‘Perfect storm’ for rare malts

Increasing global demand and declining discontinued bottles fuelling price growth

Andy Simpson (left) and David Robertson reckon demand for rare malt will continue to rise

THE market for rare Scotch whisky experienced ‘unprecedented growth’ during the first six months of this year, according to recently published figures by a whisky investment analyst.

Rare Whisky 101’s half-year report revealed that both the volume and value of rare Scotch whisky sold at auction has increased by ‘record amounts’.

The value of collectable bottles of single malt Scotch whisky sold at UK auctions is said to have risen by 93.6% to an all-time half-year high of £11.1million, compared to £5.7m for the same period last year, while the number of bottles of single malt sold at UK auctions increased by 47.2% to 39,061, compared to 26,527 sold during the same time period in 2016.

The continued rise in values is said to be reflected in the average per-bottle price, which has risen to a new record of £286.13 – up from 2016’s half-year figure of £217.56 and full-year figure of £241.87.

Scotch whiskies are said to be outpacing Japanese malts in terms of investment at the half-year mark this year, as the Icon 100 Index (a basket of 100 collectable bottles of Scotch whisky) increased 6.56% during the first half of 2017, while the equivalent Japanese Icon 100 Index regressed 4.41% over the same time period.

Commenting on the half-year results, Andy Simpson, whisky investment analyst and co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, said the secondary market for rare whisky “has never been so strong”, adding that he expects the value of Scotch sold at auction in the UK “to break £20 million this year for the first time ever”.

“At a brand level, individual producers are continually pushing the prices of their premium aged stock,” he said.

“Couple this primary market price inflation with increased global demand and declining stocks of discontinued bottles, and we still look to be in the ‘perfect storm’ for the right bottles to continue appreciating in value.

“Of course, as with any investment asset experiencing such a run, it all could come to an end.

“But right now, the right bottles of Scotch seem to be in ever-increasing demand.”