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Drinker or Collector?

Take part in our whisky polls and votes. You can also post your own polls in this forum.

Above which price would you consider a bottle expensive and not open it?

£0-20 ($0-34, €0-28)
0
No votes
£21-30 ($36-52, €30-43
0
No votes
£31-50 ($54-87, €44-72)
1
3%
£51-80 ($88-139, €73-115
9
28%
£81+ ($140+, €116+)
22
69%
 
Total votes : 32

Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:24 pm

Hard to argue with that, Nick.
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Postby Aidan » Mon Apr 10, 2006 2:32 pm

Nick Brown wrote:The other day, I bought a bottle of very old Port Ellen. I mixed it up in a big bucket with some left-over ends and a fair few bottles of grain whisky.

Because that's what it was made for!


I'm stockpiling petrol at the moment. It will be worth a fortune in a few years' time. I only use the cheap stuff in my car.
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Postby Scotchio » Tue Apr 11, 2006 8:47 am

Nick Brown wrote:The other day, I bought a bottle of very old Port Ellen. I mixed it up in a big bucket with some left-over ends and a fair few bottles of grain whisky.

Because that's what it was made for!


Realist ! :evil:
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Postby Scotched » Sat Apr 15, 2006 10:49 pm

I've never spent over the price of a bottle of Lagavulin 16, So I have no idea what I've missed. Its good to hear about expensive aged Whisky but as I'm never likely to be able to afford such, I'm happy in my ignorance.

My quest is not to have a secret hoard of expensive Whisky to gloat over but to drink the best that an ordinary working man can afford.

So far, this includes :-

Lagavulin 16
Clynelish 14
Laphroaig 10

There are many others but these are my favourites so far...
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:40 am

That is a very reasonable attitude, Scotched. I really think there must be something wrong with you! :P
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:14 am

I have watched this discussion with much interest and feel that now is about the right time for me to post again:

The majority of posters on here do seem to be whisky drinkers - which is perfectly fine, this is a whisky forum and many jolly fine drams are to be found and savoured.

In some respects I can partly agree with 'Scotched', I personally cannot afford to be buying bottles of €200 (and above) whisky and drinking them, fine drams that they are.
I enjoy a good malt and tend to limit my individual purchases FOR DRINKING to below the €200 mark, often below €100. In fact, one of my favourite drams of the moment carries a price of around €46 (Laddie WMDII)

However, I do buy quite a few of the more expensive bottles, but to add to my collection as a future investment.
The rarer and more limited special editions do have a history of increasing in price over time. This is a proven 'track record' over many years and I see no reason to doubt its continuation.

At the moment, here in Germany if I were to put money into a bank savings account, the best return I could hope for would be around 3% to 4% per year - MAXIMUM!
If I were in the UK, this may be slightly better at somewhere just under 5% pa.

Past performance shows me that if I manage to select the 'right' bottles, the investment potential is far greater than anything available from the banks and even greater than most stock-market based savings schemes.

Therefore, yes, I am a collector with a view to investment for my future with what I refer to as my "Whisky Pension", or in Germany "Whisky Rente"!

'Scotched' has said that he is an ordinary working man - exactly as I classify myself. However, instead of using a bank account for some of my investment, I choose to invest in bottles which I believe will offer a good return in years to come.

I will also add that yes, I know there is a possibility that the market could fail, but I doubt it will. This is one market which is growing steadily but constantly, not in the massive boom-bust way of things like Exotic Sports Cars of the 1980's 1990's in the UK.
Whisky as an investment should also be considered as a mid to long term one, certainly 5-10 years, or longer.

Therefore, I for one classify myself as a "Collector", but also a whisky-drinking one!

WH
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Postby Frodo » Sun Apr 16, 2006 12:25 pm

WhiskyHammer wrote:At the moment, here in Germany if I were to put money into a bank savings account, the best return I could hope for would be around 3% to 4% per year - MAXIMUM!
If I were in the UK, this may be slightly better at somewhere just under 5% pa.

WH


1-2% over here!
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Postby hpulley » Sun Apr 16, 2006 1:46 pm

In my mind, whisky investors are a third category. The true collector doesn't sell his collection, he hoards and covets it. The investor just buys to flip it later and is only collecting temporarily. A casual drinker might be an investor with the expensive bottles used to payroll future drinking purchases but a true drinker wouldn't be able to save them long enough. I think the three types are fairly well and clear cut.

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Apr 16, 2006 3:09 pm

I'm not so sure, Harry. I think the various impulses can be found in the same human, so that one may be seriously conflicted, for example, about whether to open that 1990/2002 Valinch, or save it for posterity, or cash it in. I consider myself a drinker, not a collector or investor, but I can feel a bit of the other points of view. And I can easily see someone being all three without any conflict.
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Postby Deactivated Member » Sun Apr 16, 2006 5:17 pm

HPulley,
that is an interesting thought, but I am also not too sure that the difference, certainly between collector and investor, is so clear cut.

