On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” hosts Adam Teeter, Joanna Sciarrino, and Zach Geballe discuss the viability of tequila as a collectible spirit. The three debate how the agave spirit could achieve collectible status and compare it to other industry collectibles on the market — most notably bourbon and whiskey. Will the taters embrace aged agave spirits? Tune in for more.

Listen Online

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Or Check Out the Conversation Here

Adam Teeter: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.

Joanna Sciarrano: And I’m Joanna Sciarrino.

Zach Geballe: And in Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.

Adam: And this is the “VinePair Podcast.” What’s up, everybody? How’s everybody feeling?

J: Hey, guys. Good.

Z: Hanging in, getting through summer one sunny day at a time. Not too bad.

A: I love summer, it’s the best.

Z: We know.

J: It’s literally sweltering hot, OK?

A: Well, so I was saying, I think we’re in the period right now where it’s like, you know, crotch weather. Just feels like you’re inside someone’s crotch. It’s so bad. It’s just like… this is the time, right? I apologize if anyone’s offended by that. But I’m trying to give what it feels like. It’s just gross.

Z: There’s nothing like being in an East Coast city when it’s hot and humid and everything smells like trash and…

A: Crotch.

Z: Crotch, yeah.

A: It’s bad, man. But it’s funny, because we dodged the bullet for a pretty long time, and now we’re there. Now we’re there.

Z: Yeah, you can’t ever truly avoid it.

J: You can’t escape it, no.

A: No. Sometimes it hits by the 4th of July and we dodged that. We got through it. We’re like, yeah, here we go. And now it’s like everything feels kind of wet. Even in the studio right now, it feels kind of wet. And you’re just like damp, you know? And you’re just like, ugh. Humidity sucks, man. Why does it exist?

Z: Well, you know where it’s not humid? Seattle, Wash.

J: Yep.

A: True.

Z: It’s a good reason to live here.

J: I like Seattle weather.

A: Do you?

J: I do like it.

A: Even the raininess?

J: Yeah, I think it’s OK.

A: North America’s rainforest.

J: Yeah.

A: That’s true, right, Zach?

Z: There is a rainforest here. It’s not in Seattle, to be fair.

A: But close, right? Yeah, come on. We can’t forget. They’re not all tropical, guys.

Z: It rains more per year in New York than it does in Seattle. Just rains differently.

J: There you go.

A: Yeah. We’re going to get those really crazy summer thunderstorms.

Z: It’s not the rain that kills people here, really, it’s the gray. It’s just the persistent gray for six months.

A: It’s the gray. I thought you were going to say it was the flannel.

Z: I think flannel’s gone worldwide these days so, you know, hard to avoid.

A: Flannel, we’ll talk about that later. Anyways. So Zach, what have you been up to, man? What have you been drinking?

Z: A few things. So, I got the chance to do another pretty big in-person tasting not that long ago, earlier this week, I guess, which was fun for me. As mentioned, last time I did one of these, it’s kind of like I remember it and yet it still feels a little weird, like spit buckets are weird. We were outside, so it wasn’t too bad, but I was like, “Huh. You know? OK.” So lots of interesting wines, all from Washington — it was a Washington wine event. There was a new sparkling wine producer called Tirriddis that I’ve tried a couple wines from that were interesting. But honestly, the most interesting thing I had over the last week, and I actually sent you guys a picture of this, because I thought you would be intrigued by it, was a pineapple amaro from a distillery called Heirloom, which is actually based in Minnesota, in Minneapolis. Well known for its pineapples, of course. But it was really interesting. It was definitely pineapple-y, there was definitely kind of a tropical note to go along with more of the kind of spice and herbaceous kind of note that you associate with amaro. I drank some of that kind of neat, actually, I was having an afternoon coffee at the place I was at. I was asking, I was like, “I want to have something to drink with this.” Because of course I did. And that was one of the things that the bartender suggested. And so I had never tried it and tried it, and I thought it went pretty well in that context.

J: You had it locally in Seattle?

Z: Yes. Yes, I was not just traveling to Minneapolis, I’m sorry to say. But yeah, I don’t know much about it. I didn’t really do a lot of research, but it was definitely interesting and they apparently make a few different kinds of tropical fruit amari, and then also some canned cocktails. So if anyone from Heirloom is out there, we’d probably be interested in trying those things. You can get a hold of us at [email protected].

