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“Up to 500,000 euros per bottle”: whisky, a rising value

2022, another record year for spirits… On 16 November, a bottle of Single Malt The Dalmore “Luminary Nº1 The Rare” fetched £118,750 (€136,000) at the hammer of Sotheby’s in London. A unique 48-year-old bottle, presented in its “work of art” box designed by the architect Kengo Kuma.

Although pension funds have been investing in casks of whiskey since the battle of Waterloo – to help Scottish widows -, for the past few years there has been a real craze for old whiskeys and limited series. Especially when it comes to rare bottles, such as single malts, from distilleries that are now closed. “The most expensive bottle of whiskey exceeded one million, it is the Macallan 1926 Valdepino sold for 1.7 million euros.

We can also mention certain Japanese whiskies, in particular the series from the Karuizawa distillery sold today for €500,000 a bottle, and bought for €25,000 five years earlier”, notes Etienne de la Morsanglière, head of Fine Spirits Auction, site of auction of spirits co-created by La Maison du Whiskey and iDealwine. Prices that make you dizzy, compared to the difficult years of the 1990s – 2010s when stocks were accumulating in Scottish distilleries. “We are in a very advanced market and yet it’s only a start,” adds Etienne de la Morsanglière.

More and more collectors

As the appetite for the beverage grows, enthusiasts now often buy more bottles than they drink. “At Whiskey Lodge, for each new edition, we oscillate between the enthusiast who has been buying for twenty years, having drunk half of his collection, and the financier for whom whiskey becomes a safe haven. There is passion and statutory for some and investment for others”, notes Pierre Tissandier, general manager of the shop specializing in the sale of exceptional spirits and rare alcohols.

And to explain: “Whiskey is a raw material that can be fabulous or totally neutral. There are single malts, produced by hand from malted barley, with a unique aromatic specificity; grain whiskeys , more neutral, wheat-based, produced in industrial quantities; and what are called blends, grain whiskeys aged in oak barrels in which a little single malt is added. It is a pyramidal market with high-volume production at the bottom and much more anecdotal products at the top. A system that naturally lends itself to collection.”

Number one on the market, in terms of volume and prestige, Scotch whiskey is favored by collectors who are also increasingly fond of Japanese beverages. Far behind and still very anecdotal, French whiskey sees its first aficionados. Since the first Breton distillery, opened in 1987, there are now more than 130 across the country. And if you had to choose only one “made in France”? It would be, on the advice of Etienne de la Morsanglière, the magnificent 21-year-old “Eddu Graal” bottle from the Menhirs distillery, the oldest French whisky… at 550 euros today.


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