price acceptable to me for the type of whisky and that distillery?

We all hark back to the glory days, 5 years ago perhaps? wink

I still look who doesn`t, but I think the general trend of distilleries telling me what they think a whisky (as a core product) should be for a certain age and a general decision to make price points where they are is one I don`t agree with anymore. 

The rise in price of HP 18 is a good example of this


"Do I want it? Do I need it?" I'm finding that I think more this way lately. For me, it's become easier over time to be more discerning in how I spend my money with more drinking experience. 

I'm also shying away from many core range release as they do seem more geared towards the general drinking consumer i.e. that in less interested in hidden value purchasing (which requires work and time) and relies on brand core recognition and marketing to guid them. In which the distillers don't seem to put their best into theses anymore as they understand who their customer is today.

Highland Park 18yo is a great example of this, as I had a few closed bottles left and realized that the value of what's in the bottle to what they're selling for did not equate anymore so I traded them for better scotches at 2/3 to 1/2 the price. And I'm starting to think the same about the HP 25yo 45.7% abv. Maybe I'll trade those to.

  Edited on 30-08-2018 at 23:22 pm
One life... Drink it well
Ganga
Expert Junior Junior Expert
Posted on 31-08-2018 at 06:08 am

I use QPR.  Quality to Price Ratio.  The problem with QPR is that really high expensive stuff suffers regardless of quality.  However, it is very good way to determine a repurchase for things that you can get sub $200.  


Second, I am willing to pay some for experience.  As an example, how does any scale work if you want to try Dunglass?  It's just not available to try unless you put out the money.  Example: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/4128/dunglass-1967-mi



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