The answer lies within the question: "Why are you collecting?"

In my case, I started like many collectors. I wanted to keep one example of each malt that I enjoyed drinking. This took my collection up to around the 40-60 bottles. Then people started adding to the collection by buying me Christmas / Birthday gifts of bottles. Basically, it grew from there.
After a while I began to see trends in whisky re-sale values and moved my collection more into that direction. From there, the real passion grew.

I don't think anyone just 'collects' for collecting's sake. In this case, I think the 'collection' would be more of a 'drinking collection' - like many on this forum who have a fine collection of malts which are held for opening sometime later.

All the dedicated collectors that I know, specifically collect the limited editions and specific bottlings with a view to investment for their future, or for their children's futures. But they are still whisky lovers and all enjoy a good dram too.

As yet, apart from a few people who have invested with friends in full casks, I haven't come across any collectors of bottles who only buy purely for investment and never drink. But I think this is because one needs a certain basic knowledge before knowing just what to buy as a good investment. The general public tend not to have this knowledge because they are not in to whisky deep enough.

Also, this type of investment is most definitely one for longer terms and this tends to keep it away from the "fad investors" looking for a quick return and often ruining markets with what I previously called the "boom and bust" syndrome.

Anyway, I'll end my rambling for now as I know that this is only my opinion and although I could talk on this subject for hours on end, I should try to keep some of my posts shorter.

Regards to all,
WH
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Postby Frodo » Sun Apr 16, 2006 11:20 pm

WhiskyHammer wrote:Anyway, I'll end my rambling for now as I know that this is only my opinion and although I could talk on this subject for hours on end, I should try to keep some of my posts shorter.

Regards to all,
WH


On the contrary, I find your posts well thought out WH. And I think I understand your need (preferance) to explain why you invest in whisky as some here on the forum seem to have mixed feelings regarding speculators/collecters.

I totally get your point of view. I have about 15 bottles of whisky as well as 10 of mezcal/tequila. I'll probably be saving the Port Ellens for a later time, but if I can get $600-800/bottle for them in 3-4 yrs time, I'll sell faster than you can say "hello blended whisky".
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Postby hpulley » Mon Apr 17, 2006 2:55 pm

MrTattieHeid wrote:I'm not so sure, Harry. I think the various impulses can be found in the same human, so that one may be seriously conflicted, for example, about whether to open that 1990/2002 Valinch, or save it for posterity, or cash it in. I consider myself a drinker, not a collector or investor, but I can feel a bit of the other points of view. And I can easily see someone being all three without any conflict.


If that is your only bottle of that Valinch, the only bottle you've ever bought, and you sell it before even opening it (whether or not you tasted it at the distillery prior to purchase) then in my mind you are not a pure drinker. I accept that most collectors and investors drink some as well but in my mind a pure drinker would never sell something of which he'd never drank a full bottle.

I also accept that some collectors may sell some of their collection but in my mind those who don't do it to further their collection are not pure collectors. A collector is one who does not sell their whisky for profit outright but who trades up their collection by selling some bottles and buying others. My point is that a pure investor is in it to make cash which will not all return to the whisky cellar, hence my distinction between them and one who just collects.

I consider myself a pure drinker. I sell on some when I must buy a minimum order of a case but I often regret it later when I've drunk the last bottle that I kept (then why do I sell any? I'm beginning to ask myself that same question). For me, keeping a bottle unopened for six months is unheard of so I'm not a collector. I try to make myself able to save one bottle for a long period but then pop goes the cork...

Harry
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Apr 17, 2006 8:28 pm

Thanks for that clarification Harry. We may differ slightly in our objectives regarding bottles, but I cannot argue with anything in that post, or your dedication!

In my mind, these differences in mentailty are just more examples of the wonderful world of Sctland's great gift to the world.

Long may it and we, continue.
WH
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Postby Deactivated Member » Mon Apr 17, 2006 10:52 pm

Harry, I consider myself a drinker, and I intend to drink that bottle someday. But I understand the other impulses, and I will indeed feel conflicted when I open it. I firmly believe that a bottle of whisky is an experience that is only wasted when it is not experienced...but on the other hand, when it's gone, it's gone!

Put it this way--if I sell it for big bucks, I will regret not drinking it. And if I drink it, I will regret not selling it for big bucks. I agree with you ultimately, but it's just not as black and white for everybody as it is for you.
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Postby Scotched » Mon Apr 17, 2006 11:27 pm

As a follow-on from my previous message I'd hate anyone to think I'm against anyone collecting Whisky.

To be a collector you'd have to have deep pockets, the discipline of a Monk and a forgiving wife. As I can claim none of these attributes, its easy for me to carp from the sidelines.

