$32,000 bottle of whisky up for grabs at liquor store sale

Spirits are high for annual rare booze bonanza… just ask ‘Cousin Eddy’ who’s been in line for a week

Think of it as Christmas for booze hounds.

Early Saturday morning, while most civilized people are in bed, a dedicated group of alcohol aficionados, collectors, the curious and the thirsty will lineup outside select B.C. Liquor Stores to get their grubby hands on some choice grog as part of BCLS’s annual Premium Spirits Release.

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This year’s deposit of liquid gold includes rare rums, wallet-lightening whiskies from around the globe and an artisanal gin made with botanicals sourced at the foot of the Italian Alps.

At the liquor store’s flagship location at Cambie and 39th, hooch hunters have been lined up for more than a week. The man at the front of the line — a friendly but cagey fellow who wouldn’t give his name other than “Cousin Eddy,” wouldn’t discuss his occupation and wouldn’t elaborate on where in the Lower Mainland he lives — says he and his family have planned their holidays around the annual sales event for the last five years. The liquor store has provided a large tent at the side of the building for those in line, and Cousin Eddy and his crew have made the best of it with cots, sleeping bags, zero-gravity chairs and heaters. “We’re getting a little crazy, so we might set up a TV for some movies,” says the fan of single malt, single cask scotch.

cousin eddy
The man at the front of the line, "Cousin Eddy," has been camped out with his family for more than a week. For the last five years he's arranged his holidays around the Premium Spirits Release. Photo screen shot

As for what type of person lines up outside a liquor store for days on end, Cousin Eddy says there are three. “There are collectors, there are drinkers — there’s both — and there’s some people who try to flip, as well. And the big reason we’ve been coming five years in a row is to shun people who think they can make a buck.”

Cousin Eddy has a shopping list of six or seven bottles, but he’s also come to ogle some of the more rare releases that will never be seen again, such as Bowmore Black 1964, which comes with a $32,000 price tag.

Cousin Eddy figures come Saturday he’ll be leaving with 10 or so bottles in total — some of which he’ll uncork for his wedding next year.

“There’s the old adage that you buy two — one to keep and one to drink. And then eventually you drink the other one.”

Here are the five most expensive bottles up for grabs at the Premium Spirits Release:        

1.      Bowmore Black 1964, $32,000

With 159 bottles of this highly sought-after scotch available in the world, there’s a reason why there’s only one bottle available at B.C. Liquor Stores. Plus it comes in a sweet-looking case made of Scottish oak that you can store your dashed dreams and hopes in once you realize how quickly 32 grand worth of booze lasts.

Availability: one bottle, at 39th and Cambie store.



2.      Bunnahabhain 46 Year Old, $10,350

The oldest single malt ever released from Bunnahabhain Distillery is said to be “elegant and complex.” But they said that about dudes who wear leather pants, didn’t they.

Availability: two bottles at 39th and Cambie, limit one per customer.   


3.      Nikka 70th Anniversary Cask Strength Collection, $8,580

At least you’re getting four bottles of supremely smooth Japanese whisky for the price of a used 2010 Toyota Corolla: 12-year-old Yoichi, 12-year-old Miyagikyou, a 12-year-old single Coffey grain and a blend of all three.

Limit one per customer at 39th and Cambie.


4.      Glenfiddich 40 Year Old, $7,200

Described as “stepping off a platform at a rural Scottish railway station in 1935 into a first class carriage,” minus the chances of contracting typhoid presumably, this one is said to evoke coal smoke, leather, wood and cigars. Sounds delicious.

Availability: four bottles at 39th and Cambie and Park Royal. Limit two per customer.


5.      Ichiro’s Malt the Joker, $5,280

From Japan’s defunct Hanyu distillery, the 54th and final bottling of Ichiro’s Malt Card series supposedly smells of “old cobbler’s shop, tack room, light smoke, incense, ink, autumn leaves and sumac.” If I’m not mistaken, that also describes the gallons of Drakkar Noir I used to drench my once-svelte body with at the behest of my high school girlfriend Tonya.

Limit one per customer at 39th and Cambie.


6. (Bonus) Vintage 2-litre bottle of Rockaberry Cooler, circa 1986

Discovered in the bushes of “Waste Lands,” a popular teenage party destination in the wilds of Nanaimo.



More details at bcliquorstores.com/promotion/premium-spirit-release-2017.




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