An introduction into investing in rare and collectible Scotch whisky

by , 21 May 2014

You may enjoy a whisky at the weekend, but did you know that Scotch whisky can offer you a fantastic investment opportunity? By honing in on rare and collectible single malts, you could see a bottle rocket in value over the years. But before you can even think about investing in whisky, you need to know some basics about the industry. Let's take a closer look…

What makes Scotch whisky unique?

Perhaps not surprising is the main characteristic of Scotch whisky is that it’s made in Scotland. The word whisky comes from the Gaelic word “uisge beatha,” meaning “the water of life”.

Scotch whisky’s distinct taste comes from the peaty soil, the soft water, the weather and the centuries of distilling experience in Scotland.

Across Scotland there are over 750 different whiskies produced at 125 different distilleries.

What makes whisky?

A single malt whisky comes from malted barley, Mark S Smith in The Sovereign Society explains. This malted barley is roasted over a peat fire. Then this is fermented in yeast and water before being distilled twice in copper stills.

By law it must age for a minimum of three years in wooden casks. But generally it’s for 10 years, 12 years, 18 years or longer.

If you enjoy a whisky, you probably have tasted a blended whisky. Blended whiskies don’t have the distinctive flavour associated with single malts. Collectors aren’t interested in this mass produced whisky.

The whisky collectors’ market really started to gain momentum in the early 1990s. This followed the launch of some limited edition single malts.

This growth in the collectors’ market of whisky has seen some drinks giants moving into the arena, such as Pernod Ricard and Diageo. They’ve acquired some of the best distilleries and created “distiller’s edition” bottles. They release these in small numbers at a premium, which invariably rises in value.


“For over ten years we’ve been searching for a way to make our readers even more money from gold. And at last, I believe we've found it.”
-FSP Invest Group Publisher, Annabel Koffman

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How to make money collecting whisky

An example of a single malt soaring in value is the Black Bowmore. This whisky is produced on the island of Islay. The distillery forgot about one cask from the mid-1960s that turned the whisky black over the years, hence the name. The company sold it in 1993 for around R1,575 a bottle. It now fetches more than R36,750.

So there you have it, an introduction into investing into rare and collectible Scotch whisky.

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