When you hear the word whisky what comes to mind? A cosy armchair beside a roaring fireplace, rain lashing the windowpane above? Or perhaps a mahogany-lined spirit cabinet, filled with amber-hued bottles of all shapes and sizes? What about investment, in the same way you might consider items such as wine and cars an investment?
If you answered that last question in the negative, don’t worry. As a luxury asset, whisky has long flown under the general public’s radar. But not for long. When a rare Macallan single malt whisky gains four times its original value in just ten years, even the most casual investor is bound to take notice. So where to start? Well, to help set you on the right path, here are seven of the best whisky brands to invest in:
Given its global ubiquity, it’s understandable that many enthusiasts and collectors might view this recommendation with an air of suspicion. Initially, anyway. Once they see that the brand has grown 18% in the past year alone, it’s safe to say their opinions will change.
So how has Johnnie Walker achieved such powerful success? Shrewd marketing, which has allowed them to remain relevant to customers for so many years, has played a huge role. And if you are still yet to be convinced of the brand’s value as an investment, you need only become aware of their highly sought-after premium whiskeys, such as the 200th Anniversary Blue Label, The Midnight Blend, and the Scotch King George V. Not only are these releases rare, they contain ingredients which date back to the opening of the distillery.
Few things have a bigger influence on the value of an asset than pedigree. And when it comes to pedigree, few whisky brands can match Balvenie. A bold claim, yes, but one that stands up with the help of a brief history lesson. The Balvenie distillery was opened in 1892 in Dufftown, by William Grant, the same William Grant who opened the Glenfiddich distillery just five years earlier, and the same William Grant who had previously worked at the Mortlach distillery.
Over the years, Balvenie has not only become one of the largest and most popular distilleries, but it has won countless global awards, something that is music to the ears of any investor.
But perhaps the greatest feather in Balvenie’s cap is the long-standing employment of David Stewart, the master blender who pioneered the process of wood finishing, which to anyone with a refined palate for whisky, is a major green flag.
With any good investment, there’s always an element of forward-thinking on the part of the investor. The same goes for the brand or asset the investor is looking to engage with. Port Ellen, which was founded on the Scottish island of Inlay in 1825, was forward-thinking from the start when it became the first distillery to trade with North America in 1848.
Port Ellen closed in 1929, only to be reopened in 1966 and then closed a second time in 1983. Those 17 years are what the distillery has built its modern reputation upon, as there is a rare release for each year, released from 2001 to 2017. Getting your hands on a bottle from each year is as tough a task as any in the whisky world, one that is properly reflected in the collection’s value.
When it comes to luxury assets, is there a better or more crucial pairing than time and prestige? If you’re talking about Macallan, which was founded in Speyside in 1824 and one of the first distilleries to acquire a licence, then the answer is a resounding no.
Over the years, this distillery’s unique techniques of production, paired with its reliance on the Scottish Highlands for most of its ingredients, has meant it has developed an aptitude for both innovation and consistency, which in turn has meant it is always a brand at the forefront of the minds of investors.