Many of us are looking for ways to invest our money and while high interest bank accounts are certainly a viable option, there are much more fun ways to invest. Some people choose to collect antiques while some people buy shares. I like to keep my investments close to me so that I can enjoy having them around. I thought about investing in vintage bottles of wine, but I don’t know the first thing about it. The steep learning curve of the world of wines seemed daunting to me, so I chose single malt whisky instead. Wine would certainly have been a good alternative, but I love strong, peated single malts and this is the road I travelled down.
I won’t go into the history of single malt whisky, nor will I explain the differences in taste when compared to blended whisky. This article is about money and the joy of owning pieces of history. The world of the single malt is not as diverse as the world of wine, but there are still very many avenues to explore. If you choose to investigate what whisky collecting can offer you then I am sure that you will find it an enjoyable and satisfying endeavor.
Getting into collecting is very easy and you can enjoy yourself while you learn. The high priced single malts are the forebears of many of the single malts that are available today. To find out which ones are for you, all you need to do is purchase a newer bottle and then work back in time. A new bottle can be relatively cheap, but if you opt for the premium version then you can keep it stored away until it becomes an investment. Alternatively, you could go straight for an aged bottle that has some value already. The bottle you have chosen will start to rise in value. If you still need convincing then take a look at some of the whiskies that are available on the market today.
We’ll use my favorite single malt as a rule of thumb guide. There will be variations based upon which brand you end up going with so exploration is the key.
The Talisker description runs thus: “Talisker is the only Single Malt Whisky made on the Isle of Skye, one of the most remote, rugged, yet beautiful landscapes in Scotland. Few whiskies tell the story of their origins better those crafted at this distillery.
Talisker’s smell and taste instantly connect you with the wild and stormy Isle.
Since 1830, Talisker has been celebrated worldwide for its uncompromising flavors. Invitingly briny on the nose, darkly smoky with a peppery finish. The family has now grown to 8 different expressions, each with a unique maritime character.”
The standard bottle of Talisker is sold in many supermarkets in the United Kingdom and it can be bought for around £33 ($51). It’s a good price to start at but the bottle is very common. I tend to use the standard bottle as a tipple bottle. Drinking the odd glass of Talisker keeps me from eyeing up the more premium stock.
As with wine, the older a bottle of whisky gets the more it is worth. Wine prices can reach astronomical figures but whisky can be quite respectful too. The next step up that we’ll focus on for Talisker is the 18 year old bottle. At approximately £70 ($108), the bottle is still quite affordable in price if you’re looking to drink it yourself. You could happily enjoy a few glasses with your friends without worrying about having opened it. The 18 year old bottle would be a nice little treat.
The next bottle that we’ll look at is the 1993 Distiller’s Edition. I would keep this one locked away somewhere safe. It has age and it is a discontinued edition, so what is out there now is all that is out there. This would set you back around £150 ($232). If you had a special occasion then you might decide to open up the 1993 Distiller’s Edition but it would have to be quite special.
The penultimate Talisker I have chosen is the 1994 Manager’s Choice. This bottle is distinctive aesthetically as compared to other bottles of Talisker and the bottle is individually numbered. Any whisky connoisseur would admire this bottle in a collection, and any whisky lover would love to own it. The price is a still reasonable £265 ($411). The bottle will continue to gain worth over the years as it is a real collector’s item.
The final bottle in this list is the Talisker 35 Year Old 2012 Release Single Malt. This whisky is a beautifully presented example; aged in American and European oak casks and distilled in 1977. This Talisker would cost you around £520 ($806), but it is a real investment. Although whisky was made to be tasted, I would keep this one unopened. In time, the 35 Year Old 2012 Release will only rise in value. Thankfully, there are 3cl samplers available for around £35 ($54). If you really wanted to treat yourself, you could buy one bottle to keep, and one bottle to drink. Save it for a very special occasion though.
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(price as of Mar 9, 2016)
There are one-off examples that will cost much more than the bottles featured here and other brands will offer a more diverse landscape for you to explore. The joy of investing in whisky is that while it is pleasurable to own an aged example, you can crack the seal and enjoy the contents if the urge takes you. If you really want to keep the bottles as investments however, whisky is always a solid option. Because many brands allow you to buy directly from their stores, the potential for risky purchases is significantly lower than with other endeavors. I hope that I have sold the idea of investing in whisky to you. If I have, then please enjoy all that it has to offer.