Buying a whisky to drink or for a gift are simple tasks. Buying a malt with the intention of selling it in the future takes investing real time. In a similar way to trading rare wines, investing in whisky can present the same profit and peril. Like fine wines, fine whiskies can start at low entry prices. You can guess and hope for the best, or you can launch straight to an expensive brand with proven growth.
Whisky connoisseurs will also look to Asia, over many Gaelic or American producers. Everyone watches well-known distilleries for the launch of a collectable whisky. The distillers know of this and launch their limited runs with high retail prices.
Limited Run Investment Whisky
A whisky must taste good; there is little point in buying one of the limited numbers of awful whiskies. Outlets that sell whiskies often also sell tasting sets. These kits will have small, 3-centilitre, ampules to get an idea of which whisky will preserver. Production limitation comes from the distiller using a single cask, and the number of bottles it will fill.
Each bottle will bear the number of the cask and its own number in the run. The type of cask used will also affect the colour and flavour of the whisky. Burgundy casks tend to produce dark and sweet whiskies, which are popular now.
Taiwan Investment Whisky
Kavalan from Taiwan won the world’s best single malt gold medal in 2017 for their Solist Vinho Barrique 2012 whisky. This is a single malt aged in a giant barrique American oak cask. Barrique casks, once used for sherry, creates a dark hue, and keep in much of the alcohol content. One of the smoothest whiskies ever made. The Solist Vinho has notes of nuts, berries, and toffee apples. This 25-year-old whisky is over £2,500 ($3,200), and the price will keep on growing. With every owner that decides to drink this malt, the rarity will increase, boosting the price with it.
Lowlands Investment Whisky
Kinclaith 40-year-old 1969 is another amazing whisky for the lowlands of Scotland. Cream, sweet fruit, and a hint of tobacco combine to produce a fantastic whisky. Raved by critics and connoisseurs alike, making it a sort after and rare whisky. With production limited to 217 bottles, a scotch that is so rare, the price will only go up.
There will not be making many more either, as they demolished the distillery in 1982. If it is within budget, this a great choice of whisky to hold on to. A bottle is selling for an around double the price of the Kavalan Solist, so this is a serious investment consideration.
Well-Known Investment Whisky
Play it safe when entering the world of investing in whisky. Scottish whiskies, in particular, Scotch from the highlands are a good start. Macallan makes a good range, from an affordable drink to overwhelming lavishness. A recent auction sold a 60-year-old scotch from 1926 for £1.5 million (US$1.9 m) . This type of sale does not happen all the time, but it is becoming more common.
To put it in perspective, a 25-year-old malt released in a current year will retail at around £1,330 ($1,700). It would be impossible to imagine this sort of exuberance 2-decades ago, but here we are. These whiskies are being consumed a phenomenal rate, making each vintage more valuable by the day. The entry-level into a 12-year-aged bottle can start from £44 ($56).
When choosing an investment whisky, the safer choice is to find something that has value. The production numbers of a bottle of 10-year-old Glenmorangie, are so massive, it will take forever to become rare. Unless you can find a limited batch, such as a 15-year-aged 2005 bottle of Glenmorangie cask #5979 with a limited run of 216 bottles . These are the collectables to look out for. Single cask editions are worth hunting around for.
BenRiach 26-year-aged 1991 from the single cask-6898 went through a similar limited run of 270 bottles. The long aging period in a Burgundy barrique cask gives the whisky a deep brown hue and a sweet taste. The fact that cask #6898 is a recent entry, bottled in 2018, means that it is more common until all the bottle are consumed. At present, a bottle of BenRaich #6898 is selling for £260 ($330), a great entry price for a collectable whisky.
Storage of Investment Whisky
Keep the packaging in pristine condition, and the seal of the whisky intact. Any signs of a damaged bottle will make a vast difference to the potential value. Leaving the wine in bond makes good sense. The fees for storage at merchants are low compared to other methods. A dealer will often apply a good discount for leaving it there and offer security. Bank vaults are expensive, which leaves your home. Home is the best choice, but in a locked box and out of sight.
The box is more to keep it out of the hands of any family that may come across it if it was on display. The box must stay clean and dry, then stored in an area away from sunlight or any heat source. The bottle should also be stored vertically. Older bottles may have degraded corks, even new corks and bottling techniques can fail. It would be upsetting to discover your prized investment had dripped empty. Collecting whisky is not an exact science. Many variables, including how the public’s taste changes, will affect the price.
A popular sweet and dark whisky may fall completely out of favour in 10 years’ time. That is why it is best to choose something that you like to drink. Find brands that you can try a less expensive version of and assess the taste profiles. You do not need to go through litres of whisky, buy tasting sets and be methodical about how you feel about each one. You could also buy a monthly whisky subscription and receive limited edition bottles.
There are plenty of amazing distillers, but Highland Scotch is still the best. Benefits of collecting whisky are that it is simple to store and overlooked as something of value. Finding the best investment whisky can be one of the most enjoyable hobbies you have ever had.
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