A: I’d like to try this amaro. I’m very curious about this amaro.

J: Yeah.

Z: Yeah, it was interesting. I bet you could find it somewhere in New York. I’ve got Tim on the case. He seemed intrigued, so.

J: Nice. I feel like pineapple is having a moment right now.

Z: Mmhmm.

A: Yeah, I think so, too.

J: I feel like I see it in lots of drinks.

A: Yeah, I definitely think more this year in summer drinks than I’d seen in the past. Yeah, tropical sort of flavors are having a moment, if you will.

J: Sure.

A: Banana.

J: Ugh.

A: Mango.

J: Love it.

A: I think they all are.

J: Mmhmm.

A: Yeah. That’s cool, Zach. That’s really interesting. Yeah, I want to try that.

J: Me too.

Z: What about you, Joanna?

J: Yeah, so I think the most interesting thing I had this past week, Evan and I went to a local restaurant called Fausto. They have a pretty good cocktail program, too. I think they’re known for their wines, really.

A: They are. Shout-out to Joe.

Z: What’s up, Joe?

J: We had their Vesper. They do an olive oil-washed gin in their Vesper with vodka and Cocchi Americano and lemon. And then I had their Asti lemonade, also Cocchi Americano, green tea, basil and lemon. That was really good. And then also, we made a few white Negronis at home.

A: With what?

J: With Cocchi Americano.

A: Ah.

J: So I’ve been on a little Cocchi kick, I guess.

A: A little Cocchi kick.

J: Yeah. I don’t know. I don’t use it otherwise or really gravitate towards it, but those sounded really good. And I was really interested in the Vesper because I feel like you don’t often see fat washed gin. Right? You see more like vodka, because gin has all these botanicals you don’t want. So those were the most interesting things we tried. I had some mediocre beers.

A: Mediocre beers.

J: So many.

A: “Had some mediocre beers, wah.”

J: Yeah, but those were standouts from this week.

A: Cool.

J: Yeah, what about you, Adam?

A: So apart from the reason we’re going to have this conversation today, the other stuff that I had this week, I had this really cool cocktail called Must Be Le Moné or It Must Be Le Moné at Cookshop in Chelsea.

J: Wow, I haven’t thought of that place in a million years.

A: And it had this really delicious aperitif in it called Le Moné, my lemon aperitif. It also had Rockey’s botanical liqueur, and lemon and club soda. It was really tasty, very light, and refreshing. I think lemon is also having a moment right now.

J: Yeah.

A: Everything lemon-flavored, so that was really good. I had a really good wine that Tim McKirdy recommended. He knew the winemaker really well, but I forget what it was called, so it’s fine. I didn’t take a picture, actually. I thought I had a picture, but instead I have a picture of the cider that the somm, Catherine, at Cookshop was cool enough to bring out because I feel like whenever a somm brings you a pour, you’ve got to be like, “Hey, yeah, I like this. I’ll take a picture.” So instead, the picture on my phone is a Baldwin Single Varietal South Hill Cider, which was really good.

J: Cider.

Z: Wow. You have something positive to say about cider? Wow.

A: Yeah, it was Méthode Champenoise, I enjoyed it. It was really dry. It was like, “Thanks, Catherine.” I thought she was awesome too.

J: She recommended it to you?

A: Yeah, she brought it out for us.

J: OK.

A: But Tim recommended a really great Portuguese wine. Now I’m an idiot because Tim’s going to be listening to this right now and being like, “f*cker.” But it’s fine. It’s fine.

Z: Tim, [email protected], you can let us know what wine it was.

A: Tim, hit us up, man. But that was about it. But the other thing that I had this week, which is what we’re going to talk about, is the reason I was at Cookshop was Tim and I had gone to the release of Patrón en Lalique, which is new. It’s the third iteration of this extremely high-end Patrón tequila that is bottled in a bottle made by the Lalique glass company of France.

J: Crystal, right?

A: Crystal, yeah. So they’ve done three iterations. I think they started it in 2015. They do it every two to three years. And the design is always different. This one really looks like an agave plant. It has like a green hue to it, it’s really beautiful. And it’s $7,500 a bottle. So obviously we got to have a very small pour of it.

