July 6, 2020 SVC 0

Whisky investment for the individual

If you love whisky there is a great chance that you are a collector too. Let’s not get confused, we have whisky enthusiasts that say collecting defeats the purpose of the spirit as whisky is meant to be drunk and not hoarded. We think there are many sides to that coin. 

Firstly, you can collect with the intention of drinking it at a later date, as we all know special bottles come and go very quickly and it is reasonable to store it for a few years. Or you could realise its value now and maybe decide to hold onto for a bit longer. If you are a whisky lover there is something magical about walking into your whisky vault and just staring at all the amazing treasures you have collected over the years. A lot of bottles we collect have huge sentimental value, and we find them very difficult to open as they are either impossible, or very tough to get again – and they take me back to that magical time I bought that bottle. Whisky is more than the spirit inside the bottle, it is the moments you spend with good friends drinking it or alternatively, collecting it. 

Then you get the individuals that collect purely for the financial gain. They don’t support the brands and the independent retailers. We are not here to say what is right and what is wrong, that is for you to decide. 

But what we will give you are a few tips on starting your whisky journey and collection at home…

First rule and the most important, you cannot collect everything (we wish we knew this when we started). It becomes very addictive, and the thrill and the chase can result in you making a bad decision.  Start off by trying some whiskies and find what you like. If you can’t go to the distilleries, do some reading about them, find the ones that attract you the most and then concentrate on those. If you are collecting for pure nostalgia, then you have it the best. You are not bound by worrying if your bottles are going to appreciate in value, it is pure whisky joy – your joy. Choose a handful of distilleries and just buy those, chat to the community in the whisky game and ask them for advice. After all, whisky is about the people.

Secondly, know your budget. Ask around and don’t over pay for things. Once you have a better knowledge of the whisky industry you will begin to learn what the value of whiskies are. There are a lot of sellers in the secondary market that really don’t have a clue and take advantage of new investors in the game. Pretty packaging and a back story doesn’t necessarily mean the bottle is worth more than it is. If it looks fancy, do some research. A lot of the time you are paying for the marketing team and their stories. Some of the distilleries you want to concentrate on if you looking for return on the bottles would be Springbank, Bowmore, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, Glenmorangie; and then you also have your closed distilleries like Port Ellen, Brora, Rosebank and Ben Wyvis. There is huge interest at the moment on Japanese whiskies. A lot of this is driven purely by supply and demand, so choose wisely when looking at this category as things could change in the future. The closed distilleries from Japan at the moment look like a sure bet, mainly Kariuzawa and Hanyu. If your pockets are deep, those are the whiskies we would recommend looking at from Japan. Then there is the young distillery, Chichibu, which is making some incredible spirit and whiskies at the moment – this is shown in the secondary market where their young whiskies are going for significant prices. These are a lot more expensive to get but worth the chase. This doesn’t mean that all bottlings from these distilleries are going to be worth their weight in gold in the future, you will want to focus on the limited edition bottlings, single casks and if possible, a bit of age behind the liquid. Please don’t go out and buy all the core ranges and think you are on your way to a big paycheck in a few years. Whisky investment now is a lot more expensive to get into than it was 10 years ago, whisky is at its peak at the moment and the pricings on some of the releases are astronomical. Take Macallan for example, yes they are an amazing distillery and show some of the best returns out there, but to get into the Macallan collecting game you need deep pockets. None of their collectible releases come cheap, and won’t guarantee big returns – you really have to do your research on these bottlings. Same could be said about the Japanese whiskies, Kariuzawa and Hanyu prices have gone through the roof of late. 10 years ago they couldn’t give this liquid away. Another danger is that with these big distilleries comes the chance you might buy a fake bottling on the secondary market – this is a real concern and difficult to monitor. So when buying, make sure you feel comfortable with the purchase. Sometimes if the deal is too good, it probably is fake.

Lastly, make sure that you store your whiskies properly, keep them upright and away from the sun or warm rooms.

No matter your current involvement in whisky, the prospect of such a healthy market popular with investors is highly enticing. Once you’ve figured out how best to spend your money, getting started in the world of whisky is exciting whatever form it takes.

Photo Credit: New York Times

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