In a record year for the rare whisky market, the leading index for Scotch whisky, the Rare Whisky Apex 1000 Index closed 2015 up 14 per cent, outperforming Wine (Liv-Ex -0.42 per cent), Gold (-10.44 per cent), and many of the world’s leading equity indices.
Volume and value growth
The total value of rare whisky bottles sold at auction in the UK in 2015 hit record levels of £9.56M, exceeding 2014 (£7.64m) by 25 per cent. Over twelve months, 43,458 bottles of single malt Scotch whisky were sold in the UK on the open market, an increase of 9460 bottles and a 28% increase on 2014. As an indication of the speed with which this new asset class has emerged, 2009 saw just 4,072 bottles sold throughout the entire year.
Land of the setting sun?
Early 2015 saw a staggering rise in the values for Japanese whisky, with the Rare Whisky Karuzaiwa Index increasing nearly 75 per cent in just nine months – a rise never witnessed previously by any whisky. Bottles which originally sold for £350 twelve months ago were achieving more than £3,000 on the secondary market. However, the last three months of the year a dip of 6 per cent reflecting a pricing correction which is set to continue into 2016.
Macallan still Number 1
Macallan maintained its dominance as the number one traded distillery on a volume and value basis, accounting for nearly 10 per cent of the market for all bottles sold and 23 per cent of the total value. The next closest distillery from a volume and value perspective is Ardbeg with an 8% share of both volume and value.
The importance of both age and vintage to value has increased over the course of the year. As new releases of aged whisky become increasingly rare, the secondary market highlights the continued significance of an aged statement. The older the age and the earlier the vintage, the better. Even poor quality old aged Scotch is becoming increasingly valuable. Along with old age statements and long lost vintages, silent stills remain very much in the eye of the drinker, collector and investor. The top ten most desirable “investable” distilleries now include seven closed distilleries and just three currently producing distilleries.
Whisky investment analyst and co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, Andy Simpson commented: “The recent growth in the rare whisky market has exceeded all our forecasts. The coming year promises to bring even more supply to the market as new auction houses appear. While the sustainability of these volume increases could be called into question, we know for certain that the true rarities will only become rarer. Should demand remain constant or increase, as is fully expected, Scotch’s credentials as a viable collectable and alternative asset class continue to look particularly robust.”
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