Why I Buy Whisky at Auction

Creator of Whisky Squad, Jason B Standing talks to Isabel Graham-Yooll about buying whiskies for tastings.

Why I Buy Whisky at Auction

I genuinely never set out to have a whisky collection. It just sort of ‘happened’ as a byproduct of me buying it faster than I could drink it. And making more opportunities to drink whisky was partially what led to the creation of our tasting group in London, Whisky Squad.

Whisky.Auction has proven invaluable as a means of enriching our tastings. We’d usually do blind tastings of 5 or 6 whiskies based on a theme, and having access to the lovely old bottles that come up at auction really help broaden the palette of what we’re able to offer.

We’ve had very successful tastings putting three contemporary bottlings up against their precursors – and you don’t even need to go after ‘unicorn‘ bottlings to see really interesting differences in cask selection, production technique, and of course packaging & marketing.

And anything we can do to broaden our members’ understanding of the whisky world is a valuable thing in our book!

By biding our time we’ve also occasionally built up some really interesting brand vertical tastings, showing a bit about the development of a brand as owners or fashions change. One example was a Glenfiddich tasting we did where we tasted liquid from the 1960s through to 2000s, and noted the abandonment and reintroduction of age statements – this was prior to the more recent industry abandonment of age statements.

So Whisky.Auction has been a wonderful tool for grabbing interesting bottles as they pop up – and shortly before clicking the BID button I’ll be heard to muse, ‘Oooh, that’d be a good one to put into a Whisky Squad tasting!’

Of course, the thing about running a tasting group is that you’ll often end up bringing home a few bottle-ends that didn’t get finished during the session – and so suddenly there’s even more whisky in the house. Suffice to say, the goal of using the club as a vehicle to get through my whisky collection hasn’t been entirely successful.

The other challenge I’ve got now is that since I moved out of London a couple of years ago I tend not to put together anywhere near as many whisky tastings.

Luckily, I know an excellent whisky auction website to sell interesting bottles on…

Jason moved to the UK in 2004 being quite interested in whisky, and it’s all rather exploded from there. He started a tasting group in London, then he and a friend he met through that started a festival in Scotland, and now if there’s a whisky bottle being opened in this country there’s a reasonable chance he’ll be somewhere nearby. His wife also loves whisky, but his labrador does not.

Do you have a Whisky.Auction story to tell? We’d love to hear from you.