J: It’s añejo, right?

A: Yeah, it’s extra añejo. And it had a lot of really rich, nutty, and sherry notes to it. There was tequila in the back end when you actually swallowed it, had it on your palate. But the front was very much this rich, decadent tequila. And they were telling us, they’re basically already sold out of it.

J: Wow.

A: They only made…

J: 299.

A: 299 bottles and only 120 I think came to the U.S., I think, or 150. Only 20 came to New York. And they’re all basically spoken for at this point. So clearly there are people that are really interested in this high-end tequila. And so, from that experience, Zach got on the old Slack and was like, “Hey guys, what do you want to talk about this week? Why don’t we talk about …” And then we sent some ideas, and the back and forth was like… collectible tequila. And it’s interesting because you don’t see this that much, but I think you’re going to start seeing more of it.

J: Yeah.

A: And the question becomes, is tequila collectible, and will it be as collectible as bourbon and Scotch? And if so, what kind of tequila? Because I do think in this regard, there are different kinds of tequila, right? So obviously when it comes to Scotch and bourbon, it’s Scotch or bourbon, then it’s just based on the age. Right? So there are some people that collect 12 year old, some people that collect 23 year old. Pappy is Pappy, right? Everyone collects all kinds of Pappy. But tequila has a lot of different variations, right? There are some blancos that are very rare, right? Will those become collectable and valuable? There are some reposados that people really treasure and think are really special. And then obviously, you have the añejos and the extra añejos that sort of start to take on the characteristics of lots of Scotch and bourbon, right? The longer they sit in wood, the longer they kind of can gain those characteristics, especially when they’re aged in things like old sherry casks and bourbon casks, etc. So is tequila the next hot market? Should we be looking at that right now? Should we be buying it? Should we be telling all of our friends like, “Hey, get on this before you lose out, because it’s going to be the next Pappy,” where people are going to want to hold these? Or are the only things that are collectible more of these high-end special releases, where the reason that they’re collectible is because there’s a finite amount, right? There’s 299 of these bottles. That’s what makes this collectible, and it makes it as collectible because of the high-end glass that it’s bottled in.

J: Right. Well, are we seeing allocations with specific bottles of tequila yet? Like Don Julio?

A: Yes, yes.

J: Yeah, we are?

A: 100 percent.

J: OK. So, I mean, I think to that end, yes. I think we’re seeing similar behavior, right? People are trying to buy up those bottles because they’re really hard to get, but I think it’s going to take us a while to get to a point where people are collecting bottles. I think it’s going to take us some more time and for tequila to kind of hit more of a, not a tipping point, but obviously there’s a pretty big issue with tequila right now because the demand for it is so high and we’re seeing a lot of brands cut corners to make tequila to meet the demand, instead of doing it properly. And I think until that reaches a tipping point, we’re not going to see people investing in collections, but I think we will eventually.

A: Hmm. Interesting.

Z: I think one of the big differentiators in my eyes between tequila’s potential for this kind of collecting and the whiskeys that you mentioned before, Adam, is that when people started getting interested in collecting bourbon, Scotch, etc. in the last decade, maybe last two decades, there was already an existing supply of aged versions of those spirits. They were out there. They had been produced. In some cases, they had not sold. In some cases, they had been hiding in warehouses for a while. But they had been made. And in tequila you just have so few examples of anything comparable in that sort of long-aged category until relatively recently. So when you see something like the Patrón expression that you were discussing, Adam, you’re looking at something that was very intentionally made and designed for this specific release. It wasn’t a 20-year-long project that someone had undertaken without having any idea what they were doing with it. And then it kind of was like, “Oh, well I guess we’re going to bottle this and sell it.” With that bottling, no one’s going to be ahead of the curve. Everyone’s paying $7,500 a bottle, at least. So there’s not really a way to get in on the ground floor. And I think with tequila, one of the big things that I’m curious about is, unlike with whiskeys generally, there is I think a real tension for a lot of these producers between producing more blanco tequila, which is incredibly in demand, and putting tequila in barrel for years to produce an extra añejo. And whiskey producers don’t have that tension, right? They might have to make a decision about when they bottle something off. Obviously, the longer you leave things in-barrel, the more time you’re just spending until it gets to market and you’re losing some to evaporation and stuff like that, but you’re not going to make a decision between releasing White Dog and releasing an aged whiskey. That’s just not a consideration that any distilleries get into. And I think tequila producers really have to make a decision because of the realities of where the market is. And even if there is a growing market, as I think there is for these aged expressions, the market is also very, very, very hungry for blanco tequila at all levels. And so if you’re a Patrón, say, to use this example again, you have to kind of make a decision at various points in the production, what do you need market now versus what can you afford, not so much financially, but just sort of demand-wise to put away for three-plus years in the hopes that there will be a market for it then, and that market will kind of compensate you sufficiently for all the tequila you didn’t sell in the interval.

