With the Help of Bonhams, Malt Marketing Looks into the Subject of Rare Whisky
Bonhams Whisky Dept
What do tasters look for in a particularly exceptionally collectable batch of whisky?
As with most products, reputation, scarcity and exclusivity are very important. Ultimately a point of difference from the expressions that are more readily available all year round, perhaps a unique maturation story or a limited production run.
Do whisky collectors tend to be investors with excellent wine cellars already or is it a different type of investor entirely?
There’s bound to be some overlap. The appeal of investing in a bottle of something highly revered, limited and of the highest quality applies to both categories. It is worth remembering that collecting whisky is a relatively recent phenomenon. The first stand alone whisky auctions, for example, were held in the late 1980s. Until then, whisky was routinely lumped in with other spirits and often included in wine sales. Since then, interest has soared. The highest priced bottle in the first ever dedicated whisky auction held in Glasgow in 1989, for example, was £3,300 for an unusual blended scotch. Earlier this year, a bottle of Glendiffich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve was sold in New York for $94.000.
What tips do you have for first time whisky collectors looking to start a portfolio?
This depends to some extent on your motivation. If it’s to drink, then buy what you like drinking and gradually refine your palette as you become more experienced. If it’s to collect, the usual advice is to buy the best you can afford but, of course, some collectors will be buying to plug gaps in their collections.
If it’s an investment, do your homework as you would with any purchase. Start with the main range, available in any good whisky specialist. Then progress on to a Distillery exclusive bottling – this is a great place to start as by their very nature they are limited. These are available at a range of price points to suit any budget.
And, of course, exercise the normal precautions. Forgeries, for example, are not common but if you are in any doubt consult the relevant distillery. They are usually happy to provide information to anyone who asks.
How should a collector store their whisky safely?
Whisky should be stored out of direct heat or sunlight, so as not to undergo evaporation. Corked bottles should be storedupright, avoiding contact between the cork and the spirit inside..
How long should collectors hold onto their rare whisky before they could sell and see a return on their investment?
This is a difficult question to answer because it totally depends on the bottle in question. As with anything bought specifically as an investment, it is sensible for the investor to keep a close eye on the performance of his or her portfolio. There are now many magazines and blogs devoted to whisky and whisky collecting which offer statistics and advice. Whisky auctions provide another source of information. By studying the movement of prices over a period, and talking to the specialists collectors can gain some idea of how their portfolio may perform if brought to market. It’s worth adding that auction houses are usually careful to stick to the facts and not to make specific investment recommendations – that has to be for the judgement of the collector.
With international brands now able to command impressive premiums, is the home of whisky still Scotland?
Absolutely! Japanese, Irish, American, Canadian whiskies are great but whisky is synonymous with Scotland and Scotland with whisky! The romance and history of whisky is entirely bound up with Scotland (it’s called Scotch – sometimes – for a reason) and it’s difficult to see how that will ever lose its appeal.
Do you see whisky collecting as becoming a rival to wine?
(There really isn’t much more to say here that isn’t said above – it’s too similar a question)
What has made whisky so collectable in recent times?
A whole variety of reasons. A greater appreciation and understanding of how much love, time and craft goes into creating this wonderful spirit. A broadening of its appeal – consumers are increasing willing to try new spirits – particularly spirits with genuine heritage and provenance and most importantly a robust and complex taste. It is also, of course, the case that some buyers, especially at the high end of the market, see whisky as an investment rather than as something to drink and the seemingly inexorable rise in prices is fuelling demand among this group.
What is the future of the whisky investment market?
Cast iron predictions are never sensible in any walk of life but over the past 10 years the upward trajectory has remained remarkably smooth with new markets opening especially in the Far East. Since the sale of The Folsom Collection in 2010, for example, prices in Hong Kong have continued to rise with collectable single malts in particular of greater demand. In Edinburgh and New York, prices have been driven up by competition from buyers located in the Far East and USA in addition to the continued interest from European buyers. The fact that Bonhams and other auction houses are registering 90% sold across the range of prices suggest continued demand – but nothing in life is certain and investing in whisky requires the same level of common sense as anything else.
The Whisky Vault, est. 2008, is an online rare whisky specialist store providing you with top quality rare and collectable whiskies direct to your front door.
The Whisky Vault was born from ideas created by Philip and Richard Hawley, a Father/Son relationship, based in Yorkshire, UK. An incredibly enthusiastic business, the project is currently run as an entirely family-oriented project.
