In the right market conditions, rare single-malt scotch whisky can fetch intoxicating prices.

Last November, a bottle of Black Bowmore First edition from 1993, which originally cost £65 a bottle changed hands for £2,800 in Glasgow—a new record.

With a proven record of price increases and demonstrated resilience to global economic downturns, Scotch whisky is gaining traction as an alternative investment.

Read: Collectibles outperform the stock market

“As a specialist market that’s much smaller than fine wine or other commodities, it appears to be strong when other sectors are struggling,” says Jonny McCormick, a U.K.-based journalist for the Whisky Advocate.

Photos courtesy the Edrington Group

For the 12 months ending June 2012, Scotch exports increased 12%, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. And the World Whisky Index (WWI), an online trading enterprise based in the Netherlands, returned 12.1% in 2012.

Michel Kappen, the ex-banker who founded the WWI, says, “We speak to our people in Scotland at the distillery and they say it’s a crazy time.

“People all over the world are asking for the luxury rare malts. So people look to this product not for drinking, but for investment.”

Nevertheless, consumption demand for luxury malts is still strong, especially in BRIC countries where it’s becoming the choice drink for young affluents. And while the U.S. and France remain Scotch whisky’s biggest export markets, sales to Venezuela and India leapt 31% and 28%, respectively, in 2012.

The rarer, the better

Whisky prices increase as supply tightens because distilleries produce limited batches, and it can take up to 25 years for the liquor to mature. Brands that do well at auction include Macallan, Glenfiddich, Bowmore, Ardbeg, Springbank and Highland Park.

New markets in India and China have driven higher auction prices. “What we’re seeing in the last few years is that Chinese people are starting to buy whisky from great names like Macallan and Ardbeg—the hot stuff,” says Kappen. “And they pay much more for a bottle than Europeans or Americans.”

Read: Cash in on celeb memorabilia

Add a comment

Have your say on this topic! Comments are moderated and may be edited or removed by
site admin as per our Comment Policy. Thanks!