The Whisky Auction Market Is Struggling

Based on a new report by Noble & Co., the market for rare and fine whiskies has started to drop at an alarming rate

The Dalmore 49 Year Old Single Malt Whisky recently sold for $117,000
A rare bright spot in whisky auctions, this 49-Year-Old Single Malt Whisky from The Dalmore recently sold for $117,000.

The Edinburgh-based financial analysts Noble & Co just released its seventh Whisky Intelligence Report, in partnership with Brainnwave. The report surveys the fine and rare whisky auction market, with the most recent analysis concentrating on the performance and trends observed during the first four months of 2024.

“This period has been notably challenging for the secondary market, reflecting broader economic pressures,” the report notes. Auction volumes were down 30% from January to April compared to the previous year, bottles more than £100 fell by 36%, the average price per bottle fell by 8% and “significant declines” were observed in higher price brackets, particularly the £1,000 to £10,000 range.

Was there any good news? The percentage of unsold bottles was relatively steady, and there’s an increased emphasis on buying and selling the more affordable £100 to £1,000 bottles, which accounted for 90.4% of volumes traded. As for brands, Glenfiddich showed the fastest growth in auction sales value (97%) among larger distilleries, while J. & G. Grant – Glenfarclas had the highest growth in auction sales volume (59%). Conversely, The Macallan took a 48.3% dip in value and a slightly larger amount in volume, although it remains the top brand on the auction market by a wide margin.

“There is no sign of any recovery in the auction market yet,” the report concludes, blaming the usual suspects (inflation, interest rates), but also points out there seems to be more bottles available of new releases, diluting their secondary market prices.


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