Thieves steal €600k of rare whisky in Paris

A gang of thieves has made off with over €600,000 of rare malt whisky after smashing their way into a shop in a smart Paris arrondissement.

The robbers broke into the renowned specialist ‘La Maison du Whisky’ shop on Rue d’Anjou in Paris’s upmarket VIII Arrondissement in the early hours of Monday morning (13 November).

Seemingly well-prepared and briefed, after breaking down the metal shutter they went straight to some of the most expensive bottles in the shop, making off with 69 in total worth €673,000 – including one bottle alone worth €195,000 according to Le Parisien, which is thought to have been a Karuizama 1960 ‘The Squirrel’, the rarest Japanese malt in the world and one of only 41 bottles in the world.

It is yet another clear, if rather sad, indicator of the heights to which rare Scotch, Japanese and American whiskies have climbed in recent years with collectors paying quite phenomenal sums for the rarest expressions.

Until now these sorts of break-ins have been more closely associated with fine wines, thieves in Paris having most recently used the famous catacombs to tunnel into a wine cellar in the equally plush VI Arrondissement this summer.

Wineries have also been the target of thieves in the past but the fact is that with whisky prices being what they are at present, the temptation to steal and fake rare malts is becoming stronger than ever.

In the catacomb robbery the thieves made off with around 300 top bottles of wine worth around €250,000. In this instance they took just 69 worth nearly three times as much, indeed one bottle alone nearly matched the value of the 300 bottles taken.

Fewer bottles, worth far more, that are more easily transportable, harder to trace and quickly disposed of (especially if stolen to order in the first place), swallowed up by an eager marketplace; it may very well herald a grim taste of thefts to come.

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