The Devil´s Punch Bowl by Arran
Some numbers and figures may not match what you find in the Whiskystats 2.0 database.
We finally start combining measures of taste with our analysis of historic auction prices. This new category is called “Taste ‘n’ Stats” and the Devil´s Punch Bowl trilogy by Arran is the first object under investigation.
The most important thing when talking about whisky is of course the taste of the drink itself. Until now though, you did not find any tasting notes or ratings in our database or blog. The reason for this is that there are already many excellent blogs and website out there who do a great job in reviewing all the new and old bottlings. Nevertheless, we are highly interested in combining tasting scores with historic price developments, so we teamed up with some of those great blogs to bring together tasting notes and analysis of the corresponding price developments.
Starting off this collaboration is the dutch whisky blog Words of Whisky. On this blog you will find enjoyably crisp tasting notes for hundreds of scotch single malts and also some exotics from around the globe. Among these you will also find the reviews for the three chapters of Arran´s Devil Punch Bowl series, which we will quote below.
The Devil´s Punch Bowl trilogy is not to be mistaken with Bowmore´s Devil Casks, for which we also find three different batches in our whisky database. Actually, the distillery of Arran was the first in choosing a devilish theme for a trio of special releases, and it was maybe the hype around these which caused others to follow this example. So there are three different bottlings of this hellish party drink called Chapter I (or original Punch Bowl), Chapter II and Chapter III, for all of which 6660 bottles were issued. To address the taste of these whiskies, we now give the word to Words of Whisky.
The Devil´s Punch Bowl Chapter I (52,3%):
Nose: It is ever transforming. First peanuts, oak and wood shavings. Than some light citrus and orange. It finishes with more classic sherry sweetness, albeit very subtle. Light caramel, brown sugar and fudge. Almost no peat or smoke to be detected.
Taste: Oak, some tannins. A bit dry and a slight bitterness. Also some smoke, but not much. Dark spices are present with cloves and nutmeg. Also honey and baked appled, a bit of lemon zest. All in all very enjoyable, but a bit too woody.
Finish: Medium in length. Sweet, oaky and spicy.
A very enjoyable whisky with some nice, subtle aromas and flavours. A good job of blending the sherry and bourbon casks. An easy drinker as well. I can’t say that I really understand why everybody went all gaga over this one, but it is a well crafted whisky indeed. Original Review
The Devil´s Punch Bowl Chapter II (53,1%):
Nose: Grassier and more organic than its predecessor. Malty, then banana and citrus. A little metallic and some subtle, but clearly present sweet peaty flavors. Also some tobacco and marzipan. A bit boring maybe?
Taste: Great oily and creamy mouthfeel. Some fresh peat, some smoke, an earthy whisky almost. Less spicy than the first Devil’s Punch Bowl, but there are still some spices here. Ginger, nutmeg. Also a nutty flavour, next to some coconut shavings.
Finish: Some citrus, followed by smoke and spices.
The creamy palate is the best part of this whisky. But it is less balanced and there I found there was less of a sherry influence compared to the first chapter, which is surprising considering the amount of sherry casks used for this one. Good whisky, but not necessarily a worthy successor. Original Review
The Devil´s Punch Bowl Chapter III (53,4%):
Nose: Sugary and sweet. Caramel, cherries, strawberry, brown sugar and dried red fruits. There is more sherry influence than in chapters one and two. After a while some vanilla appears, as well as a light orange aroma. Also a nice warm porridge smell.
Taste: Caramelized apples. Also prunes and apricots. Lots of citrus, followed by pineapple. Next up are wood spices and nutmeg.
Finish: Sweet malt and spicy with some added peaches.
While the second release in this series couldn’t live up to the first one, this third and final chapter comes a lot closer. Nicely crafted and a quality dram. Original Review
We now turn our attention to the corresponding auction prices in our database. Prices for the first chapter date back to August 2012, for the second chapter to August 2013 and consequently for the third chapter to August 2014. All three chapters are regularly traded. In the below graphs the red dots mark prices from ScotchWhiskyAuctions.com (SWA) and the yellow ones those from WhiskyAuction.com (WA).
The Devil´s Punch Bowl Chapter I experienced quite a rally since prices climbed by more than 170% percent over the last four years. Single price observation even came close to or exceeded the 500 Euros threshold. It is quite interesting to observe that during the years of 2014 and 2015 the bidders at SWA were willing to pay more than those at WA.
For Chapter II we see a slightly different price history. Although some prices are above 200 Euros and by March 2016 it seemed like this whisky managed to gain 50% in value, over the last three months prices dropped back to the level where they started off three years ago. It is only a guess, but we see two price outliers in August 2014 which was around the time Chapter III got released and maybe someone desperately tried to complete the punch bowl trilogy there.
Prices for Chapter III show that this final punch bowl bottling even lost value since it first appeared on the secondary market. On the other hand this could also be caused by the fairly high first price observations of almost 200 Euros. At the moment it seems like prices are at the same level as for Chapter II which is around 150 Euros.
So the first chapter is by far the most expensive one to buy at auctions now. If you plan to buy the whole trilogy bottle by bottle you are likely to pay more than 800 Euros plus shipping costs. Compared to that it would be interesting to know how much all of these bottles together would sell for.
According to Words of Whisky the most enjoyable chapter of this trilogy is the first one. This goes with the prices we observed on the secondary market. Currently, a bottle of Chapter I is worth more than a bottle of Chapter II and one of Chapter III together. Combining the tasting notes and the current prices it seems like Chapter III delivers the most value for money at the moment since it can live up to Chapter I in terms of taste but only costs less than half of the price.