If You’re Gonna Invest in Rare Whisky, These Experts Know Where to Place Your Bets

As earnings go, one Scotch brand rises above all

Rare Whisky 101
Andy Simpson and David Robertson head up a comprehensive valuation site on rare whisky (Rare Whisky 101)

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Politics aside, Brexit’s been great for one particular group of people: Scotch connoisseurs.

As Fortune notes, worries about Brexit have increased the selling prices of single malt Scotches sold at auction by a whopping 163 percent over the past four years, a higher rate of return than the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Brent crude, gold and the stock market performance of Diageo, the world’s largest liquor company.  

That price valuation comes courtesy of indices maintained by Rare Whisky 101, a U.K. site co-founded by Andy Simpson that provides detailed statistical analysis to whisky collectors and investors.

It’s not just socio-economic worries fueling the rare whisky craze: Simpson also credits the “cachet” of Scotch and proliferation of online auction. In 2012, rare Scotch auctions brought in just under three million British pounds; in March 2019 alone, they sold at 5.5 million pounds.

Looking to get in on the action? The Macallan and Highland Park are the top two sellers by volume (note: Rare Whisky 101 co-founder David Robertson is a former master blender at The Macallan). “Macallan makes drinkers go nuts,” Simpson told Fortune. “They have a fantastic back catalogue. There’s always a new release, something from 30 years ago a collector doesn’t have that excites them.” (Recent auctions for the brand have broken into the million-dollar range.)

A few other tips gleaned from Simpson: Japanese whisky is the next Scotch — a trend we’ve been noticing in U.S. spirits auctions — and counterfeit bottles are still an issue. A bigger issue? Overeager drinkers. “After a night out and having one too many, that rare bottle gets opened,” Simpson said.


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