Globally, the interest in luxury Scotch whisky has rocketed over the past decade – and with the opportunity to own such vibrant and exciting provenance and heritage in physical form, it comes as no surprise that the category has drawn the attention of prospective investors.

Naturally, such a surge in interest has fuelled choice at a spectacular scale – it only takes a hint of curiosity combined with an innocent search on the internet using a few choice keywords to unleash a tidal wave of advertising promising dubious claims of returns in cask investment that are, in many cases, too good to be true.

In a landscape that offers so much choice, how can you make an informed decision on where to put your hard-earned cash when it comes to whisky investment?

Pressure to chase bottles, casks, or distilleries on the advice of unscrupulous “experts” rarely leads to financial reward. Articles and guides citing whisky investment are peppered with both good and bad advice – but one tell-tale sign that a claim cannot be trusted is a projected return on investment.

Any budding whisky collector should begin to build a collection based on personal interests

Resale or secondary value cannot be predicted accurately. Demand for a whisky is often determined by several factors out of human control: market demand, availability – even environmental, political, and economic factors – such as cask availability or tax-based tariffs can influence desirability. This is not to say that collecting and investing in Scotch whisky cannot be enjoyable, but managing expectations going in will guard against disappointment and unwise spending.

With this realistic view, any budding whisky collector should begin to build a collection based on personal interests. Are you a sherry-cask connoisseur? Or perhaps have a penchant for the peated? A collection based on interests is always far more rewarding than chasing financial reward – and your own personal passion and knowledge on the chosen whisky will empower your purchasing decisions.

Once a drop of liquid gold has caught your eye, although no security of return can be made, a keen appraisal of provenance and scarcity can help to solidify your decision.

Begin by looking for interesting tales relating to the heritage and inception of the whisky – such as in the instance of Blended at Birth, a 1965 Blended Scotch Whisky, a unique proposition from the Charles Gordon range within the House of Hazelwood inventory.

When exploring the inception of Blended at Birth, it serves us well to understand the methodologies behind the whisky makers of the time: The Gordon Family. The custodians of the House of Hazelwood have always been entrepreneurial and long-sighted in their views. Abiding by the desire to become “masters of their own destiny”, this appetite for growth has led to some of the most innovative decisions that the whisky industry has seen over the past century, culminating in these exceptionally rare and coveted bottlings.

A look back towards the mid-way point of the 20th century is as far as we need to go to see this ambition in action: economic hunger fuelled appetite to produce blends at scale, all in a bid to meet enormous demand born of a post-war world. This motivation spurred unconventional practices, such as the blending of new make spirit to produce the foundations of a readily available mainstream blend that could be dispatched in double quick time.

As they rallied to scale up and fulfil this global surge in demand, an unsuspecting warehouseman received a discreet instruction to save a smattering of this unconventional new make for a decades-long project. As such, he ushered a cask of this new make blend into the back of a dunnage warehouse, closing the door on a spirit that would slumber into the next century.

Over five decades later, Blended at Birth, was unveiled to the world by the House of Hazelwood. Beyond being an exemplary example of marzipan, Dundee cake and tannins, this release would come to be heralded as one of the first, and last remaining examples of Scotch whisky in the world made by blending new make spirit – a process which will never be seen or replicated again, thanks to the enactment of new Scotch Whisky laws in 2009 – a compelling invitation of scarcity for the prospective collector.

Confidence in sizeable purchase is paramount and leaning towards whisky producers with a strong track history – just like the Gordon Family of House of Hazelwood – will bring some peace of mind. Further to Blended at Birth, there are no shortage of unusual and unique expressions with equally as evocative and interesting origins.

Take A Singular Blend, a 1963 Vintage Blended Scotch Whisky, for example. This mid-century blend has been hailed by experts as truly unprecedented in both age and provenance, owing to its grain and malt components hailing from the same distillery – unheard of in today’s whisky landscape and highly unlikely to ever occur again owing to the current commercial whisky landscape. Naturally, such a release is in short supply with just 74 bottles available – blink and it’s gone forever.

A perceived hallmark in quality is also found within the whisky maker’s methodology, and opting for a Scotch that has been made with minimal intervention – that is bottled at a natural cask strength, free from added colour or made without chill filtration – ensures the integrity of the liquid you are investing in is as true to what the distiller intended those decades before.

Lengthy slumbers in casks will also yield the most remarkable of results – such as that of The Cask Trials, a 1968 Single Grain Scotch Whisky, exclusively matured in a single refill sherry butt for over 50 years – resulting in a complexity akin to a character reminiscent of a greatly aged malt. Such a dedicated slumber is seldom seen in whisky making now – and is another example of the ingenuity born of the House of Hazelwood.

Of course, these trademarks of quality are merely the jumping off point for making an informed investment into your whisky collection – and utilising services such as the House of Hazelwood Whisky Concierge which are always on hand to help source and identify your next purchase – and with almost a century in laying down casks – you can be assured you’re in safe hands.

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