Values soar as demand for rare Whisky booms

1 September 2015

The market for investing in and collecting rare whisky continues to boom, with a record number of bottles of rare whisky sold at auction in the UK during the first half of 2015, according to figures published by whisky analyst, broker and investment experts Rare Whisky 101.

The first six months of the year saw 20,638 bottles of single malt Scotch whisky sold in the UK on the open market, an increase of 5,374 bottles and a 35% increase on the same period last year. Compared to the first half of last year, the value of collectables sold at auction grew 33.8% to £4.604m.
The continued growth of the whisky secondary market contrasts with the fortunes of the primary market where whisky exports have seen values fall over the past year.

Whisky investment analyst and co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, Andy Simpson, commented: “Demand for rare whisky and the supply of bottles at auction are both accelerating at an extraordinary rate, and this is driving up values. Even using the broadest metrics of the top 1000 bottles, we have seen a dramatic and dynamic rise in values since 2008 to end June 2015.

“Demand for desirable single malt Scotch brands and previously discontinued bottles remains exceptionally strong. The dead hand of marketing is gaining an ever tighter grip on the single malt category, where retail releases are becoming non-age stated and the number of bottles ever more prolific.  The dearth of truly collectable releases over recent years has only fuelled demand for older and discontinued past releases where quality and rarity are powerful motivations for purchase.

“For many in the broader Scotch industry, export and sales figures appear challenging. However, the secondary market for rarities shows little of this stress. We view this as a clear future trend, with the value of scarcity increasing demand from connoisseurs, collectors and investors.”

The top 100 performing bottles of Investment Grade Scotch (Rare Whisky 101 Apex 100 Index) increased by 8.93% compared to the same period last year.  The rising values have yielded an overall increase of 506.24% between 2008 and 31 June 2015. The Apex 250 and 1000 have recorded growth of 385.81% and 245.08% over the same time frame. 

Leading rare whisky brands, Brora and The Dalmore, retain their positions as the top two ranked distilleries, but there has been significant movement elsewhere within the Investors Distillery Index. The biggest risers are Bowmore, up 13 places from 18 to 5, Ardbeg up 10 places from 19 to 9, and Glenfiddich which climbed 16 places to 23. Balvenie tumbled 10 places from 3 to 13.

While values for collectable single malt Scotch have made impressive gains during the first half of the year, their performance pales in comparison to some Japanese brands. Karuizawa, for example, has increased by 66.05% at the half year point, outperforming any other single malt Scotch brand.

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