This week has seen the announcement that Laphroaig are bringing back their 15 year old bottling as part of the distillery’s 200th anniversary celebrations. The 15 year old expression itself was cancelled around 5 years ago and from what I can recall, it was a pretty decent dram. Laphroaig has got the big marketing guns out behind this ‘limited’ re-release and announced that the first 2,500 bottles of the return expression were to become exclusively available to the Friends of Laphroaig (FoL) members.
Following the announcement, chaos ensued.
I say chaos. What I mean is that people were frantically trying to get online to the laphroaig.com shop and order the new expression, which was restricted to one bottle per FoL. Due to ‘unprecedented’ traffic though, this was no easy task. Looking at the simple maths behind it, there are over half a million FoL members registered online compared to the 2,500 bottles available, and so the distillery’s servers took a battering.
As with any limited release, this was a first-come, first-served sale and the peat-heads tried in their droves to get their hands on the special 15 year old release. The result however was server failure and timeouts on the site. Long story short; the initial stock sold out really quickly and has left a lot of FoL members frustrated.
Put simply, this was a game of chance. WU is not surprised but is disappointed to see the amount of negative posts now populating the Laphroaig website, where disgruntled punters are using the review section as a soapbox to preach about the failings of Laphroaig’s online shop and its marketing. Within 24 hours, over 100 FoL members have posted their rants to besmirch the name of Laphroaig, whilst giving the 15 year old whisky the lowest score possible because they couldn’t get there hands on it. Take a step back for a minute everyone because this is just not on – if you were unlucky, then that’s just the way the cookie crumbles unfortunately.
Or is it?
What Laphroaig has managed to do, whether positively or negatively, is raise awareness of the former tipple’s return and it is certainly now on a lot of fans’ radars. It is important to note that this was just an initial release and the word is that there’s going to be nearly 70,000 more bottles released to the mass market in due course. So… for the unlucky FoL people out there, let’s keep it civil and wait our turn because after all, whisky is not a business known for being rushed.