Besides, I've only recently been converted so who knows what lays in my future... :wink:
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Postby hpulley » Tue Apr 18, 2006 12:06 am

MrTattieHeid wrote:...I agree with you ultimately, but it's just not as black and white for everybody as it is for you.


Can you tell I'm a software developer? I understand computers very well... perhaps too well. Binary, hexadecimal, machine code, byte code. No wonder I need a drink after work :)

Harry
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Postby MacLover » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:23 am

I would consider myself a bit of all 3; drinker, collector and investor.

Having the great fortune of living in Japan for 4 years I was able to easily get my hands on some Japan only bottlings (e.g. Springbank Saxplayer), cheap Macallan Gran Reservas (1980s sold for $105 at a popular convenience store), some cheap Ardbegs.... Many collectable Springbank, Ardbeg and Laphroaig usually sell for less than current "market" rates outside of Japan, while Lagavulin, Bowmore and Macallan (with exception of the Gran Reservas) usually go for higher rates.

So what I did was start off with a small collection of drinking and collecting whiskies and gradually accummulated then either sold some to finance other purchases or traded up for other other whiskies I was interested in drinking/collecting. The result was that I now have approximately 200 bottles in my collection that are typically deemed as collectables and the vast majority are also considered great drinking whiskies. Through this buy/sell/trade approach the monetary benefit is that the estimated value of my collection is almost 50% of what I have actually spent in cash.

Being a realist I know I will probably not be able to drink all of these (although I will give it a good shot) and when the time comes to sell off some of these I should be able to fully recoup the money I have invested.

So the net effect to me is:
1. I will either recoup my full investment or maybe make some money off of the bottles
2. I can finance the purchase of and then drink bottles that I could not otherwise afford to buy/drink (I have earmarked for future drinking some vintage Macallans, Springbank Local Barleys, a bottle each of the Manager's Drams, Ardbeg Committee bottlings (and other Ardbegs), Laphroaig Feis Ile bottlings and a Black Bowmore). This would not have been possible if I was doing a straight buy and drink approach as I simply couldn't afford it.
3. I am able to entertain myself with a great hobby that allows me to make many new friends

Not a bad deal in the end :wink:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Tue Apr 18, 2006 7:14 pm

Your approach is perfectly reasonable to me, MacLover, but while your bottles are gaining in value, aren't the vintage Macallans, Manager's Drams, Ardbeg Committee Bottlings, etc, that you hope to buy in the future, increasing in value also?
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Postby MacLover » Tue Apr 18, 2006 8:00 pm

Hello Mr. Tattie Heid,

Great question. As far as the bottles you mentioned in your message I already have them in my collection with a few duplicates set aside for drinking, with the exception of about 8 bottles.

I very rarely paid full price for any of the more expensive bottles as I sold bottles I obtained for a fairly cheap price at a considerable mark up to finance the purchase of these. For example I bought quite a few Springbank Saxplayers for around 20,000 yen each (approx. $190) and sold them to some European collectors or whisky stores for around 350-400 euro each or traded for the bottles I wanted that were around the 400 euro equivalent. So, I was able to get many vintage Macallans and other bottles at a relatively low out of pocket expense to me.

I have fortunately maintained some good relationships in Japan and will continue to do this to finance the purchase of the remaining bottles on my wish list and any other newer releases I may want to get. The margins may get a bit tighter but should still allow me to obtain bottles in a cheaper fashion than buying outright (just means I may have to acquire and sell more to make up the difference).
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Postby Deactivated Member » Wed Apr 19, 2006 4:20 am

A good and valid point. Though I stated early in this thread that any/all of my bottles are available for opening (at some point), that is not to say that the proverbial "offer I can't refuse" is not possible. I'd sell -- and have! -- a bottle at a multiple over my cost, especially if it is one of which I've already enjoyed an example, and thus am not depriving myself of its enjoyment by doing so.
Does that make me a collector/investor? No, I don't think so -- certainly, though, an opportunist!
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Postby ScotchBlog » Fri Apr 21, 2006 3:19 pm

I am a drinker.
I have a number of unopened bottles in my cabinet, but it is because I haven't gotten to them yet - and I try to avoid having too many bottles open at once.

I've never bought something I had no intention of drinking, but it has nothing to do with cost.

