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RW101 on hunt for whisky casks worth £1 million

Whisky valuation, brokerage and consultancy firm Rare Whisky 101 has launched a bespoke brokerage scheme for ‘dormant’ casks that could be worth more than £1 million (US$1.2m) each.

Rare Whisky 101 was launched by Andy Simpson (left) and David Robertson (right) three years ago

RW101 previously brokered the sale of casks from active distilleries such as Ardbeg, Laphroaig, The Macallan, Highland Park, and Springbank, as well as from some mothballed distilleries including Rosebank, with prices ranging from £2,500 per cask to over £500,000.

However, the firm believes there are some ‘dormant’ casks in existence, which – should they come up for sale – could fetch “well over” £1 million each.

As whisky cask investments become increasingly common, RW101 said its new service aims to attract owners of rare whisky casks looking to liquidate their stocks.

Last year, RW101 expressed “worry” over the number of inexperienced investors buying casks filled with new make spirit, stating such investments “might not yield the expected results”.

However, RW101 co-founder and former Macallan master distiller David Robertson predicts that “the market for older casks of high quality liquid from top tier distilleries will continue to go from strength to strength”.

“We’re particularly keen to hear from any cask owners who may have either inherited old casks or acquired and then left them in storage,” said Robertson. “Given the booming global demand for rare whisky, these owners could be sitting on a very tidy profit.”

Robertson also warned cask owners that there is a “finite time” in which to sell their stocks, claiming that RW101 recently examined a 50-year-old cask that had dropped below the legal minimum 40% abv requirement for Scotch whisky to 28%.

“I’d encourage any owners, even if they don’t want to sell, to get their casks re-gauged and sampled,” he added. “Casks can also leak and become overly-woody so cask owners should ensure that their casks are checked annually.”

Scotch whisky volume and value sales at auction reached record levels in 2016, with more than 58,758 bottles totalling £14.2 million sent under the hammer, RW101 reported earlier this year.

Towards the end of last year, the firm unearthed a counterfeit haul of rare Scotch malt whisky, including a fake bottle of Laphroaig 1903.

RW101 was founded by Robertson and investment banker and Whisky Highland founder Andy Simpson in 2014.

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