First ever half-year decrease in value of rare whiskies, experts say

Rare Whisky 101 co-founders Andy Simpson and David Robertson. Picture: Rare Whisky 101
Rare Whisky 101 co-founders Andy Simpson and David Robertson. Picture: Rare Whisky 101
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The investment performance of unusual Scotch has dipped during the first six months of the year, however a record amount has been spent on the spirit, according to new figures published today by whisky experts Rare Whisky 101.

The Rare Whisky Apex 1000 Index showed a slight decrease of 0.26% in the value of a collection of one thousand of the most sought after bottles of Single malt Scotch, the first half-year loss since recording began, down from 9.91% during the same period last year.

According to expert's 2019 Half Year Report, reasons for the decline include over-supply of whisky during the early months of 2019, the continued proliferation of new-start whisky auction-houses which has lead to a softening of prices, and a decline in the performance of the Macallan – the secondary market’s most dominant distillery.

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Whilst Scotch whisky has decreased in the value compared with other markets and traditional investments in this time frame, it has still significantly outperformed asset classes including FTSE 100, Brent Crude, and Gold in the long term, having increased 160% from December 2014.

Although Campbeltown-based Springbank has been awarded first place in the investor rankings, closely followed by silent distilleries Brora and Glenugie, figures slumped following Macallan’s late 2018 dip continued, as it shifted down from 4th place at the end of 2018 to 7th by the end of June 2019.

While the rare whisky market recorded a dip in investment performance, the number of bottles of Single Malt Scotch whisky sold at auction in the UK during the first six months of 2019 increased by 43.90% to 71,544.

The pound value of collectable bottles of Single Malt Scotch whisky sold at auction in the UK skyrocketed by almost 60% from £16,335,635 in 2018 to £25,873,963, whilst the average per-bottle price is up from £328.56 in the first half of 2018 to £361.65 in H1 2019.

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Whisky investment analyst and co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, Andy Simpson commented: “On the back of ten subsequent years of growth in the investment performance of rare whisky, we have seen an oversupply of bottles, the continued proliferation of specialist whisky auction houses, and a record amount of money spent at auction all combine to produce the rare whisky investment market’s first ‘blip’ since we started reporting these results."

“However, collectors, investors and buyers would be well advised to note the dip. At this stage we do not believe it indicates the start of a longer-term downward trend. In fact, looking the last three months of H1 alone (April to June) the Apex 1000 index returned to slightly more significant growth of 1.29%, moving from 825.92 points to 836.55.

“We remain confident that the right bottles from the right distilleries will continue to offer a strong investment proposition. In fact our later than usual reporting of the half year figures has allowed us to see growth return to the market as the supply/demand equation has re-balanced. However, continued uncertainty over the UK’s post-Brexit future makes it very difficult to predict how the market will perform in the latter months of 2019.”