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The rare whiskies you should collect

Co-founder of The Whisky Exchange, Sukhinder Singh, picks a selection of rare whisky bottles to start off your collection. Just try not to drink them all at once

Whisky is a delicious drink – and potentially a great investment.

The right bottle can escalate many times in value over the years, especially if it came from a limited cask run.

But while you may be a dab hand at drinking whisky, how much do you know about investing in it?

Expert advice always helps: and they don't come more expert than the co-founder of The Whisky Exchange, Sukhinder Singh.

Check out the article below for Mr Singh's suggestions on the bottles that you want in your drinks cabinet.

Caol Ila 1981 

Caol Ila 1981

This is a beautifully-matured Caol Ila, exclusive to The Whisky Exchange. Just one of just 201 bottles charged from a refill American hogshead. (That's a type of barrel, if you're wondering.) 

£600; buy it here

Port Askaig 45 Year Old  

Port Askaig 45 Year Old

A very rare example of Islay whisky at this age. Distilled in 1968, this is a combination of five sherry butts, which were married together for the final year. An exceptionally complex whisky that any Islay fan will savour.

£1,200; buy it here 

Talisker 1978 | 40 Year Old Bodega Series

Talisker 1978 | 40 Year Old Bodega Series

The first entry in the Bodega Series, this 1978-vintage Talisker is a marriage of five sherry butts, filled for about three months with 40-year-old Talisker. It's incredibly rare to see solera casks used to mature Scotch whisky, and even rarer for the ancient casks to have been used to create one of Spain's finest sherries. The result is a whisky that combines the elegance of well-aged Talisker with the fruity complexity of Quo Vadis. An impressive whisky.

£2,750; buy it here

Port Ellen 1979 | 40 Year Old nine Rogue Casks

Port Ellen 1979 | 40 Year Old nine Rogue Casks

A limited-edition single malt from Port Ellen that tells the story of nine casks uncovered from the four centuries old stocks of casks. It's time to go rogue. 

£6,400; buy it here

Mortlach 1954 | 65 Year Old Private Collection

Mortlach 1954 | 65 Year Old Private Collection

Made in 1954 at Mortlach distillery, this Speyside single malt spent more than half a century maturing in a single first-fill sherry puncheon, before being bottled in March 2019 for Gordon & MacPhail's Private Collection.

£9,750; buy it here

Macallan Ruby 

Macallan Ruby

A rich and fruity single malt from The Macallan 1824 series, the palate offers notes of ginger and nutmeg, followed by raisins, orange, sultana and clove.

£399; buy it here

Glen Grant 1953 | 60 Year Old Gordon & Macphail

Glen Grant 1953 | 60 Year Old Gordon & Macphail

A long-aged Glen Grant single malt that has been nestled in sherry casks since 1953. Bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in 2013. 

£2,800; buy it here

Glenallachie 43 Year Old | Sherry Cask Director's Special

Glenallachie 43 Year Old | Sherry Cask Director's Special

A well-aged, very-sherried release from Elixir Distiller's Director's Special range – a 43-year-old single cask from Glenallachie. This was matured in a sherry butt for its whole life. It's an excellent bottling – big, rich and sherried.

£1,500; buy it here

Islay Violets 33 Years Old 

ISLAY VIOLETS 33 YEARS OLD

An elegant whisky from independent bottler Elixir Distillers, Islay Violets has been finished in ex-Cognac casks, which gives it its floral character. Plus the bottle is absolutely gorgeous. 

£399; buy it here

North of Scotland Single Grain Scotch Whisky 

NORTH OF SCOTLAND SINGLE GRAIN SCOTCH WHISKY

This is the first and only official bottling from the North of Scotland Distillery Co, Alloa: a single-grain Scotch whisky aged in bourbon casks for more than 50 years. This is a rare chance to taste long-aged whisky from this lost distillery and experience a drop of history. North of Scotland Distillery started producing whisky in 1957 and closed in 1980.

£950, buy it here

Longmorn 1961, 57 Year Old Private Collection Cask 508, Gordon & MacPhail

One of the oldest Longmorn single malts ever released – need we say more? Well, if you insist. For 57 years, this cask sat in the warehouse, maturing in European oak that previously housed sherry, side-by-side with the same liquid maturing in American oak. Both were discovered by twins Stuart and Richard Urqhuart of Gordon & MacPhail, who were instantly captivated by the two whiskies, created from the same spirit but matured in different casks.

£15,000, buy it here.

Port Ellen 1981, 33 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Only 210 bottles of this 33-year-old Port Ellen were released and were intended for travel retail so are rarely seen elsewhere. It’s smooth and initially sweet before moving into a coastal and spicy character.

£7,000, buy it here

Bowmore 1973, 43 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Limited release and long aged Bowmore…incredibly collectable. This was distilled back in 1973 and bottled in June 2016 after 32 long years of maturation in bourbon hogsheads. The result is a near legendary dram, with many high-scoring reviews across the internet.

£6,500, buy it here.

Littlemill 25 Year Old, Private Cellar Edition & Mini, Lowland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Whisky from closed distilleries are a collectors dream for obvious reasons. Despite Littlemill closing in 1994, owners Loch Lomond have been releasing some of the now-mature stocks every year. This particular release was limited to 1,500 bottles and comes in a wooden box with a miniature, so you can try the whisky before you open the bottle.

£2,250, buy it here

Brora 30 Year Old, 6th Release Bot.2007, Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Having closed in 1983, these old whiskies from Brora are incredibly sought after, and despite plans to re-open the distillery next year, they’re still one for any collector’s list. This particular release offers overt citrus and medicine cabinet notes. 

£2,000, buy it here

Laphroaig 27 Year Old, Bot.2017, Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

It’s often worth investing in limited edition and long-aged releases from the big brands. This 27-year-old, from Laphroaig’s third series of annual releases, offers smoky and fruity with notes of citrus fruit, leather and sea spray.

£445, buy it here.

Dalmore 40 Year Old, Bot.2018, Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Dalmore are known for their incredibly collectible and sought-after long-aged releases. This 2018 release of Dalmore 40 Year Old was initially aged in white oak, ex-bourbon casks before being transferred into 30-year-old oloroso sherry casks. As you might expect from that description, if you were to open this one you’d find the palate rich and full. Notes of coffee, sultanas, dates, gingerbread and maple syrup mingling together before a finish full of blood orange and coconut notes.

£6,750, buy it here

Glenlivet 1981, 36 Year Old Sherry Finish, The Whisky Exchange Exclusive, Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Exclusive single cask bottlings are always very valuable to a collection because they’re limited in number, 702 in this case, and simply cannot be replicated. This hand-picked, single cask 36 year-old is a colossus of long-aged Glenlivet complexity, having spent its final 6 years in a sherry butt. Definitely one to open though - fresh apple, cinder toffee and spice sit amongst a citrus and oak landscape with rich, dark fruit to finish.

£575, buy it here

Bowmore 1972, 45 Year Old Signatory 30th Anniversary, Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Bowmore from the 1970s is a thing of wonder – the closing years of a chapter of whisky history, with the distillery producing hugely tropical drams, rich with fruit. This 1972 vintage is ready to join the pantheon of legendary Bowmores, bottled by Signatory Vintage for its 30th Anniversary. This has all the fruit you'd hope for along with a whack of well-integrated smoke and medicinal peat. A masterpiece.

£4,950, buy it here

For more whisky and fine spirits, see The Whisky Exchange

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