More than 100,000 bottles sold

Sales of rare and vintage whisky hit an auction record

£1m Macallan whisky

Dram good deal: the million pound bottle


Whisky lovers cannot get enough of rare editions with more than 100,000 bottles being sold in one year for the first time. 

Both the volume and value of rare Scotch whisky sold at auction increased by record amounts. The value of collectable bottles of Single Malt Scotch whisky sold at auction in the UK rose by 62.7% to £40.7m (2017 £25.06m).

The number of bottles of Single Malt Scotch whisky sold at auction in the UK increased by 28.88% to 107,890 (2017 83,713).

The average per-bottle price rose 26.24% to a new record £377.91, a sharp rise on 2017’s £299.36.The number of bottles sold in the UK for a hammer price of £10,000 or more rose by 191% from 91 in 2017 to 265 in 2018. 

Last year also saw the first £1 million sale of a single bottle, a world record for a 1926 Macallan 60 year old, and a huge increase on 2017’s most expensive bottle which sold for £95,000 

Auctionee Rare Whisky 101’s index, the Apex 1000 Index, which tracks the best performing 1,000 bottles of rare whisky, closed the year up 30.01%. This once again outperformed the Liv-Ex Fine Wine 1000 (10%), FTSE 100 (-12.48%), Brent Crude (-19.5%) and Gold (-2.14%).

Andy Simpson, director and co-founder of Rare Whisky 101 said: “The secondary market for rare whisky continues to outperform our expectations. With the average bottle price increasing by around 15% from the half-year stage to year-end, we saw a rapid acceleration of activity within the last few months of the year.

“In fact more than £15.5m of value was sold in the final quarter of 2018, more than double 2014’s full year performance of £7.64M.

“The value increase, in particular, is due in part to the two record breaking 1926 Macallan bottles selling in December. While these two bottles were among the stand-out items for sale, they were by no means the exception.

“Across the board, we’re seeing an increased number of valuable bottles selling for greater value than ever before resulting in phenomenal growth within the market for over £1,000 bottles.”

Co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, David Robertson said demand for rare and vintage whisky shows no signs of slowing and the fundamentals of investing in the rare whisky market remains strong.

“The UK auction market remains the biggest and most active market worldwide, and there’s nothing to suggest that will change. As consumption continues to increase, driven by connoisseurs, collectors and investors, the stocks of rare whisky will continue to diminish, creating the ideal conditions for escalating hammer prices.”



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