There’s been a lot of talk about how valuable whisky can be as an investment product. Long story short, it’s rather lucrative. But there a few caveats as to what can be worth money in both the short and long term.
Now, there are a few basic rules that you can follow to make sure you’re going down the right route to getting some investable content. I’ll lay them out as simply as possible, as the less confusion, the better in articles like this.
- Never invest more than you’re willing to lose
This seems like a fairly basic one, but sadly not. Investing in anything is a risk and it can never “guarantee” a large chunk of profit. I’ve overheard far too many staff in whisky shops across the world saying that, so and so will guarantee you a certain amount of money back in a decade. Ignore them and walk away, they’re just looking for a sale. Start off small and ask advice from people who have sold and bought from auction websites and collectors.
- Start off small
Now, you don’t have to jump in at the deep end with investable whisky. You can find some seriously good bottles for both just above and under the, £100 mark. Bottles released last year from Jura, Kininvie, Macallan and Glenfiddich all proved to be decent bottles to put to one side. Glenfiddich’s XX Release was on the shelf for £50 a bottle and in the first auctions of its release was selling for £200. Things have settled down now but it still averages £90+ and with it being the start of a long term limited release series, could again see its value rise.
- Big Brands
Now, a lot of people see value in small, boutique and niche items outside of a whisky context. They’re small, charming and have imperfections that let you know someone’s handled it through each step of its development. Throw that idea straight out of the window, whisky investment has its foundations in huge brands. Glenfiddich, Macallan, Dalmore, Yamazaki, Buffalo Trace, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, the list is endless. But these brands are where you should set your sights. Two prime examples of this in the past few months were Lagavulin’s 25-Year-Old and Dalmore’s 35-Year-Old. The Lagavulin had an £800 price tag but now averages £1,000 per bottle, only 8,000 bottles created. Dalmore’s new 35YO is one of only 1,000 bottles worldwide, it’s recent auction valuation topped off at, £3,100. Yes, it’s £400 under RRP, but once they’re all sold and it becomes too rare to find, expect that price to slowly rise.
- Limited Editions
This point relates back to the two previous points. Large distilleries making limited/one off bottlings are always a solid stand point. They have established fan bases all over the world and a lot of these limited products are sometimes only available in one part of the globe, or in the case of some Macallan bottlings, very specific airports.
- Award Winners
Now this one can be a little bit tricky. A lot of people turn to Jim Murray’s Whisky of the Year for a quick investment, yes it’s worked in the past. If you can get hold of these and they are limited release, then it’s worth keeping to one side. A key point to note out is that, sometimes the winner isn’t a limited release. In the case of Old Pulteney 21, amazing whisky but isn’t collectible. Keep an eye out for World Whisky Awards as well, always worth a look,
- Glenmorangie Ealanta, released for £90, auction value; £170-£230.
- Yamazaki 2013 Sherry Cask, released for £80, auction value; £900-£2,500
- Crown Royal NH Rye, Released for $17 Canadian, auction value; £50-£75
Not as hard as you might think for this one. Unlike investable wine, whisky doesn’t need to be stored at a certain angle or at a certain temperature. The only few things to consider are keeping it upright, this is vital to the longevity of the cork. Whisky is a legal minimum of 40%ABV, any interaction of the liquid and the cork for long periods of time could ruin everything for you, keep ‘em straight! Store it in a cool place, away from things that fluctuate greatly in heat, so away from windows and radiators. Preferably a cupboard or a large storage container, even a nice old wooden cabinet, if you have one.
- Dead Distilleries
One thing that is particularly lucrative in the whisky investment world are, dead distilleries. Most of us would simply call them closed, but dead just has some more poetic connotations about it. Port Ellen, Brora, Banff, Caperdonich, Pittyvaich, Rosebank, these are just a few of the establishments that have closed over the years, all for a multitude of different reasons. If you get your hands on an old, original bottling or even one of the new official release, then the worlds your oyster really. Brora in its official bottling form is normally around £1,200 which isn’t bad for something that’s approaching its official 40YO release. Port Ellen did particularly well on the investment market last year, rising by 16% in secondary market sales in November. This could be down to numerous different reasons but nonetheless, it happened. You’re paying more up front for bottles like this, and by putting all of your eggs in one basket, it can seem rather scary but these bottles currently are earning anywhere from 1%-5% as a normal average, currently better than any ISA account.
- Japanese Whisky
Honestly, the collectible stuff is just far too hard to get hold of, if you can find anything that’s 18YO+ for sub £250 then, well done. But even at that price, you’re not going to get much more back for it by selling it. The money you spend on Japanese collectibles could warrant anywhere from 5-20 other bottles, depending on what you’re buying. It all tastes great but it’s rather expensive at the minute, a basic 12YO will set you back £80-£100.
- What happens if it doesn’t work out?
Remember point one? Well, if it doesn’t work out, just drink it. You still win.
Twitter – @whiskytube
Instagram – pdwyer92