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Whisky whets investor thirst for ‘neat’ returns

on 05/06/12 at 11:40 am


Single malt Scotch whisky, the centuries old Scottish liquor, has emerged as an attractive investment over the last four years, analysts and industry experts say, with high demand for rare luxury bottles driving record-high auction prices.

The recent opening of a lavish, Manhattan-based whisky club, and the $460,000 world auction record sale of the Macallan ‘Cire Perdue’ in 2010 are just a few signs of the trending single malt market.

Bonhams hosted its first U.S. whisky auction in 2008, and has since sold tens of thousands of bottles domestically. Whisky Highland is a Scottish company that independently tracks the UK auction values of thousands of whiskies. They provide detailed valuations of individual bottles and their sales, as well as statistical analysis of auction results.

Whisky Highland’s figures suggest that a 2008 investment in one of the top ten performing whiskies it tracks would have achieved a gain of more than 400 percent if sold at auction in late 2011. A four-year investment in one of the top 100 bottles would have returned an average 245 percent profit, and an investment in one of the top 500 bottles would have returned an average 126 percent profit. In comparison, according to gold futures settlement prices at COMEX, gold rose 82.7 percent between Q1 2008 and Q4 2011.