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Achieving a positive return on your whisky

Features

01.08.2020

Read our article on how to make the right decisions at auction that will help you achieve your goals.

Read our article on how to make the right decisions at auction that will help you achieve your goals.

Read our article on how to make the right decisions at auction that will help you achieve your goals.

The secondary whisky market is an incredibly exciting and dynamic market to take part in regardless of your motivations but with hundreds of thousands of bottles sold every year it can appear daunting on first inspection.  

Over the last decade the collectability of whisky has risen exponentially making it one of the leading ‘passion assets’, overtaking the likes of classic cars, jewellery or antiques in the UK. Every year more and more people discover the fascinating complexity of whisky in all its forms and begin to explore and develop their passion through the secondary market.  

Let’s take a moment to consider what makes a bottle sought after. 

 

THE BIG NAMES 

The distilleries that have a well-established reputation for quality and luxury and a loyal following always on the look out for expressions.  

 

SINGLE CASK BOTTLINGS 

Synonymous with quality and limited quantity, these bottlings are often higher on the hitlist for whisky lovers than say a standard distillery release or no age statement. 

 

LOST DISTILLERIES 

With ever depleting stocks left from some of the worlds greatest distilleries that are now deemed lost, the theory of supply and demand very much applies here. Once the last remaining stocks are gone there is no way to produce new liquid, making those last remaining bottles very special indeed. 

 

SPECIAL RELEASES  

Whether a bottle is part of a limited commemorative release, a distillery exclusive or is part of an inaugural offering from a distillery, it has something that distinguishes it from a standard release. So often the addition of a story or link to a moment in history imbues a deeper connection between whisky and whisky lover.  

 

Of course this is not an exhaustive list but some of the more apparent factors in creating a desirable and collectible whisky.  

So how do you ensure you are buying wisely at auction? Here are just a few thoughts to consider before you dive in to your first auction. 

 

DO YOUR HOMEWORK 

Make sure you understand the history behind a bottle. 

  • How large a release was it?
  • Is there a story attached to it?
  • Has it been rated highly for quality of liquid?
  • Is it part of a series or a standalone release?
  • Historically what price has it achieved?

The more you know about a bottle the surer you can be of its desirability or collectability on the secondary market. 

 

KEEP RECORDS 

Where and when did you buy it and how much did it cost?  

The number of bottles in your portfolio can mount up quickly. Knowing exactly what is in it through keeping a detailed inventory can help you manage and thoughtfully direct your buying activity. Perhaps on reviewing your inventory it becomes apparent that your portfolio is weighted towards a specific region or distillery, prompting you to diversify and widen your scope. 

 

MONITOR THE MARKET 

Be the first to hear industry news or spot market trends. 

Having a good awareness of the wider whisky market, both retail and secondary, can be beneficial. Be first in line for the limited distillery only release or first to hear about the distillery that is stopping their age statement standard releases. Monitoring auction prices can also help you spot an emerging trend or a downward trend, allowing you to act at the right time. Forewarned is forearmed after all. 

 

The main thing to remember as you embark on your whisky journey is to enjoy expanding your knowledge and understanding of this special spirit and to have some fun in the process, participating in an auction can be an exciting and rewarding experience in more ways than one.  

Laura Maclaren

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