Some decisions are more complicated than others, requiring deep deliberation and careful interpretation of countless seen and unseen factors. Other decisions all but make themselves. Take, for example, the following invitation posted at an island kiosk in a mall I recently visited in Florida—a mall that was emblematic of a movie in which its main character has been traveling a backwater road for hours without seeing another vehicle only to end up in a small, boarded-up town guarded by a family of hungry cannibals.
As you can see by the sign’s flashy presentation—and by flashy, I mean the exclamation point—its reader is invited to take a chance on a profitable retail opportunity, one with incredible potential. The only problem with this fork-in-the-road decision is that the shop immediately behind the kiosk has the same sign, as do about 75% of the shops and stalls throughout the mall. The only decision to be made at this moment is to continue making your way back to your van, lest that van eventually becomes your home because you decided to hock your crap in a mall that can only be saved by a defibrillator in the hands of the divine.
My guess is there are two ways to save this mall. The first way is spiritual. In other words, rescue it by letting it pass into mall heaven where it will hunger and thirst no more. The second involves selling something absolutely amazing at one of these kiosks. And by amazing, I don’t mean what the handful of current poor decision-makers tried to assure me were amazing as I passed their kiosks—things like hair care products and custom-made mobile phone cases. I mean stuff like pet xenomorphs, invisibility cloaks, functioning lightsabers, teleportation devices, machines that allow you to communicate with and befriend animals, and cereal packaging that’s relatively easy to open. Things like these would bring the crowds.
Although, and perhaps more practical, if the state liquor commissions would lessen their nazi-esque chokeholds on booze, there’s a good chance a kiosk with the right assortment of drams could serve to revitalize any retail space in economic hospice. This morning, I read that the worldwide whisky market cashed in at about $57.96 billion in 2021. What’s more, it’s projected to hit $90 billion within the next five years. That’s a 6.4% compound growth rate for an incredibly regulated market, and by comparison to previous years, it’s a relatively conservative estimate. Imagine alone if the liquor commissions in America, one of the world’s largest whisky-producing and consuming markets, loosened their taxation nooses a little, making more whiskies more affordable to more people. It is an economic fact that lower taxes always result in more government income from more products sold.
If this were to happen, it’s possible that the mall’s blue invitation to an entrepreneurial decision would entice more passersby. Even now, I wonder how many bottles of Bruichladdich’s Octomore 11.3 would fit comfortably on the top shelf of one of those island kiosks in the images I shared. Sixty, maybe seventy? I ask because if ever there was a dram worth the reach of a broader society, it’s this one. What a complete gem!
The whisky’s nose is an effortless compilation of peat, vanilla beans, and the gentler sensations of a warm summer day beside the ocean. The wafting sea air is distinct. The palate isn’t so quiet. In fact, it throttles the mouth a little before revealing its more gracious side. After the bite, it sends along paprika, black pepper, and maybe even some salted sunflower seeds. A second sip is an insistent portion of dark roasted coffee beans. A mouthful of coffee beans might seem challenging, but in actuality, it is uniquely enjoyable.
The Octomore 11.3 departs, leaving the imbiber mindful of its peat. But that’s not all. There is the surprising revelation of charred fruit, likely peaches. This sweeter sensation is so unique that it stirs another sip before the finish’s duration can be determined—which, as it would go, is quite long.
I would frequent the mall regularly if this edition of the Octomore were reasonably accessible at a mall kiosk. If it weren’t well beyond $200 a bottle, I’d purchase several each time I visited. Indeed, it is a joy and pleasure that proves whisky’s bright future. And so, another decision is now before me as I search for shops possessing the Octomore 11.3: a delightful dram for a wearied clergyman or food for my children. The choice seems easy enough.