As you might have read in our March/April issue this year, whisky is serious business right now. As we learned from the latest edition of estate agent Knight Frank’s invaluable Wealth Report, there are few things better to slip a little pocket money into than the amber spirit. After all, even if your speculation comes to naught, at least you’ll have something lovely to sip on, indulge in, and share out beside the fireplace.
Thanks to its spike in value, whisky has attracted some seriously influential admirers of late. Alibaba founder Jack Ma’s private jet has recently been spotted at Aberdeen airport, and even Jeff Bezos is said to be an avid collector. Sales of Scotch to India, China and Singapore also rose by 44% in the first half of 2018 alone.
However, if you’re tempted to invest your money into a pot of this liquid gold, it is of paramount importance that you do so wisely, and heed the advice of those in the know. With this in mind, we called upon Simon Aron, the owner of Cask Trade — the first real and trustworthy marketplace for trading single malt whisky casks — to give us three good reasons for investing in casks.
You can savour the pleasure…
Out of all the whisky in the world, explains Simon, including blended and single malt, the most treasured is cask-strength. “Because it comes direct from the barrel to the bottle, it has the most authentic taste — it has not been tampered with and not watered down, it’s pure.”
“Owning a cask is every whisky lover’s dream. Once it’s ready to drink you can have it bottled and enjoy it with other whisky enthusiasts, or share it to make very special gifts. You can savour the pleasure of watching your cask mature by requesting a sample each year as it evolves. Owners can also visit their casks and bask in the glory of a warehouse full of wood-filled barrels of liquid gold.”
It really is a great investment…
As we discovered in the Wealth Report, whisky is 2019’s top performing luxury investment. With an increase of 40% on rare bottle values in the last 12 months, it far outstripped the more established alternative assets such as art, wine and cars. It’s similar to buying wine en primeur, you won’t incur any tax if it is bought and sold in bond.
“A typical cask holds between 200 and 800 bottles, so when you buy the entire cask the individual bottle price works out much cheaper — even after you have paid for tax and bottling. So in fact, it saves you money in the long run,” explains Simon.
It’s entirely unique…
“Every single cask is unique. You can fill two identical casks with the same spirit, put them in the same warehouse for the same period of time, and they’ll still turn out amazing — just slightly different. This unpredictability is part of what makes buying whisky by the cask so fascinating.”
Simon’s top tips…
- Choose a cask from a well-known distillery that you already like
- Opt for the taste that you prefer or is commercially significant
- Decide on the budget you would like to invest, casks start from £1,550 but can go up to and beyond £250,000
- Think about the term you would like to invest for, over what period of time.
- Buy a varied portfolio of different ages from different distilleries for a balanced approach with multiple exit points
- Finally, work with someone you trust. Having traded thousands of casks between them, Cask Trade’s team delivers an encyclopaedic knowledge alongside unparalleled whisky trade expertise.
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