Deciding to start your own whisky collection can be a nerve-wracking decision when you are expecting to have to spend your life’s savings and every waking hour checking out auctions to be able to get a few decent bottles. Luckily, this isn’t the case, and whisky collecting can be a fairly easy and enjoyable hobby if you get it right! Unfortunately, there are a fair few myths around about collecting whisky that may put some whisky lovers off. Today we address these misconceptions, and give you the truth about collecting whisky!
Prices Are Only Going to Get Higher
Whisky lovers will have seen in the news tales of the same bottle of whisky returning to auction every so often, and each time being sold for an increasingly astronomical price. This occurred with the Macallan Valerio Adami 1962, which sold for $600,000 in April 2018, then a record-breaking £814,000 in May 2018, before finally breaking its own record by selling for £848,750 in October 2018! While news like this can certainly make it seem like whisky bottles are only going to skyrocket in price, this is not always the case. While many new release bottles tend to have higher prices, after a few rounds at auction they typically see a decrease in price as demand subsides, allowing you to snap up a bargain!
Older Whisky is Better
A belief often held in the world of alcohol auctions is that older is better, and therefore you should focus your funds on purchasing older bottles. However, unlike wine, whisky does not get better with age, so there will be little difference taste-wise between a new bottle and a 20-year-old bottle! While the appeal of the collectability of really old whiskies is certainly there, the desire to collect older bottles is more down to their rarity than the whisky within. Modern whiskies are, for the most part, more consistent and better produced than older whiskies, as many distilleries aim to meet high standards, opting for the highest quality woods for casks and dedicating more time to perfecting the flavours present in each bottle.
It’s Only Worth Buying Expensive Bottles
Some whisky becomes profitable at auction, not because it is an incredibly expensive bottle, but because it is rare or unique. Look out for limited edition releases or something with a unique quirk, such as a themed bottle or a bottle with an intriguing design!
There is also a big difference between collecting and investing in whisky. If you are buying with the sole aim to resell, then you may want to consider the price and potential resale value of each bottle. However, if you want to start a whisky collection for the joy of growing your own collection, then you can take it any direction you wish, without the need for worrying about selecting expensive bottles. For example, instead of focussing your attention on sought-after bottles that will come with a hefty price tag, you could choose to craft a collection of whisky from a specific distillery, region or blend. If you do eventually decide to sell, then a niche collection of themed bottles can do well at auction too!
Whisky Should Be Drunk Rather Than Collected
While yes, whisky is made to be drunk, having to wait to sample a special bottle can also be part of the fun! With hundreds of bottles from the 19th-century and early 20th-century having been sold at auction in more recent years just goes to show that whisky has had a long history of being stashed away as a collectable!
Collecting is Only For Rich People
When starting out with whisky collecting, you will probably know of a few bottles that have almost cult status in the auction world, and it may seem like that is what you should be aiming for. With bottles going for £800,000 this is obviously unattainable for most, but there is no reason to jump straight in with buying pricey bottles. Start off smaller, and as you gain profits from reselling, you can reinvest this money into increasingly pricey bottles until you can afford what you want! There are commonly bottles for under £100 at auction, which will be a great starting point; just remember to read all the details on tax and shipping, so you’re not hit with unexpected costs!
Collectors Bump Up Prices for Whisky Drinkers
While it is undeniable that auctions have had a hand in the pricing of new releases, with distilleries looking to avoid the immediate resale of their bottles at auction for a higher price, the primary reason that whisky prices have spiked is simply down to the recent increase in popularity. Over the past 10-20 years, whisky has seen a sharp increase in demand, and with distilleries needing to age their drink in casks for anywhere between 3 and 50 years, for some there simply isn’t the supply to meet the demand, leading to price increases.
It’s Too Late to Start Collecting
With record-breaking auction prices being achieved by whisky sales seemingly every other month, you’d be forgiven for believing its too late to get into the whisky collecting game. In comparison to ten years ago, more whisky bottles are being auctioned off in a single night than would be sold over the course of an entire year! However, this does also mean that far more bottles are now passing through auctions, allowing you the chance to get your hands on a bottle that has, until now, just been sitting on someone’s shelf! With the rise in popularity for whisky, we are also seeing many new distilleries opening their doors, creating new and unique products to be collected.
If you want to get your whisky collection started, why not check out the range of Scotch and Japanese whisky for sale here at Havana House!