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Friday, 10 April, 2020
Whisky on lockdown…
So, we’re all being asked to stay at home. And, like thousands of others, you may have started to ‘attack’ all those jobs that, in normal life, you never get round to. Tidying the junk drawer where you keep all the bit and bobs, getting into the loft to have a good sort-out or perhaps sorting through the cupboards. It is here that you might just uncover a bottle of two of whisky – maybe it was a works Christmas gift or perhaps you got left a bottle or two from an old Uncle or Aunt and it’s languishing in the back of cupboard because - quite frankly - you don’t like the stuff.
Well it could just be that this has been slowly growing in value over the years. The good news here is that whisky doesn’t need any special storage. Take wine for example – most of this is made to be ready to open drink and drink immediately, so it’s only the better wines that are worth ‘laying down’. If you don’t keep it in a cellared condition at regulated temperature then it won’t age well and will probably be worth less than when it was bought - if it is drinkable at all. Temperamental stuff! Whisky, however, is different. It stays the same whether cellared or kept in the garage which gets very hot in the summer and freezing cold in the winter (which would ruin any wine). This makes it almost a type of ‘time capsule’ - as long as it’s out of direct sunlight it never improves in the bottle, but equally it never deteriorates. So, it remains as the it was the day it was bottled and just how the distiller intended it to be.
All this makes whisky very collectable. Add the fact that every year there’s probably a little less of each distillery’s vintage as a bottle gets opened and enjoyed here and there and, as the rules of supply and demand dictate, the price naturally increases over time. This was brought into sharp focus a few years back when Cuttlestones auctioned of a whisky collection of mainly ordinary, shop-bought whiskies. Sitting within this collection was a rather unassuming bottle of 1950s-era Highland Park. It generated a clamour of interest - mainly among online bidders - and the hammer fell for over £2,000!
Even more surprising may be the eye-watering prices bottles can fetch at auction these days. Recently a bottle of Balvenie sold for over £5,000; a single bottle of Macallan 50-year old anniversary malt achieved £20,000 - and the world record? That belongs to a bottle of 1926 Macallan - one of 40 bottles to come from cask 263 – and saw the hammer come down at a truly incredible £1.5m back in 2019.
So, if you do happen to stumble across a bottle or two of old whisky before you think “Let’s try this old bottle of Macallan I’ve just found at the back of the cupboard and see if it’s any good whilst we can’t leave the house…” send us a few photos via firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp: 07949 603872 and discover what it could be worth!