Investors toast high returns from sales of rare Scotch whisky

Auctioneer Charles Graham-Campbell oversees the Bonhams Whisky Sale which included a very rare vintage Macallan 60 year old.
Auctioneer Charles Graham-Campbell oversees the Bonhams Whisky Sale which included a very rare vintage Macallan 60 year old.
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Rare Scotch has become the top luxury investment above coins, watches, classic cars and art, according to a new report on “passion investments”.

The Wealth Report 2019, released today, reveals that Scotch now leads the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII) after a 40 per cent surge in value in 2018.

Over the past ten years, values of the top 100 bottles of the world’s most desirable whisky have increased by 582 per cent. Whisky, included in the KFLII for the first time, replaces art as the top performing “investment of passion”, ahead of coins on 12 per cent, while wine and art saw 9 per cent growth in 2018.

Gold grew by just 
4 per cent in 2018 and 69 per cent over a decade.

Last year was a record year for Scotch whisky at auction. Bonhams alone set three new world records, including a bottle of Macallan Valerio Adami-1926 60-Year-Old that sold in Edinburgh in October for £848,750 – or £42,000 per dram. And a bottle of Macallan 1926, hand-painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon, was sold at Christie’s in London for £1.2 million, breaking the £1m barrier for the first time.

The rise in values has been partially driven by the Asian market, as sales of Scotch to India, China and Singapore soared, according to the Scotch Whisky Association.

While whisky sales enjoyed unprecedented success, the KFLII shows there were also record-breaking sales among other “passion investments”.

In classic cars, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold for £36.59m – the most expensive car sold at auction.

The £68.63m sale of David Hockney’s Portrait of An Artist in November was a record for a living artist; and a Marie Antoinette pearl pendant sold by Sotheby’s for £27.45m was the most expensive piece of pearl jewellery sold at auction.

Andy Simpson, co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, which compiled the Knight Frank Rare Whisky 100 Index, said: “The key to rare whisky’s sustained growth as an asset class is the passion buyers worldwide share for investing, collecting, and occasionally drinking, some of the best and rarest Scotch whisky ever made.”