Single malt whisky values ‘continue to soar’

The Macallan 'Royal Wedding' is among the most sought-after single malts. Picture: Contributed
The Macallan 'Royal Wedding' is among the most sought-after single malts. Picture: Contributed
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THE value of rare Scottish single malts is continuing to soar, despite a significant increase in the volume of rare whiskies being traded throughout last year.

Topping the list of sought-after whiskies being bought by connoisseurs and investors is The Macallan “Royal Marriage” malt which originally retailed at £150 when it first went on sale two years ago. It now sells for around £900 a bottle.

New figures, published by whisky investment experts Whisky Highland, have revealed that last year saw a record number of full sealed bottles of single malt Scotch sold in the UK on the open market.

The company, which offers a whisky valuation service for whisky collectors and investors, has seen sales at whisky auctions rise by a staggering 63 per cent from 8,696 bottles sold in 2011 to 14,150 last year.

Andy Simpson, the firm’s founder, said that early 2013 figures suggested the rapid growth in the market is set to continue. The first quarter of the year has already seen 3,789 bottles of rare malts being sold at whisky auctions in the UK – a 34.5 per cent increase on the same period last year.

Mr Simpson said: “With this rapid increase in supply, we would have expected to see a stabilisation or even a slight decline in overall values. Quite the opposite has happened, with rare and old bottles of whisky continuing to outperform many other alternative asset classes.”

He explained that the top 1,000 performing bottles of “Investment Grade Scotch” (IGS) had increased in value by almost 24 per cent over the course of 2012, yielding an overall increase of 123 per cent since 2008.

Mr Simpson said the soaring sales were being led by rare bottles from iconic distilleries. He continued: “We are still witnessing continued increases in value for the right bottles from the right distilleries.”

According to the new sales figures, from an investment perspective the most sought-after brand remains The Macallan.

Continued increasing demand is pushing prices to new record highs.

Mr Simpson revealed: “The likes of Port Ellen, Brora, Rosebank and Glenury Royal are experiencing unprecedented demand for an ever-decreasing pool of both bottles and whisky still in the cask. The current dynamics of increasing global demand and decreasing stock of suitable investment-grade bottles has maintained a very bullish market.”

He added: “These results are very impressive and further 
cement rare Scotch’s credentials as a viable alternative investment. While it must be borne in mind that whisky values can fall, as has been seen in some areas of the market previously, the current situation remains exceptionally buoyant.

“I still maintain whisky should be viewed as a long-term investment of ten to 20 years although clearly short/medium term increases are being experienced at the moment.”

Meanwhile GlenDronach, one of Scotland’s leading independent distilleries, yesterday announced plans to bottle a second batch of its new single malt to meet worldwide demand, just five months after the launch of its new cask strength whisky.

The distillery, owned by the BenRiach Distillery Company, is based at Forgue, near Huntly in Aberdeenshire.

Alistair Walker, the company’s sales director, said: “It really is down to huge demand in the international marketplace. All 12,000 bottles in Batch One sold out in a matter of weeks and since the turn of the year our agents around the world have been calling for a second batch. We’re delighted to respond with this new expression.”