J: Right. And I think that’s also something to keep in mind. I could see that happening for the American market, specifically. Right? You continue to make the blanco because it sells, it’s very popular. Well, I guess blanco and reposado are popular in Mexico, right?

A: Mmhmm.

J: Is that what we learned?

Z: Yes.

J: But in the States, people gravitate towards…

A: So, I mean, blanco is very popular here, but there is a growing market for reposado and añejos, because they do taste more like other aged spirits in the U.S. So that is why 42 is so successful, things like that, because we like a little bit more wood and a little bit more roundness, softness, etc. That is what I wonder about the world of tequila in general. I do wonder if you could ever make blanco totally collectible, because it all is made from Blue Weber agave, right? So you could say, “Well, this is collectible because…” Look, people collect anything, right? I know a ton of people out there, as we’ve joked about on this podcast, who are collecting old versions of gin when the recipe changes.

J: Right.

A: Right? So we know that kind of person exists. The question is, does that have any real value? Is that ever going to show up in Sotheby’s? Probably not. So I think that’s a place where blanco could become collectible. Like, this is a blanco that was made at a distillery that doesn’t exist anymore or made by a specific master distiller who has now passed away or was made using this specific process that they don’t do any more. Whatever, right? But the fact that the source material, the Blue Weber agave, does exist in some way or fashion. Yes, there’s a shortage. There is less of it than there used to be. They’re planting as much as they can. I think that does make the blanco style hard to place very formal value on.

J: Yeah.

A: Whereas I think with mezcal, actually, there are mezcals that are made from, because they’re foraged, a lot of them, from plants that won’t get replanted, etc. Some mezcals, actually, when they’re released, it’s the only version of that blanco mezcal that will ever exist.

Z: Yeah.

A: So those, I actually could see having collectible value amongst tequila nerds.

Z: Yeah.

A: I do think there is opportunity with the añejos. The problem is most tequila collectors right now that I know, all of their bottles are open, because they are evangelists for the liquid. So they enjoy tequila as well. They’re not speculative investors. We make fun of the taters a lot on this podcast, but the taters don’t —

J: They don’t drink it.

A: They don’t drink it.

J: Yeah.

A: And that’s because this is — bourbon’s a really great example of what happens when people think there’s a value in an asset and they flood the market. I mean, that’s what happened with NFTs and now they’re crashing, right? That’s what happened with crypto, and now it’s crashing. People think that there’s this asset and they can get behind it and get in early and buy low, sell high. And that is what people feel like with bourbon at this point in time. I mean, as a lot of people joke, right? If all the taters that were buying Blanton’s actually drank it, a lot of them wouldn’t be buying Blanton’s.

J: Right.

A: Like Blanton’s is a fine bourbon. It’s a fine bourbon. It’s a good bourbon. But is it worth the prices all these people are paying to go get the special bourbon with the dump date on it? No, it’s not. It is worth what it actually was originally priced at. So therefore I think until that happens in tequila, where there’s this feeling that —

J: There’s like a collectibility aspect to it.

A: And it doesn’t matter, because I think the difference right now is a lot of these really high-end tequilas, the liquid in it is also good, and so the people who are buying it want to consume it.

J: So you think these Lalique bottles will be drunk?

A: From everything I understand from talking to the people at the event, yeah. The ones from the last versions were all consumed.

J: Wow.

Z: Wow.

A: People open them and drink them and enjoy them. I mean, I got to meet the CEO of Lalique in the U.S., and he and the head of innovation at Patrón were telling me the story about, I guess there’s a really well-known bar inside EPCOT Center that has an incredible tequila selection. And that there was this group of guys that came one day and they have this thing. If you finish the bottle, you get to keep the bottle.

