There has been a lot of media coverage recently about the amazing discoveries of previously lost shipwrecks and explorers encampments, and whilst these discoveries and relatively common in the grand scheme it is the nature of the precious treasures recovered by the salvagers excavating these sites which makes them so interesting. No we’re not talking about jewel encrusted precious metals, ancient weapons or even art work; instead we are referring to the precious water of life that is whisky.

Two such special bottles of whisky have recently made an appearance at Christie’s in Edinburgh selling for £4000. They were recovered from the wreck of the SS Politician which ran aground off the coast of the isle of Eriskay off the coast of Scotland in 1941, the story of which has been immortalized in the book and film version of ‘Whisky Galore! (1949)’. So if you feel inspired to invest in some liquid gold here are some tips short of excavating the titanic that will help steer you in the right direction.

  1. As a rule of thumb you should bear in mind that the rarer the whisky then the more valuable it is likely to be, so be picky. If something is being sold in vast volumes from supermarkets now then the chances are that they will still be selling them for years to come meaning a bottle bought today won’t be worth much more in 20 years or so. This being the case look to buy more mature malts bottled at least at 15-18 years of age.
  2. Grab limited bottlings early. Even younger whiskies such as Auchentoshan’s cask strength 11 year old single malt has a limited supply so the longer you wait the rarer it becomes, meaning even more mature malts will be rarer still.
  3. Go with brands that have a reputation for high quality. Brands that have this reputation tend to be popular and so more bottles of it are likely to be drunk, the more bottle that are drunk mean there will be less left and so the remaining bottles will be rarer and more valuable.
  4. Plan ahead, a long way ahead. Whisky has to age in the cask for at least 3 years before it can even be called whisky so if you’re planning on investing in a cask as opposed to a bottle you could be waiting up to 15 years before it is even bottled never mind waiting for that particular bottle to increase in rarity.
  5. For god sake resist temptation to pour a dram. If you’re planning to sell you’re bottle on, no one wants to buy one that has been opened and potentially contaminated. So if you have very little will power, try buying two bottles; one to sample and one to keep.

Like any investment there is always the element of uncertainty, ideally we would be able to gaze into a crystal ball for the answers but alas that remains the stuff of fantasy. However at the very least if you stick to these general guidelines you should avoid financial disaster.

Featured images:
  • License: Image author owned
  • License: Image author owned

I am an enthusiastic blogger and lover of all things whisky. For more whisky related news and blogs follow me on twitter.

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