Let’s face it, most April Fool’s pranks are pretty lame, (and often tasteless, sometimes even potentially harmful), especially when they originate from a commercial brand, and during a pandemic to boot. However, after all we’ve been through, it’s still possible to strike the right tone, and maybe even do some actual good beyond eliciting a few chuckles.
Westland Distillery in Seattle, Washington is no slouch when it comes to April Fools humor. However, this year, the producers of award-winning American single malt whiskey decided to take the joke to the next level with the release of The Inheritance—a selection of ultra rare single bottles that are each a one-of-a-kind expression. These will be auctioned in partnership with Big Table, a charity supporting restaurant and hospitality workers affected by the pandemic. The auction takes place Thursday, April 1st.
So what’s the punchline? Am I missing something?
It’s a real event that has the potential to help a lot of people, but the idea is a tongue-in-cheek (or, in this case, cork-in-glass), jab at whiskey collectors who purchase and hold on to rare bottles as commodities, rather than enjoying the spirit within them. “This special collection of whiskeys is tailor made for shrewd investors who recognize that whiskey today is far more valuable when left in the bottle to appreciate, rather than be wasted by being poured into a glass,” says Westland.
“It breaks my heart to see rare whiskeys opened and enjoyed, thereby cratering its value,” teases Westland co-founder Matt Hofmann. “For those searching to grow their wealth and stature, there is no better investment than whiskey. With prices being paid for whiskey at auction these days hitting record highs, we’d be fools not to get in on the game. We’re not fools. We’re tycoons. Why else would one want to be in the whiskey business?”
Each bottle is certified “Prestigious Whiskey” by the sole authority of Westland Distillery, and hand-numbered and signed by Hofman, a.k.a. Westland’s “Master Distiller, Master Blender, Master of Operations, and Master of Ceremonies.”
Westland says “Each bottle comes in an impenetrable box, with a Certificate of Authenticity from the International Institute of Prestige & Distinction, and a Last Will and Testament so the whiskey can be formally added to the owner’s expanding estate.”
Each bottle contains liquid from a unique cask stored at Westland’s rackhouses, and no two bottles can be alike, assuring their rarity. “It was important that each bottle of The Inheritance be meticulously sealed and interred to ensure the integrity of the investment,” says Westland’s Scott Sell. “It doesn’t matter where the whiskey came from or what it tastes like, just that it’s truly rare. Investors can rely on us to deliver a genuine, authentic, uncompromised ultra-rare whiskey, so there’s no reason to ever open the bottle.”
A (whiskey) fool’s paradise
All kidding aside, The Inheritance collection is real, the event is taking place in real time and people who need them will see real benefits from it. (Plus, if you purchase the whiskey, by all means drink it if you want to!) The auction will take place at 12 AM PT on April 1st. For more information, and to attend the auction and make a bid on what promises to be some very cool whiskey, please visit the auction site here.
Hofman’s previous comments are all in good fun, but he’s completely serious about this endeavor. “At Westland, we believe that whiskey should be an expression of provenance that you can enjoy with others,” he says. “With this bottling not only can we call out the practice of making whiskey [that ends up] purely for investment purposes, we can also celebrate and support those who form the backbone of our industry: the hospitality workers who’ve been hit hard by the pandemic. They are crucial partners for us and play a massive role in sharing the enjoyment of our whiskey with others. For that we are eternally grateful. We’re super happy that we can work with Big Table to support them with this project.”