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Upward trajectory of rare whisky likely to continue through 2024

Rare whisky continued on its upward trajectory, a new report from Bordeaux Index has said, with prices around 13% higher than the previous year and strong demand continuing.

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Although there was a similar number of whiskies listed on its trading platform in 2023 to 2022 – unlike in fine wine where volume dropped “materially” – growth had came at a slightly slower pace.

There were particularly strong performances from Scotch including Springbank, Balvenie and Dalmore, while Macallan performed better in cask than in bottles, it said. where a “more nuanced dynamic” was seen, “partly due to prices of new releases somewhat testing market limit”. As a result, some (though not all) Macallan bottlings would represent good value in 2024, with potential for top Macallan bottlings and sets such as Red, Lalique, which “are now trading too cheaply – especially given recent headlines around old Macallan records”.

“We see the trajectory of rare whisky in 2024 most likely as “more of the same” – though higher activity could see upside certainly from the pace of price gains in 2023,” the report continued. It noted a natural resilience at the top end of the market, with the “must-have” dynamic of such rare, high-quality assets resulting in buyers being more resilient to cutting discretionary spending – there was also a a sharpening focus at the higher end of the rare whisky spectrum, with greater “indifference” to novelty bottles such as special cask finishes, branding or no age-statements.

It said the aged Scotch cask space was “especially positive” for Springbank but there was also progress for Macallan and other core Speyside whiskies such as Glendronach.

“This segment remains a very interesting activity for Bordeaux Index, offering compelling investment opportunities, and we certainly expect this to continue to be the case in 2024,” it said. Younger casks were providing “noteworthy but much longer-term investment opportunities”, while there was more “dynamic potential” for older, higher-value casks.

For collectors looking for an alternative investment, the long-term historical returns on rare whisky are around 15-20% compared to wine at only 10%, the report said.

Looking forward, the biggest questions that remains is how much price momentum the market can exhibit (especially with increasing activity), rather than when there might be a reversal of prices, it said.

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