The Balvenie declines as rare whisky sales soar

1st September, 2015 by Amy Hopkins

The number of rare Scotch whisky bottles sold at UK auctions has once again hit a record high, however The Balvenie has declined in favour among investors.


The Balvenie has fallen 10 places on RW101’s Investors’ Index

According to new figures released by indexing, brokerage and consultancy firm Rare Whisky 101 (RW101), in the first six months of 2015, 20,638 bottles of single malt Scotch whisky sold in the UK on the open market – an increase of 35% compared to the same period last year.

Meanwhile the value of collectible bottles soared 33.8% to £4.604 million.

RW101 data shows that the “booming” secondary market for rare Scotch contrasts with the fortunes of the primary market, which has seen exports continue to decline.

“Demand for rare whisky and the supply of bottles at auction are both accelerating at an extraordinary rate, and this is driving up values,” said Andy Simpson, whisky investment analyst and co-founder of RW101.

“The dearth of truly collectable releases over recent years has only fuelled demand for older and discontinued past releases where quality and rarity are powerful motivations for purchase.

“For many in the broader Scotch industry, export and sales figures appear challenging. However, the secondary market for rarities shows little of this stress. We view this as a clear future trend, with the value of scarcity increasing demand from connoisseurs, collectors and investors.”

Among the top performing bottles of investment grade Scotch, values increased 8.93% compared to the first six months of 2014. In total, the value of these rare bottles has increased 506.24% between 2008 and the end of June 2015.

The Balvenie tumbles

In RW101’s Investors’ Index, while Brora and The Dalmore have retained their number one and number two positions respectively, the value of The Balvenie has tumbled, causing the brand to drop from third position to 13th.

The biggest risers in the Investors’ Index include Bowmore, up 13 places from 18 to five, and Ardbeg, up 10 places from 19 to nine.

RW101 also notes that while the values of collectable and investible Scotch whisky witnessed impressive gains in the first half of this year, their performance “pales in comparison” to some Japanese brands.

In particular, the value of Karuizawa increased by more than 66% at the half year point, outperforming any other Scotch whisky brand.

This growth is typified by the fact that a bottle of Karuizawa 1960 last week broke the world record as the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky. Meanwhile auction house Zachys recently praised a “booming” market for Japanese whisky and Scotch in Hong Kong for a huge spike in its H1 2015 sales.

Earlier this year, RW101 reported that the amount of investable Scotch whisky sold at auction reaching a record high in 2014, however sales of The Macallan plummeted on the secondary market.

It seems the brand managed to claw back growth in the first half of this year, moving up one space to sixth on the Investors’ Index.

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