Not everyone out there is convinced about the value of buying whisky for investment, but the fact is that many people have made a great success of it. Should any evidence be needed of the potential for whisky to command high prices, there are plenty of auction outcomes to provide it.
As the Robb Report notes, one whisky is expected to fetch a price of between $70,000 and US$100,000 (£78,000) at an upcoming auction. The bottle in question is a 1948 Gordon & McPhail’s Glen Grant single malt, which will be sold in an 11-day rare spirits auction run by Bonhams Skinner that runs to June 29th.
The report described this as an ‘ultra rare’ whisky, with just 29 bottles of it available, but it is not the only unusual whisky available. There are also three bottles making up the Brora Triptych Collection, a trio from a closed distillery aged between 38 and 48 years that are anticipated to fetch a price of up to $35,000.
Some younger whiskies are also likely to gain good prices, including a 2022 release of Micher’s Celebration Sour Mash, aged between 12 and 30 years and one of only 328 bottles. These are anticipated to command prices of between $12,000 and $18,000.
Others include a collection of eight Austin Nichols Wild Turkey “Cheesy Gold Foil” bottles expected to fetch up to $11,000 and an A.H. Hirsch 16-year-old bourbon expected to be sold for up to $8,000.
Of course, not every purchase of whisky will be of something this rare. The most exclusive whiskies are not only old, but come from distilleries that have closed, meaning their products have a heritage value as well as scarcity.
That does not mean you have to invest in whisky hoping for a distillery to close, of course; it can still accrue substantially in value. But what it does mean is that there may be an opportunity for the returns to be even higher than you might have hoped.
Other recent whisky auctions included one at Sotheby’s, featuring whiskies from Scotland and Kentucky, which concluded on June 16th. The most expensive bottle, A 32-year-old MacAllan, was expected to fetch up to $16,000.
The key with all of these whiskies is that they have gained in value by being retained as an asset. Just as a whisky matures for many years in a cask, so once it has been around for a few years in a bottle its value can rise even more.
However, even in a cask a whisky can gain in value, which is why this form of investment is so popular. The prices may not be as remarkable as those seen at auctions of individual bottles or collections of them, but they can still be a successful investment.
While a bottle of whisky being sold for $100,000 might make headlines on either side of the Atlantic, it is important to remember that this is at the top end of the sort of returns you can get. But for all these exceptional yet rare big prices, there will be many smaller but still tidy returns.