The most expensive unopened bottle I have right now is a Glenmorangie 18 - not really that expensive, I'm just saving it for the "right time"

The only things I am consciously collecting are Compass Box Limited Editions. I have one of the Inaugural bottlings of the Spice Tree; A "Double Single" available only at the Craigellachie; and a Limited Edition "Monster" the cask strength edition of the Peat Monster, available only through Park Avenue Liquors. And I'll very likely drink those as well one day - unless someone offers me big bucks :).
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Postby smokey » Thu May 11, 2006 7:23 am

Like almost everyone else, I only buy whisky that i'm going to drink. That said, I do have some bottles I'm not opening anytime soon. Usually these are the independant bottlers, for example I have an OMC Ardbeg and 3 Cadenhead Ardbegs and there were only around 300 bottles filled from the cask. Those, i'll still drink, but I'm more inclined to wait for a special time. When I buy three, I might trade one later for something else I couldn't find if I meet someone willing. Anything else is open season. For me, easy rule of thumb is funding permitted, buy two if it's an indy bottler that i won't be able to find later. Anything else, buy and open soon, if I like it, buy two for reserve next time it's on sale.
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Postby Dubois » Thu May 11, 2006 7:38 am

I would never buy a bottle and not open it :shock:
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Postby Lawrence » Thu May 11, 2006 6:21 pm

I would never buy a bottle and not open it


We'll see what you have to say about that once you have 300 bottles in your collection.......

:wink:
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Postby Deactivated Member » Thu May 11, 2006 6:29 pm

.........and you find that the current market value is at least 10x what you paid for them.
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Postby Di Blasi » Fri May 12, 2006 1:44 am

I read a great letter in the magazine regarding this topic that helped clear things up for me. I wondered what my limit was for buying a bottle to drink, and one to collect. Why buy something I'll never get to enjoy, to allow someone else the pleasure? Life is too short. Will I ever become rich by doing this collecting thing? Or should I merely buy an extra bottle to later sell so that I drink the other for free? But how much to spend on a bottle I may not drink for years, or ever, and how much to spend on something to drink today, tomorrow, or many years from now, with special friends on a special occasion?? And if you buy a special collectable bottle, who's to say the big price tag it already carries will ever increase? And how the heck are we suppose to know that affordable every day drinking bottle of whisky will increase beyond belief? Some of my bottles I have bought with the intention of saving, maybe selling, but again, I'll never be able to retire from it! So I'll drink them instead and act retired!
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Postby mrt » Sat May 13, 2006 7:08 pm

If I buy a bottle, I open it and taste the stuff. I can keep a sample empty bottle of every whiskey I try, and that'll be a true collection :)
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Postby Admiral » Sat May 13, 2006 11:49 pm

I intend to eventually open all of the bottles in my collection, but it's true, the more expensive ones seem to sit longer in reverence. Saved for that "special occasion" I suppose.

Cheers,
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Drinker or Collector?

Postby Muskrat Portage » Sun May 14, 2006 1:47 am

I started my collection looking for a special bottle to toast New Years with. Now, I'm good until 2041. In time all my bottles will be opened and drank, even the Glen Albyn - hopefully by me. 2007 will be toasted with the Blair Athol RM I've just acquired. Musky Pete
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Postby Mad Mac » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:22 am

Save it... are you mad!?

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Postby PuckJunkie » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:49 am

There really needs to be an option for "no limit". If I can afford to put it in my collection, it's getting opened eventually. And probably sooner rather than later.

The closest I've ever come to keeping one sealed was a very recent gift from my wife, which I agonized over for what seemed like hours. It was likely only a few minutes, though, and my wife demanded to know when I was opening it. I revealed my dilemma and she told me if she wanted me to look at it she would have bought a picture. Actually threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't drink it. I'm keeping her, by the way. ;)

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Postby Frodo » Tue Jun 20, 2006 2:52 am

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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A dilemma we all share at sometime

Postby Muskrat Portage » Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:14 am

PuckJunkie wrote:...my wife demanded to know when I was opening it. I revealed my dilemma and she told me if she wanted me to look at it she would have bought a picture. Actually threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't drink it. I'm keeping her, by the way. ;) Puck

Puck:
Sounds hauntingly familiar, mine's comment was "If you don't drink it, I won't buy you another one". (She'd brought me a RM 23 yo Royal Lochnagar back from Glasgow in 2000) Definitely a keeper.
My limit still hasn't changed, if I can buy it, I'll drink it someday. But it'll be shared with friends. Musky
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Postby lbacha » Tue Jun 20, 2006 12:14 pm

There needed to be a no limit option on this poll. I just opened a $200.00 bottle of Port Ellen this weekend because a friend said he had never tried Port Ellen. Now I do have some bottles I would probably not open because the contents arn't that good but the bottle is special, an example is the Macallan "Woodlands" estate bottling. The whisky is so-so but the fact that Macallan is going to plant a tree and put a plaque with your name on it next to the SPey will be pretty neat and I will wait for a very special occation when I can possibly take my kids or something to see the tree to actually drink it.

Len
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Postby lexvo » Tue Jun 20, 2006 6:50 pm

None of the above. If a whisky is good enough (for me) then I'm willing to pay a higher price. Well, there's a limit of course, but it is higher then euro 116
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