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Issue 22 - Collecting dust

Whisky Magazine Issue 22
May 2002


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Collecting dust

Certain whiskies, distillery names and expressions are highly desirable to collectors – Gavin Smith tries to find out why: what makes collectables collectable?

The popular image of the ‘collector' – of any commodity – is not too far removed from that of the ‘train spotter'. Tick-lists, Pot Noodles, and obsessive-compulsive disorders spring unbidden to mind.

And whisky collectors! Why would anyone want to collect the stuff when they could drink it? Every distiller you speak to insists that he creates a product to be drunk, not to gather dust in a cabinet. Then again, if he happens to be responsible for something like Glenfiddich's recent 1937 release, which sells for around £10,000 per bottle, he is likely to be disappointed.
The fact is that most collectors are also drinkers, and in an ideal world, when price permits, will purchase two bottles of any desirable whisky – one to consume and the other to keep. That way, they know the contents of their own collection intimately.

Some collectors would rather cut off a piece of their anatomy than part with so much as a single miniature, while for others ‘dealing' and speculation are part and parcel of the overall pleasure. Some purchase ‘off the shelf', while others, perhaps those with deeper pockets, scour auction catalogues.

Developing an interesting and potentially appreciating whisky collection need not, however, be a bank-breaker.
The likes of Gordon & MacPhail's Connoisseurs Choice range offers affordable rarities including a 1975 Braes of Glenlivet, and bottlings from defunct distilleries such as the perennially popular Port Ellen. These might serve as a good, his...

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