Single malt Scotch whisky shortage grows

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Sales of Scotch whisky in America nearly tripled between 2002 and 2015. It is growing in popularity in other parts of the world. As a result, there is a growing shortage of age-labeled single malt Scotch whisky and other whiskeys.

A bottle of Pappy Van Winkle 15 that went for $47 in 2007 now costs an average of $1,200 online. Brad Estabrooke of Breuckelen Distilling Company says the price is related to perception.

"In the market there's a perception that the older it is, the better it must be," Estabrooke said. "I think a lot of people are drawn to the idea that if something has been in the barrel for 25 or 30 years, is must really be worth a lot of money, it must really be delicious."

Whisky is made from barley grains which go through a process of malting, mashing, fermentation, and distillation. The spirit is put into oak barrels for maturation. The longer the spirit is stored, the more desirable it becomes.

"There is also an element of limited supply with those older whiskeys," Estabrooke said. "Obviously, to have a 30-year-old barrel of whisky, some of the whisky evaporates every year, so there's not really much of it."

Favorable laws are resulting in distilleries popping up in states like California, Oregon, and New York. Brooklyn has more than 20 distilleries producing spirits.

But, it's Asia that is believed to have sparked the shortage. Asia's interest in the spirit has been growing. Even Japanese whisky has been getting a lot of attention lately with last month's release of the Yamazaki Sherry Cask priced at $3,800.

"Since there's a shortage of supply, it's not unlimited," Estabrooke said. "The prices on some of those bottles have become extraordinary."

In fact, bottles of black Bowmore Scotch whisky from 1964 are being sold online for over $12,000. That will produce quite a hangover for your wallet!