J: Oh, wow.

A: If you’re the one that finishes the bottle of tequila. And so they were just buying each other, it was four of them, rounds of shots of Lalique. And it was $450 a shot.

Z: Wow.

J: Holy sh*t.

A: Yeah. But half the bottle was already empty, so they only had to finish half. But the whole thing was that I guess the guys were making this whole game with each other, that whoever was the last person to buy the last round got the bottle. So it was almost like they were playing roulette in some way.

J: Right, yeah.

A: But yeah, I mean, they loved the tequila and were enjoying it. And I mean, I think there’s a lot of people that will drink this tequila. I heard another story from a guy who was there at Sotheby’s who said that the person who had bought one of the original bottles at auction at Sotheby’s wound up consuming it and then using the bottle for another use. So I think there will be other tequilas like this. I mean, 1942 is the same. It’s allocated and it has value and people really want it, but they want it because they want to drink it.

Z: Yeah.

A: And so that’s where I don’t think today we’re going to see a bunch of bottles at Christie’s or Sotheby’s, but I do think, as you were saying, Joanna, it’s coming.

J: Yeah.

A: I just don’t know, I can’t predict who the producer will be. Like I don’t know if we’ve yet identified in tequila, or really even have a sense. Now, maybe you do, listening out there, dear, dear listener, and you can email us in and let us know.

J: The Pappy of tequila.

A: Yeah. I don’t think we’ve identified, I don’t even think we have a clue. But then again, they didn’t really have a clue in the ‘90s that Pappy was going to be what it was going to be. I mean, people tell stories all the time about going to these bourbon festivals and Pappy was right alongside a bunch of other bourbons, and they were just getting poured and people were sampling it. And then all of a sudden, someone decided it was the holy grail and that there was nothing else like it. And then because it already had a really small production, it just became this massive thing.

Z: It was no longer being produced. I mean, I think that’s so much what it comes back to. With Pappy specifically, it’s the story. And actually, if you guys are interested, I would encourage listeners. I did an interview with Wright Thompson who wrote a book called “Pappyland” about Pappy Van Winkle and his friendship with Julian Van Winkle and the whole story. And you can tell that so much of what made Pappy a phenomenon was the tragedy of the story, and without that, the quality of the liquid was obviously very good, but it wasn’t exclusively that that made the legend of Pappy Van Winkle what it is today. And I think that’s where the question becomes really curious in tequila, particularly because you do kind of have this interesting, I mean, it’s hard to know whatever the tequila equivalent of taters will think in a decade or two, but I do think that there’s some possibility that some of what’s…

A: We’ll call them piñas.

J: I was just going to say.

Z: Sure, exactly. Perfect, the piñas, what they will think. Because again, now the bourbon market has gotten to what you’ve described at, where people are in there because they think they can make money on it. But what started it was the lovers, the people who really were into it, looking for really high-quality product that they felt was…

J: The next big bottle.

Z: Yeah. And I just think so much of the extra añejo, in particular, tequila that’s being produced — I don’t know how to say this, other than like, it’s very clearly being produced because there’s a belief in the demand for it that it either exists or will exist.

J: Yeah.

Z: And I don’t think it has a lot of romance to it. I mean, Lalique is interesting. It’s this kind of, it’s like this ultra- luxury product in a way that those bourbons that were being collected are not, I mean, now they might be viewed as ultra-luxury products, but they were not made that way. That was not the intention behind them when they were aged and bottled and first put on market. And what I find fascinating about tequila is we’ve kind of gotten to this in a couple of different ways, but I want to mention it again, is there is a real tension in the tequila-loving community between the kind of person who sees possibly like a single field, I don’t know, single-vintage or single-year blanco tequila as the highest expression of agave. Or if you’re expanding to mezcal and things like that, one wild species that only can be cultivated after it’s 40 years old, and those are the bottles that are fetching hundreds of dollars retail these days versus, and I do think it’s kind of versus, the people for whom these heavily wood-influenced tequilas are the holy grail. And bourbon, whiskey, they don’t have that same tension. Again, to come back to what I said before, there’s no one out here claiming that actually, the truest expression of bourbon is White Dog. No one believes that. No one would claim that. Yes, you get a little bit of disagreement about whether it’s with bourbon or Scotch or whatever, kind of, do people prefer it at 10 years or 12 or 18 or 23 or whatever? And there are reasons to disagree or to have a personal preference, but in the end, no one is really saying that the ideal expression is some unaged or barely aged version. And in tequila, I think you very legitimately and very honestly get people who would contend that the proper, highest expression of agave as a distillate is in these unaged forms.

