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Issue 80 - Best buys?

Whisky Magazine Issue 80
June 2009

 

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Best buys?

Ian Buxton looks at the how and why of collecting.

We might, in our more cynical moments, conjugate the verb ‘to collect' thus: I collect, you acquire, he hoards.

The language tells us a lot: my ‘investment' is another man's waste of money; my ‘rare volumes' someone else's old books. Just to confirm the point, while I've clearly got the collecting bug, I find myself looking with some bemusement at collections of whisky.

“What's the point?” I ask myself, “if you can't drink it.” So I set out to ask some collectors what and why they collect, what they get from it and how they do it.

One motivation might simply be investment and, given the state of most of our pension funds these days, a modest speculation in collectable bottles could pay off. For example, the Glenmorangie 1963 vintage bottling is offered today on specialist websites for anything up to £799. Yet, at launch, it had a UK retail price of £59 and initially was a slow seller.

But that was 20 years ago, the single malt market was still developing and the idea of collecting bottles had hardly caught on. £59 seemed a lot to pay for a bottle of whisky (it's roughly the equivalent of £120 today). But, with an annual rate of return of nearly 14 per cent, this would seem to a great investment.

However, it's not that simple.

You have to get someone to pay you £799, your money has been tied up for more than 20 years and if you are ever tempted to open the bottle the investment is gone.

There is still plenty of interest, however.

Keir Sword of Royal ...

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