In 2021, £39,000 was paid for a bottle of whisky at Bonhams auction house. It was the last of a batch of 50 bottles that the Glenrothes Distillery had carefully matured.

However, that price is not even close to the highest price for a bottle of whisky. That honour goes to The Macallan 1926 with a hand-painted design by Michael Dillon. The price it fetched in 2019? A cool £1.5m.

It’s perhaps no surprise then that whisky investment has gained tremendous interest because of its excellent return on investment, exemption from capital gains, and the chance to try some incredible whisky.

Typically, the ROI for rare whisky bottles is between 8% and 10%. However, secondary markets have seen strong growth, with auctions recording a 40% rise over 2018-2019.

But as with any investment market there are pitfalls, too. In order to help its clients navigate this relatively fledgling investment market, Oeno Group has crafted a class-leading whisky investment business model.

The model gives its clients superior investment guidance, opportunities that aren’t on the ‘normal’ market, and an exit strategy for the advantageous release of the investment.

Whisky sales growth

Andy Simpson and David Robertson (retired master distiller of The Macallan) set up the largest database in the world of secondary market and rare whisky auction prices.

When the pair started tracking the secondary markets in 2008, they recorded 12,000 bottles. However, by 2020 there were more than 700,000 sales recorded, showing the significant growth – and opportunities –
in the whisky investment market.

Whisky investment comes in two physical forms, bottles and casks, and both have their own distinct advantages:

Bottled whisky

Bottles from blue chip distilleries, limited editions, initial releases from new distilleries, or those with great critical reviews give the best chance of a good return. Investment in bottles from shuttered or ‘ghost’ distilleries
do well on the secondary market and gives
the collector a part of whisky history.

Oeno even offers clients storage so their bottles can be kept in the best conditions.

Cask whisky

Casks can offer excellent ROI. Younger casks provide greater returns potential and are priced for easier purchase, making them an excellent long-term investment strategy. Older Scotch casks are highly sought after by those with larger budgets.

The downside of cask investment is that purchasing casks is not straightforward. However, Oeno Fine & Rare uses its insider network to source investible casks.

Bottles are a more affordable investment compared to casks and easier to store. However, casks tend to offer better returns. 

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