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11 January 2020

Printer Ink

Tag(s): Marketing, Business, Languages & Culture
What is the most expensive liquid in the world? Is it oil? As I write this the price of crude oil is $59.28 per barrel.  One barrel equals 42 gallons. Please note these are US gallons which are smaller than Imperial ones. One US gallon equals 16 fluid ounces, not 20, so a barrel contains 35 imperial gallons, or approximately 159 litres.  So at today’s spot rate a litre of crude oil costs just 37 cents or at today’s exchange rate 28 pence. But by the time it’s refined into petroleum, taxed and distributed it’s gone up to about £1.30 per litre at the forecourts.

How about Champagne?  I googled the best Champagne and got this reply:-
  • Best Champagne overall: Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2008.
  • Best vintage Champagne: Ruinart Dom Ruinaret Blanc de Blancs 2006
  • Best non-vintage Champagne: Moët & Chandon and Veuve Cliquot
  • Best eco-friendly Champagne: Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée
Writing in Wine Spectator[i] Alison Napjus says “Every wine lover has a “wow” moment with a memorable bottle. One of mine came in the midst of my annual blind tastings of Champagne this year. Krug’s newly released 2002 Brut Blanc de Noirs Clos d’Ambonnay is a stunner. I rated it 99 points on Wine Spectator’s 100 point scale, the highest review I’ve ever given to a wine. From Krug’s Clos d’Ambonnay vineyard, this 100 per cent Pinot Noir powerhouse is amazingly graceful and expansive of flavour, seamlessly integrated while offering lovely tension throughout.

At $2,500 per bottle, the Clos d’Ambonnay is also far and away the most expensive Champagne I reviewed this year. Yet in some ways this bottling illustrates what consumers might expect from the Champagne category as a whole. You may pay more for Champagne on average, but in return you’re assured of a very high and consistent quality. From a broader perspective few of the world’s wine regions deliver in similar fashion.”


I would say it a little differently. It’s not that you may pay more for Champagne on average. You will pay more. And at the lower end of the market you are far better buying say Cremant de Loire where you can get excellent quality for under £15 a bottle. But how does Ms Napjus rate and price the other wines that Google recommended?
  • Best Champagne overall: Louis Roederer Cristal Brut 2008. 97 $279
  • Best vintage Champagne: Ruinart Dom Ruinaret Blanc de Blancs 2006 94 $180
  • Best non-vintage Champagne: Moët & Chandon 91 $40 and Veuve Cliquot 91 $55
  • Best eco-friendly Champagne: Bollinger Brut Special Cuvée 92 $79
So to get from a 91 to a 94 you pay four and a half times as much; to get from a 94 to a 97 you pay another 55%. And to get from a 97 to a 99 you pay nine times as much. I think Champagne marketing is about the best in the world. So let’s price a litre of Clos D’Ambonnay. A normal bottle of wine contains 75 centilitres so we could say the best Champagne costs $3333.33 per litre, over 2500 times the price of petrol.

How about whisky?

According to Lifestyle magazine the ten most expensive whiskies in the world are as follows:
  1. Isabella’s Islay - $6,200,000
  2. The Macallan M - $628,205
  3. The Macallan 64 in Lalique Cire Perdue - $464,000
  4. Dalmore 62 - $250,000
  5. Dalmore 64 Trinitas - $160,000
  6. Glenfiddich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve 1955 - $94,000
  7. Springbank 1919 - $78,000
  8. The Macallan 1926 fine & rare $75,000
  9. Glenfiddich 1937 - $71,700
  10. Dalmore 62 Single Highland Malt Scotch (Matheson) - $58,000
However, most of the expensive bottles of whisky are priced high not due to their quality or taste, but due to the vessels that contain them. A bottle of Isabella’s Islay is the most expensive whisky that money can buy. This is because of the decanter that contains it. It features 8,500 diamonds, 300 rubies and exquisite white gold. The whisky is one of the finest ever and is the epitome of luxury Scotch whisky but if it came in a standard glass bottle it would not cost anything like 6 million dollars. Number two on the list,  The Macallan M is one of the oldest and most expensive whiskies in the world but it comes in a six litre decanter made of handcrafted crystal that was designed and created by 17 craftsmen. The last bottle was sold at auction in Hong Kong for $628,205 but again if it came in a standard bottle it would be expensive but not over $600,000.

How about perfume? In a highly unoriginal move I bought a bottle of Chanel Gabrielle for my wife at Christmas. I paid £99 for a 100ml bottle in Heathrow’s Duty Free shop. The standard price in the UK is £118 so we can say £1180 for a litre. At number one comes Shumukh which was launched in March last year. It costs a mere $1.29 million per ounce. There are 35.1951 ounces in a litre so this would come to $45.4 million per litre. Apparently it consists of a stunning combination of ingredients that includes Indian agarwood, sandalwood, musk, Turkish rose and several others that have not been publicly disclosed. But again we have to consider the packaging. This is a work of art, featuring a leather display case that stands nearly two metres high and opens to reveal a bottle that has been adorned with UAE’s heritage. The base features a trio of gold Arabian thoroughbreds along with three silver clamshells housing a real pearl each. There are also three gorgeous roses in pink gold and diamond dust and a mini globe with gold continents. Three marble pillars rise from the base to a golden dome atop which a diamond-studded gold falcon sits. Needless to say there is only one bottle currently in existence, making it exceptionally rare and no doubt, will only add to its value as time goes on, provided no one actually uses the perfume
.
The others in the top ten are:

2. DKNY Golden Delicious $1 million per ounce
3. Clive Christian No. 1 Imperial Majesty $12,722 per ounce
4. Baccarat Les Larmes Sacree de Thebes $6,800 per ounce
5. Chanel Grand Extrait $4,200 per ounce
6. Clive Christian no. 1 $2,150 per ounce
7. Hermes 24 Faubourg $1,500 per ounce
8. Caron Poivre $1,000 per ounce
9. Joy by Jean Patou $850 per ounce
10. JAR Bolt of Lightning $765 per ounce

Again, the really expensive ones on this list all feature precious metals and gems in the packaging and are in limited editions.

So I think the most expensive liquid in the world is printer ink. For years people have been talking about the paperless office. But I am surrounded by paper. The study where I am writing this has a desk that goes round three walls and includes several filing cabinets, all full to the brim. Two walls contain shelves with many books and programmes but also over 60 three-ring binders all full of paper. Most of this paper has been printed at the desk where I work on a succession of Japanese printers. The current model is an Epson WorkForce Pro which is a hideous beast. The printer only costs £139.99 but the ink set of four colours costs £98.49.

An average cartridge contains 8 millilitres of ink so my four ink multi-set we can assume contains 32 millilitres at a cost of £3.07 per millilitre or £3,070 per litre. That is many times the price of petrol, just below the best Champagne in the world but several times all the others, and three times the cost of the perfume I bought my wife for Christmas.


[i] Excerpted from the Dec 15th 2018 issue.
 
 




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