How to avoid wasting money on whisky
We all know that whisky prices are sky-rocketing and the industry is booming. Bottles that set you back over € 100 per bottle are no longer the exception and this can have quite the deterrent effect of people who are keen on trying new brands and new releases. Seeing the growth this industry is going through, the entry of new players on the market, you'd think that we're getting saturated but the opposite seems to be true. So how can you still drink your favorite dram without breaking the bank? It’s all about prepping.
Sample, sample, sample
Don't just blindly buy a bottle. Many brands out there offer sample bottles for the specific purpose of giving people the opportunity to try their product to see if it suits their taste. There's nothing more wasteful than buying a bottle without tasting, only to realise I don't actually like it! Many (online) stores offer sample bottles of the majority of whisky brands out there. Prices usually range between € 3 and € 25+ at the high end for exclusives.
Sets & calendars
Another option is buying tasting sets or a whisky advent calendar! Most sellers list the samples you will find in that calendar and it will give you a chance to really try a lot of different whiskies in a short while. These calendars are really a treasure trove. A few good ones I've seen in the past few years include the Scotch Whisky 24 Day Advent Calendar, 25 Casks of Christmas by SMWS, Flaviar’s Advent Calendar and the 12 Drams of Christmas.
This might sound expensive but it doesn't have to be. Buying into a cask with a group of friends/family/strangers can be quite lucrative as you split the cost and it yields several bottles per person. There are a few (online) brokers out there that offer cask ownership and make it possible for you to receive a few samples during the time you wait for the whisky to age. Just do your research before you start buying.
I know it's not as sexy as going into a physical store, lingering around shelves stacked with bottles and having an in-depth conversation about maturation and flavour profiles with the store owner however, online stores do carry a lot of stock that they can often offer at a lower price point than you would see in a store. I don't necessarily buy all my whisky online because I also want to support my local entrepreneurs and so I am happy to pay a little more but if you want to save a few euros and still want that specific bottle, it might be worth it.