A new whisky consultancy, Rare Whisky 101 (RW101), claims it is giving connoisseurs, collectors and investors of Scotland’s national drink the chance to enjoy more than just high spirits.
Set up by whisky experts, David Robertson and Andy Simpson, RW101 provides advice on unique, unusual, rare and collectable whiskies – prices for which have boomed in recent years. With just the right investment whisky lovers could not only own a piece of history but a very valuable liquid asset, the company claims.
The launch of RW101 follows the rise of rare Scotch whisky as a popular investment (see infographic below). In the last five years alone the value of the top 1,000 collectable single malts has risen by almost 216%, outpacing gold. Rare bottles of the spirit are regularly reaching five figure sums at quarterly auctions in Edinburgh, some going for as much as £46,000.
Rare Whisky 101 said it offers brokerage, brand, marketing and consultancy services as well as help with valuations and rare whisky acquisitions. With magnates from the likes of Europe, America and the Far East pouring into the market all the time, RW101 provides specialist knowledge and expertise at a time when investors (and distillers) need it most.
Co-founder Andy Simpson said: “Awareness of whisky as an investment is still pretty small. It’s a passion investment. Usually an investor falls in love with a distillery and its whisky to taste then they start wanting to collect bottles. Then they realise the whisky is rising in value. They turn that passion for drinking in to a passion for investing.
“We’re getting a huge amount of interest from buyers all over the world, so much so that we can hardly keep pace with this,” according to Simpson, a Scotch whisky collector and connoisseur from his late teenage years when he started this passion with his father.
“Supply is also constantly being consumed rendering the remaining bottles that little bit rarer and that little bit more valuable. The global demand and thirst for rare single malt Scotch is also increasing. So you almost have that perfect scenario where supply is constantly dwindling but demand is increasing. These simple economic dynamics are pushing prices higher for the right bottles.”
But just like wine, it only pays to invest in the best, claims RW101. The market for Investment Grade Scotch only deals in single malt whiskies, which by law must have been matured in oak casks in Scotland for at least three years. Age is also important, with older malts from distilleries that are now defunct (“silent stills”) being particularly sought after.
Robertson said: “The niche aspects of Scotch whisky investing means that from an investment viewpoint it is mainly of interest to high-net-worth individuals rather than institutions, who’d struggle to buy a meaningful allocation in the asset class.
“We are already assembling collections on behalf of private individuals from around the world, with an average investment around the £100,000 mark. People can opt to leave the choice entirely to Andy and I using our established networks, or they can act on our advice seeking the brands, distilleries, maturities and tastes most to their own liking – or which they reckon will gain in value the most.”
With suitable malts ranging from anything between £50 and £100,000 collecting and investing in whisky is something everyone can enjoy. Throughout the world there are already thousands of whisky lovers with collections ranging from just a few prized malts to thousands of high-quality bottles.