A: I agree with that.

J: Yeah.

Z: Well, and I kind of do, too, but I do think it could create a problem in some sense for the collectability of the category at the highest level, because people who are buying in, the person who’s going to buy and presumably consume that bottle, they want to believe that they’re getting the best of the best of the best, right? Like we see this, this is one of the things that happened to these high-end bourbons when they were on bar and restaurant lists, is people bought it because they wanted to show off for their buddies, that’s sort of the story you told about people at EPCOT, or they wanted to believe like, “I love bourbon and I want to have the best bourbon I can have.” And tequila, I think, is going to have a harder time offering that because of this tension.

A: Well, but let me play devil’s advocate here.

Z: Please.

A: Because I think you’re right, if the argument is that it’s you and I and Joanna, who I’m just saying, we all basically, as tequila lovers and who love blanco, are the ones who decide to make tequila this collectible market. Because then I think this theory totally holds up, right? It’s going to be very hard, there’s going to be tension. But if what happens is, which is, this is another prediction I’ve heard, right? Aaron Goldfarb has made this prediction and so has Tim, others who cover more of the bourbon market than we do, in the world of 1942 and why it’s exploded, if it’s the bourbon people who are running out of other stuff to collect.

J: Yeah. I think this will split in two different ways.

A: Yes.

J: For the tequila lovers, the piñas, and then for the taters.

A: And the taters are the ones that are actually going to inflate the market because a lot of these tequilas that are really, really aged, and the reason there’s a tension there, taste a lot like really, really aged bourbon. Yes, at the very end of a lot of these, you still have some of the agave characteristic, but there is a lot more of that wood and influence, especially if it’s been aged in a bourbon barrel.

J: Right. Sweetness, taste.

A: Yeah, there’s the sweetness. If you’re a big Scotch lover, I mean, the thing about Lalique that was so interesting to me, Zach, and I’ve already told this to Joanna, was when I smelled it, it smelled a lot like Macallan.

Z: Yeah. Well, sherry wood.

A: Not smoky, right? Because the sherry.

Z: Yeah.

A: And Macallan also is incredibly collectible.

Z: Sure.

A: And that’s what I wonder, is if these really high-end tequilas, of which I think we’re going to continue to see more, are actually going to be collected by, not true tequila evangelists and lovers, but just collectors in general, who are already collecting bourbon are looking for something else.

J: And they see the value in tequila.

A: Yes.

Z: Yeah.

A: And they also equate value with age.

J: Right.

A: Right? Because they’ve already gotten used to that. And there’s going to be some producer who’s going to put out a super-aged tequila. You know it’s coming. Right? Like Lalique hasn’t said how old the tequila is inside, they just say it’s an extra añejo, but you know someone… unless it’s not legal, right? So someone correct me if you can’t actually say how old the tequila is in the bottle. But if you can, you can totally see someone being like, this is an 18-year-old. And all of a sudden, it becomes something that is very, very sought after by that group of consumers who think that’s what makes a good liquid. And my hot take that I’ve chatted with Tim about a lot is I actually think for most liquids, the old stuff kind of sucks.

Z: Huh.

J: Why?

A: Because it starts to kind of die. It loses a lot of characteristics. I’m not talking about old wines, I’m talking about spirits. Like when I’ve had really old Scotches or really old bourbons, the vivacity of the liquid is gone. A lot of the stuff that really makes it — all the different fruit notes, etc., it’s all gone. It’s all basically raisins and wood and chocolate. And I get that might be interesting to some people because it just tastes “smooth,” but it’s not an exciting liquid anymore. They kind of die, because they just sat in the wood for so long. And so for me, I’ve often wondered, what is the point of these besides the fact that they’re just collectible? Because there’s nothing delicious about them. Just in terms of extra-aged spirits in general. Extras añejos usually are only like 4 or 5 years old.

J: Right.

