We put our experts on a budget and sent them shopping…
If I Had £100…
Stay away from three or four bottles of volume-produced single malt. Two bottles of Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix at £69.99 would have been a good start. If you can stretch the budget a little for any new single cask release from Ardbeg, at around £110-£125 a bottle these tend to double in value once sold out. This year’s ‘Earl Magnus’ release from Highland Park (Earl Haakon – an 18-year-old) should be another good option providing the retail price hasn’t gone through the roof. There’s also word that Dalmore may be releasing a single cask distillery exclusive
Try and find a limited edition bottle from a good distillery. The 200th anniversary bottle from Jura or the 175th anniversary Glenfarclas are good starting points.
One bottle from Glenfiddich, The Macallan, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Mortlach, Dalmore, Glenmorangie, Springbank, Glenfarclas Highland Park distilleries or a limited release such as the Dalmore Rivers collection.
Ardbeg, Port Ellen, Brora, Highland Park, Springbank – look out for single cask releases, very limited volumes, highly drinkable distilleries. Buy two – drink one and keep one and at least you will be doing your bit to take some supply out of the market; helping to push the price of your remaining bottle upwards!
If I Had £1,000…
If you want to blow the budget on one bottle go for a bottle of Port Ellen first release if you can find one (it originally cost under £100 in 2001 so there’s already a hefty premium on top of the initial cost). Granted, this bottle has gone up a lot recently, but it shows no signs of stopping. If you want to spend this on a couple of fine examples try the new Macallan Albert Watson (Masters of Photography) for around £600 and go for whichever rare vintage is released from Glenfiddich this year for around £400 ish. Both should show good return in a few years. Be quick, though, as these bottles tend not to hang around for long.
I would go for history, preferably from a closed distillery. It means
a longer-term investment but something like a Rosebank, Port Ellen, Brora or St Magdalene from the Old Malt Cask or Provenance range would be excellent.
Multiple bottles of new releases from around £75 to £150 each. You may want to pick up some older releases, but you are buying them at peak. Port Ellen annual releases have shown to be very good investments at this price point.
Have a look at some silent stills; buy across Rosebank, Port Ellen, Brora, Glen Mhor and Glen Albyn, and consider some of the limited releases from Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Macallan, The Dalmore and Highland Park.
If I Had £10,000…
Dalmore Candela would be a safe bet. Released in 2009 with only 77 bottles you can more
than likely still pick one up for near the initial release price of £7,500, leaving you some change for one or two other bottles.
Take a plunge and get the Highland Park 50-year-old because Highland Park has been coming up and is now up there with Bowmore and Springbank. It’s a good investment.
My preference would be to focus on a few higher-end bottles as these will appreciate faster due to the limited availability of the product. Go for the likes of the Gold Bowmore. Here you could also buy old releases that are no longer available from auctions or private collectors.
This gets a bit easier as we reach the rarefied air towards the apex of the malt category. The Dalmore Candela, which is available for £7,500 (77 bottles released), Vintage Macallan from its ‘Fine & Rare’ collection or some iconic cult classics from the past – Macallan Original 50-year-old, or buy a 1946 and a 1948 from Macallan for around £4-£5k each as a pair. It may well also be worth considering a selection of ‘antique bottles’. The team at Gordon & MacPhail had success with a Mortlach 70-year-old last year, has just released a Glenlivet 70-year-old and rumour has it that they have some more very old casks yet to be bottled for release – watch this space…
If I Had £100,000…
The first bottle that springs to mind is Dalmore Trinitas. You could have picked one up for the princely sum of £100,000 last year… if you want the last of the three bottles released you’ll need to find an extra £20,000 to buy it from Harrods for £120,000. In reality, though, if you’re looking to start a collection with this type of money my advice would be to obtain a blended (pardon the pun) portfolio of different single malt bottles from different distilleries.
If you combine new releases with older bottles you could realistically expect to buy 100-200 classic investors’ bottles while also spreading your risk and minimising your exposure to one distillery. You could get some Springbank Local Barley (the 1966s in the wooden boxes sell for more than the 1965s in the card box), some decent Macallan vintages, some older bottles from silent distilleries and a cross section of Rare Malt Selection bottles (these are currently experiencing what’s known as ‘Rare Malt Madness’ with virtually every one of the 85 or so different bottles being sought after).
Bowmore 40-year-old, 55-year-old Macallan and about £12,000 on Ardbeg Double Barrel are all possibilities. Then I’d use some to get bottles from my birth year.
My personal investing method is to buy less but big as I have found this to yield the best bang for your money. Again my preference would be to concentrate on high-end bottles.
I would buy the following:
• Glenfiddich 50yo
• Bowmore 40yo
• G & M Glenlivet 70yo
• Dalmore Eos
• Highland Park 50yo
• Existing older releases from all the ‘premier cru’ distilleries, such as Black Bowmores, Macallan vintages, etc.
Only a very few bottles are available here – The Macallan 60-year-old – they released
some under the Peter Blake label, some by Valerio Adami and both would be worth around £100K today if you can prise them out of a collector or investor’s tight grip! The only other option is from The Dalmore – our recently released 64-year-old Trinitas – one of only three produced. Alternatively The Dalmore 62-year-old should now be worth £75k-plus. Should you be unsuccessful in tracking trophies like these down, then contact the distillery of your choice and ask to create a bespoke, one-of-a-kind expression, where you select the liquid, the packaging and
get a great experience thrown in too!
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