With over one thousand items in our catalogue, including over 900 single malts, there are expressions of whisky that are very rare and indeed sought after. We endeavour to keep the site exciting and fresh and therefore are consistently adding new products, as and when we acquire them.
We continue to be recognised as one of the market leaders in terms of our ability to acquire exceptional malts, with expressions in our ranks that date back as far as the early 20th Century. Our forte is supplying unique, rare and collectable specimens to the world’s army of whisky lovers.
Having a customer services background, we understand the importance of fair, quality and efficient service. We adhere to this policy relentlessly.
We have detailed photographs of every bottle we have for sale, instead of using stock photos, so you can examine each product as you would expect to receive it. Any product showing in stock on the site is most definitely in stock, we would never take money for items we cannot ship immediately.
We hope you enjoy the site.
123Viva Las Whisky
Nth 2013 – The Ultimate Whisky Experience, March 1st and 2nd
If you are a whisky enthusiast don’t lose the opportunity to attend –
sampling drams of the world’s most unique, finest premium whiskies from the top-tier brands and conversing with and learning from whisky aficionados, high-end connoisseurs, and collectors. Also at this year’s event will be present the SUPERSTARS (Valued at $700,000) – Royal Salute Tribute to Honor bottle, The Dalmore Constellation collection and Johnnie Walker Diamond Jubilee bottle, amongst other high-end expressions. If that isn’t enough in itself you also have the luxury of dining, shopping, and playing at one of the top resorts in the world’s entertainment playground, Las Vegas, Nevada.
The most popular packages are HIGHROLLER and CONNOISSEUR
GROUP INCENTIVES are also available! For ticket purchases of FOUR (4) or more.
Some of the Highlights included in your ticket price will be a choice of pre show special events such as Whisky Investment debate, Whisky and Cigars and whisky launches. You also get to sample premium whiskies from all exhibitors with your very own collectable Glencairn cut crystal glass. ‘Super Premium whiskies’ – Super Pours will be available for tasting valued at $300.00 and above per pour retail. Exquisite hors’ doeurves available in exhibit hall during tasting, followed by a gourmet dinner catered by executive chefs at the Encore hotel.
Guests of the ‘Nth 2013 Show’ will also have the opportunity to purchase and attend from a choice of Master classes scheduled for Saturday 2nd March 2013. Each class will be conducted by world-renowned brand ambassadors and include discussions and tasting flights of some of the rarest and finest premium whiskies.
The Macallan single malt whisky, distributed by Maxxium UK, has reported strong sampling figures after attending its third art show. Providing over 20,000 samples and cocktails, The Macallan introduced consumers to the newest edition of The Macallan’s portfolio, The Macallan Gold.
Those attending designjunction*, The Liverpool Biennial** and most recently The London Art Fair*** visited The Macallan Masterclass lounge in large numbers. Not only did they sample the new luxury single malt whisky, The Macallan Gold but they also found out more about The Macallan’s third edition of the successful Masters of Photography Series, involving iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz.
For this year The Macallan’s sampling programme focused on the contemporary art world. The Macallan engaged with over 5,550 people during designjunction (September 2012), which took place over five days in London’s Sorting Office, showcasing the finest selection of international design brands. The Macallan team also distributed over 4,800 Gold n’ Soda cocktails at the VIP and press launch and at the Pecha Kucha Friday evening event, ensuring The Macallan Gold was at the front of influencers’ minds.
Building on the success of designjuction, The Macallan then headed north and attended The Liverpool Biennial (September – November 2012), sampling over 500 consumers in one weekend during the ten week event, which sees Liverpool come alive with a range of extraordinary art exhibitions and events.
The Macallan continued its successful sampling programme at The London Art Fair (January 2013), which featured over 100 galleries and showcased the work of the greatest names of 20th century British art and exceptional contemporary work. In addition to the sampling figures, 5,500 Macallan Gold cocktails were sampled over the two preview evenings, bringing the total sampling figure to 9,300 over 6 days. This was largely attributed to the draw of the Annie Leibovitz exclusive shots, which provided The Macallan with strong standout.
