Whisky Focus - Whisky Sold At Auction In UK Exceeds £25 Million In A Year

Whisky Sold At Auction In UK Exceeds £25 Million In A Year

12th February 2018
Whisky sold at auction in the UK exceeded £25 million over the past year as global demand for rare whisky continues to soar.

Andy Simpson and David Robertson from Rare Whisky 101.

Rare Whisky 101, the whisky analyst, broker and investment company has revealed that whisky sold at auction here in the UK in 2017 has exceeded £25M in a single year for the first time as global demand for liquid gold soars.

The figures which were published today are part of Rare Whisky 101's 2017 annual report, they show both the volume and value of rare Scotch whisky sold at auction increased by record amounts over the past year. The £ value of collectable bottles of Single Malt Scotch whisky sold at auction in the UK rose by a staggering 76.33% to a record £25.06m (2016 £14.21m). The number of bottles of Single Malt Scotch whisky sold at auction in the UK increased by 42.47% to 83,713 (2016 58,758).

Total volume and value of rare whisky sold at UK auction in 2017.

The most expensive bottle to sell at auction in the UK was a bottle of 62 year old Dalmore (one of 12 originally released) for £95,000.

Most expensive bottles of scotch sold in 2017 per distillery.

RW101’s leading index for rare whisky, the Apex 1000 Index, which tracks the best performing 1000 bottles of rare whisky, closed the year up 27.51%, once again outperforming the Liv-Ex Fine Wine 100 (5.28%), FTSE 100 (7.63%), Brent Crude (17.78%) and Gold (13.59%).

December alone saw 8,848 bottles of Scotch sold at auction in the UK, a record month and a large part of the 25,123 bottles sold through the final quarter of 2017. Just four years ago in 2013, a total of 20,211 bottles were sold throughout the full year. From a value perspective, December saw £3.148m sold, slightly ahead of 2012’s full year sales value of £2.911m.

At the end of 2016, ten distilleries had seen a single bottle sell at auction in the UK for more than £10,000. One year on and that number has grown to fourteen.

Commenting on the global thirst for liquid gold, co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, David Robertson said:"We are experiencing increasing demand from almost all parts of the globe. South East Asia remains a key factor for the market, but is by no means the exclusive driver. Demand from the domestic market, central Europe and further afield is higher than we’ve ever seen.

"From a rare whisky perspective, approaching on the horizon are the dynamic economies and the burgeoning middle classes of mainland China and India; neither have got to the starting blocks yet, let alone begun to try and win the rare whisky acquisition race. When, and indeed, if they do, we’re expecting demand to hit levels unlike anything we’ve ever seen."

On the rare whisky auction market’s future prospects, Andy Simpson, director and co-founder of Rare Whisky 101 said: "As a category, Scotch is appealing to more and more buyers, and the pinnacle product, single malt, is becoming ever more popular with connoisseurs, collectors and investors. Older spirit is still very challenging to come by in the cask and is commanding ever higher prices. We don’t see that changing.

"In certain parts of the world, collecting and investing is still very much in its infancy, but wealthy status buyers are targeting high value bottles and consuming them as they were always intended. This is, in turn pushing prices north, with rarities increasing in price with almost every single subsequent sale.

"The growing importance, almost dominance, of the UK’s auction market, which is the largest in the world, will continue to be underpinned by the rapidly increasing number of rare whisky retailers running auctions in parallel to their traditional retail business. The rare-whisky acquisition landscape has changed forever as the consumer, rather than the retailer, now decides what price they will pay for a bottle of rare and collectable whisky.

"We’ve talked about rare whisky being in an almost perfect storm of diminishing stocks (through consumption) and skyrocketing demand. That situation looks like continuing as the bulls remain in control of the market."

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