A: Which is different, right. Like this Lalique was still very alive.

Z: Yeah.

A: But for the most part, some of these really old bourbons I’ve gotten to have, or really old Scotches, I kind of don’t get.

Z: Well, it’s true that I think, whether you’re talking about long-aged spirits, spirits that are aged for a long time in wood, or even I actually have felt this way about really old wines, there is a way in which all of them do kind of converge on the same basic flavor point. And it maybe kind of robs them of what made them distinctive and unique when they were younger in that I agree that it’s sort of odd to think about that you could taste very aged expressions of all these different spirits and say like, “Well, in the end they kind of all taste pretty much the same.” Not maybe absolutely identical, but they have a very similar flavor profile because, as you mentioned, Adam, at that point, the dominant flavor influencer on them is the oak that they were aged in and maybe the finish of it or whatever. But I think that’s exactly what we’re seeing, right? We’re seeing a bunch of people gambling or betting, I guess, is a better way to put it. Whether they’re producers, collectors, whomever, that what made aged bourbon so popular was, I mean, sure, it’s bourbon. People associate quality with bourbon, but they associate quality with tequila as well. They associate quality with Cognac as well. And if they can make their product taste basically the same, which they can, they’re going to find a market. I mean, again, that’s what we’re seeing. I don’t know that it’s going to be the market that’s going to blow up the way that bourbon has blown up at the very highest ends. Again, it’s hard to know. And without some of the history and authenticity and that specific category of those spirits, I’m not sure that they will have the same market upside, but it wouldn’t shock me if they did because in the end, people are drawn to that flavor profile. They associate age with quality. And they if nothing else believe that they can find someone else to sell the bottle to.

J: Yeah. I was going to say to your earlier point, Adam, I think a lot of people who collect things like this for those reasons don’t actually drink the bottle.

A: No. They don’t. And look, I mean, there’s so many other examples of this in spirits where people collect stuff because it’s rare, whether it’s what it was bottled in… and oftentimes, what makes it rare is either the age or what it was bottled in.

J: Yeah. I mean, you have this crazy story on the website from Aaron about Pappy Van Winkle bottles, hand-painted Pappy Van Winkle bottles, right?

A: Being worth even more because it has this painting on it that no one else has. But I think it’s Woodford. For a very long time, it’s been on the Baccarat bottle. And that’s also insanely expensive.

J: Yep.

A: And very collectible. And every year or every few years when they release, it’s a different version, new design, all that kind of stuff. And that’s what I thought was interesting, too, just to take it back to the origin. When I was at the event, I asked, who were the customers? And basically, what I was told is they’ve kind of realized that for this specific release, it’s about 50/50 Patrón die-hards, people who love Patrón, and people who love Lalique. Because remember, there’s only 299 of this Lalique bottle.

J: Yeah.

A: And Lalique has been collected and sold on the auction market for decades. So it’s just as rare, right? The bottle’s just as rare, and I thought that was really, really interesting.

J: I think we’ll see more things like this.

A: Yeah.

Z: For sure.

A: Totally.

J: Just more collaborations, but also more, like you said, limited-edition stuff. And there will be a market for it.

A: And there always will be.

J: There always is.

A: There always is.

J: Yeah.

A: Well, on that note, let us know what you think. Hit us up at [email protected]. We’ve been getting a lot of really amazing emails. Always really appreciate it, and I will talk to you both Friday.

J: Talk to you then.

Z: Sounds great.

Thanks so much for listening to the “VinePair Podcast.” If you love this show as much as we love making it, please leave us a rating or review on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or wherever it is you get your podcasts. It really helps everyone else discover the show.

Now for the credits. VinePair is produced and recorded in New York City and Seattle, Washington, by myself and Zach Geballe, who does all the editing and loves to get the credit. Also, I would love to give a special shout-out to my VinePair co-founder, Josh Malin, for helping make all of this possible, and also to Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director, who is additionally a producer on the show. I also want to, of course, thank every other member of the VinePair team, who are instrumental in all of the ideas that go into making the show every week. Thanks so much for listening, and we’ll see you again.

Ed. note: This episode has been edited for length and clarity.

This story is a part of VP Pro, our free platform and newsletter for drinks industry professionals, covering wine, beer, liquor, and beyond. Sign up for VP Pro now!