Rare Scotch whisky is a better investment than cars or art

RARE Scotch whisky has become the top luxury investment — above coins, watches, classic cars and art, according to a new report.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 5:16 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 5:17 pm
Bonhams whisky expert Martin Green with a bottle of the very rare Macallan-60 year old-1926, that has a label designed by the eminent, internationally acclaimed, British pop artist Sir Peter Blake, which is valued at £500000-£700000 as part of Bonhams Whisky sale on Wednesday March 6.

The Wealth Report 2019 reveals that Scotch now leads the Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index (KFLII), after a 40 per cent surge in value over the 12 months to the end of 2018.

Over the past ten years, values of the top 100 bottles of the world’s most desirable Scotch, have increased by some 582 per cent.

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Whisky, included in the KFLII for the first time, replaces Art as the top performing “investment of passion”, ahead of coins (12 per cent annual growth), while wine and art both enjoyed nine per cent growth in 2018.

Gold – which is not on the list as it is not classed as a “passion investment” – grew by just four per cent in 2018.

Last year was a record for Scotch whisky at auction. Bonhams auctioneers alone set three new world records, including the rare Macallan Valerio Adami-1926 60-Year-Old that sold in Edinburgh in October for £848,750 – or £42,000 per dram.

The following month, a unique bottle of Macallan 1926, hand painted by Irish artist Michael Dillon, was sold at Christie’s in London for a staggering £1.2 million, 
breaking the £1m barrier for the first time.

The incredible rise in values has been partially driven by the Asian market, as sales of Scotch whisky to India, China and Singapore rose by 44 per cent, 35 per cent and 24 per cent respectively according to the Scotch Whisky 

While whisky sales enjoyed unprecedented success, the KFLII shows there were also record-breaking sales among other “passion investments”.

In classic cars, a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO was sold for £36.59m – the most expensive car sold at auction.

The £68.63m sale of David Hockney’s Portrait of An Artist in November was a record for a living artist; and a Marie Antoinette pearl pendant sold by Sotheby’s for £27.45m was the most expensive piece of pearl jewellery sold at auction.

Andrew Shirley, editor of The Wealth Report and the KFLII, said: “The stunning price growth of rare single malt whiskies shows that the appetite for new ‘alternative’ asset classes remains strong among high-net-worth investors.

“However, we are seeing growth soften for some of the other asset classes in KFLII like classic cars that had been performing exceptionally strongly. This is partly down to a slowdown in activity by speculative investors and a return to a genuine collector-driven market. Despite this, the best examples in each asset class are still setting records when they come up for sale.”

Andy Simpson, Co-founder Rare Whisky 101, which compiled The Knight Frank Rare Whisky 100 Index, said: “The market for rare and vintage bottles has witnessed extraordinary growth over the past ten years, both in terms of the volume of whisky being traded and the value of that whisky.”

A Bonhams spokesman said: “2018 was certainly an exceptional year.”