Value of rare whisky at auction rises by 46% in six months

The value of whisky traded at auction crossed £16 million in the past six months, according to the 2018 half year report by whisky broker and investment analysts Rare Whisky 101, representing a 46% increase on the previous year.

Rare Whisky 101 – David Robertson and Andy Simpson.

Rare Whisky 101’s (RW101) 2018 Half Year Report shows that the value of rare Scotch whisky in bottle sold at auction has exceeded £16 million during a six month period for the very first time, reaching £16,335,635 – a year-on-year increase of 46% compared with the £11,176,000 traded during the same period in 2017.

Only five years ago, during the first half of 2013, the value of Scotch whisky sold at auction was just £2,232,000 for a total of 8,825 bottles sold. Since then, the market has grown 732% in value and 563% in volume. By volume, 49,719 were sold in the first half of the year.

RW101 also noted a “growing gap” between value and volume, reflected in the average per-bottle price, which has risen once gain to a new record of £328.56, up 14.83% on H1 2017’s average price of £286.13.

Based on year to date and projected growth during the second half of the year, RW101 has expects the market to exceed 100,000 bottles for the full year, reaching a value of more than £36 million.


“Scotch whisky as an asset has continued to perform extremely well within a volatile global economy,” said whisky investment analyst and co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, Andy Simpson. “However, while we’re seeing an impressive increase in the number of bottles traded at auction, the increase in value is nothing short of phenomenal.”

The Macallan remains the leading brand on the secondary market, increasing its share of the total amount spent on rare whisky to 34.41%, which is larger than the next nine brands combined at 31.27%. Despite its significant increase in share of value, its share of volume (the number of bottles sold) has remained static at 12.73% (a marginal increase from its share of 12.71% in H1 2017).

“Macallan stablemate, Highland Park from Orkney, has enjoyed an incredible half year with volume share growing from 3.55% to 5.86% at the detriment of Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Bowmore and Bruichladdich,” added Simpson. “Finally, the holy trinity of silent stills (Brora, Port Ellen and Rosebank) continue to experience strong connoisseur, investor and collector demand, despite all three of the distilleries announcing plans to recommence production.

“Looking to the future, it’s difficult to predict demand for today’s premium releases once they reach the secondary market. Given the growing global thirst for premium whisky, sector investment from the large single malt brand owners and the proliferation of new distilleries commencing production, we see a sector in rude health. We are, therefore, confident that the right bottles from the right distilleries will continue to offer a strong investment proposition.”

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