Peter Sandstrom, Marketing Director at Maxxium UK ltd, commented: “With a high trial to conversation rate it’s important we allow people to taste The Macallan for themselves. Sampling is therefore a key part of The Macallan’s investment plan, which will allow us to grow the brands popularity and introduce new consumers to whisky. Venturing into the world of art and engaging with those with a genuine interest in art and photography has provided us with an excellent platform to do just that.
“The numbers which we have reached over the course of the last five months are extremely encouraging. Going forward we want to build on these figures giving consumers an insight into our Masters of Photography Series and help build momentum for The Macallan.”
Issued by The BIG Partnership. For more information please contact Sarah Bailey or Helen Wilson at email@example.comfirstname.lastname@example.org or 0131 555 5522
Notes to editor:
ABOUT THE MACALLAN
Founded in 1824 in the heart of Speyside, The Macallan was one of the first distilleries in Scotland to be legally licensed. Since then it has built a reputation as one of the world’s leading single malt whiskies. The creation of The Macallan draws on the vital contributing influences of Spain, North America and Scotland, and of their respective natural raw materials, combined with traditional methods and craftsmanship. From its founding, through the subsequent owners of The Macallan distillery in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and into the present century, The Macallan has been recognised for its outstanding quality above all else. Today this remains the foundation for the worldwide fame of The Macallan and is such that it is truly “The Last Word” in luxury and at the heart of those special moments brought alive over a glass of The Macallan.
The timeless reputation of The Macallan is founded upon Six Pillars:
The Spiritual Home
Easter Elchies House proudly watches over The Macallan distillery in Speyside, Scotland. Built in 1700, this Jacobean manor house is The Macallan’s spiritual home.
Curiously Small Stills
The Macallan’s curiously small and uniquely shaped copper stills help to concentrate the flavour of the ‘new make’ spirit.
The Finest Cut
The ‘cut’ is the amount of distilled spirit collected from the stills as ‘new make’ spirit. The Macallan takes one of the ﬁnest ‘cuts’ of any distillery in Scotland; typically just 16% goes forward to fill or our casks.
Exceptional Oak Casks
The Macallan’s unfaltering obsession with selecting exceptional oak casks brings an unsurpassed, timeless quality to The Macallan.
The Macallan insists upon Natural Colour. It is the interaction of spirit and wood alone which delivers the rich variety of colour, aroma and taste evident through out the range.
The Macallan remains the single malt against which all others must be judged. It is celebrated far and wide by experts and discerning drinkers as the world’s most precious whisky.
The 1824 Series
The UKwill be the first market to take the new range with the launch of Gold in Autumn 2012, exclusively for 6 months. The 1824 Series will then roll out in Europe and Canada plus key emerging territories in Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa from Spring 2013.
The Macallan has unveiled The 1824 Series, a range showcasing two of its greatest strengths; oak sherry casks and natural colour.
Bob Dalgarno, The Macallan Whisky Maker, has created four expressions by identifying the natural colour formed during maturation in different casks types to create the character informed by these colours. The expressions are Gold, Amber, Sienna and Ruby, all names reflecting the actual colour of the whiskies in the range, but also describing naturally occurring minerals and metals.
This innovative approach to whisky making is the first to derive the final character from the natural colours drawn into The Macallan from the oak sherry casks over the years of maturation. It has allowed Bob Dalgarno to assess the broadest range of casks delivering an unrivalled range of natural colours.
Bob Dalgarno, Whisky Maker, The Macallan, said, “The Macallan world of colour is the true inspiration of the 1824 Series. Using colour to drive and define a whisky differs dramatically from the conventional age approach, allowing us to explore different casks and take a more flexible approach to our stock. We have been able to work creatively with the full range of matured stock available, rather than working to a pre-determined character based on age. For me, the key thought in this range is that a great single malt doesn’t need to be 30 years old to taste like a 30 year old.”
By drawing on his broadest range of skills in cask selection, Bob has been unshackled by the need to draw on casks selected first and foremost for their age. His expert skills ensure consistency through the effective management and selection of the casks which provide the spectrum of natural colour and character essential to The Macallan.
As anniversaries go, each one is rather special. In fact it could even be said that each is slightly more special than the one before. When it comes to royalty,
things are no different and to commemorate Her Majesty the Queen celebrating 60 years on the throne, Macallan have pulled out all the stops to mark this momentous
occasion. With the release of only 2012 bottles of their limited edition Diamond Jubilee bottle, it would be fair to say that this will prove to be a most sought after bottling. Read more here…
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