At peak hype in 2021, it’s a fairly accurate statement to make that the world at large generally associated the phrase NFT with art. From Bored Apes to Damien Hirst torching 1,000 of his works and issuing 10,000 NFTs to accompany them, a complete and total comprehension of just exactly what an NFT is and does was rather sparse.
Since this time, we’ve all done some googling in one form or another and hopefully have come to realise that non-fungible tokens have a life far beyond what the art world has to offer.
When reporting on Atomico-backed NFTPort, my conclusion was as such:
The easiest way for my simple mind to understand the latent potential of an NFT is that of a candy bar wrapper. Inside this wrapper, you can stuff any and all types of candy; images, videos, music, festival tickets, etc. if it can be digitised, it can have an NFT wrapped around it. The sole purpose of this wrapper is to serve as the definitive voice of ownership of this data. I.e., there's no question of whose candy bar it is.
When provided with this framework, my hope is that how and why Penderyn Distillery’s NFTing of 25 of its 20-year-old whiskeys doesn’t come as a head-scratcher. Whiskey coming from Wales and not Scotland, perhaps, but why and the value therein of an award-winning single-malt whisky, perhaps not.
As a demonstration of this approach, in May of 2022 a 72-year-old Gordon & MacPhail’s Glen Grant, one of the oldest whiskies ever produced, was auctioned by Bonham's in Hong Kong and sold for $119,000. The sale included an NFT of the whiskey (and an accompanying NFT artwork by political cartoonist Harry Harrison - presumably to assage the zeitgeist).
However, this wasn’t the only item on auction, with a number of other rare and sought-after whiskeys and their accompanying NFTs hitting the block including one of the only-150-bottles-produced Yamazaki 50-Year-Old.
While Penderyn Distillery isn’t the first to jump aboard the NFT train, the move serves to support a growing trend in brands that are exploring new possibilities in a digital world, while in some cases, retaining old-world practices in the process.