When people think about investing in whisky, they often think about the finished product. They see the eye-watering prices rare whisky bottles command at auction. That’s no surprise. In recent years, we’ve witnessed whiskies sell for astronomical sums. In February 2020, a bottle of 60-year-old 1926 Macallan sold for a hammer price of US$1 million.
The bottle market relies on investors finding unique or limited edition expressions at a reasonable price. The cask market is different. It’s easier to invest and is more straightforward.
There are three principal ingredients in whisky: water, yeast and barley. But there is something else that you need to make whisky: time.
A cask of whisky lives and breathes. The porous oak allows air in and out of the cask. The interaction gently moves the whisky as it interacts with the wood and matures in flavour.
Whisky is distilled beer. It’s the time that the whisky spends in an oak cask that makes all the difference. The magic comes from the cask.
The cask gives whisky 100% of its colour and 70–80% of its flavour. And the longer a whisky stays in the cask, the more influence the wood will have. The time whisky spends in a cask is crucial. In fact, in Scotland, whisky needs to be in the cask for at least three years. Otherwise, you can’t even call it Scotch.
When you invest in a cask, you buy the whisky while it’s maturing. You don’t just buy one bottle with a label. You get a cask full of whisky while it’s ageing. One cask might yield between 200 and 300 bottles. And, because the cask improves a whisky’s taste over time, the longer it’s in the cask, the more valuable it becomes.
Investing in casks involves less speculation, luck and timing than investing in bottles. It is a straightforward asset that appreciates over time.
Learn more about investing in whisky casks
In our free guide to investing in whisky casks, you'll learn:
- What whisky cask investment is
- Why the scotch export market is promising for investors
- How the cask investment process works
- Why casks of whisky are a good investment for uncertain times
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