WHY WHISKY MAY BE JUST THE THING FOR JITTERY INVESTORS
For those in the know – and with the willpower not to drink up their assets – fine whisky can be quite a rewarding investment. A bottle of 1995 Brora, for example, was worth 100 euros in 1998. Now it sells for five times as much.
Whisky has become more than just a classy drink. It can also be a pretty good investment – better in some cases than stocks, at least when markets are all over the place, as they are now.
Because there is increased demand for a decreasing supply, Michel Kappen, founder of an online platform called the World Whisky Index, sees prices rising long-term. The ex-banker estimates annual yield at 12%. So it’s hardly surprising that more and more yield-oriented connoisseurs are buying whisky and hoping for price rises.
By way of example: a bottled 1995 Brora was selling for around 100 euros in 1998. By 2006 the value had doubled. Today, the 75 cl bottle costs no less than 500 euros.
The World Whisky Index presently tracks 46,610 bottles that together are worth 5.62 million euros. The site, created in 2007, brings buyers and sellers together. Whisky fans can build their own portfolio, and buy and sell. The most expensive bottle, a 1919 Springbank Single Malt, is presently quoted at 55,000 euros.
Whisky auctions have existed since the 1980s. But they’re risky for casual whisky fans since the lucrative market is littered with ever more fakes. According to connoisseurs, the Italian mafia has already firmly established itself in the fast-growing market. Even dealers occasionally get taken in. Tricksters use fake seals and labels on the bottles, or original bottles with fake contents.
"Never buy expensive bottles from an unknown dealer,” warns Tomas Ide, a foremost expert and founder of the Whisky Chamber. Before bidding on the Internet, he says, ask for pictures of the bottles and labels so that these can be compared with originals.
"Collectors should be on the lookout for bottles available only in limited quantities," says Ide. Whiskies from distilleries that have closed, such as Rosebank, are also an excellent bet. Pittyvaich is another potential winner, says Ide, as are whiskies from the Banff Distillery which closed its doors in 1983.