The launch of The Whisky Trading Company (WTC), the first public whisky investment scheme, has received widespread UK press coverage. Investors who can part with the £10,000 minimum investment buy shares in the enterprise, not ownership of any whisky bottles. The fund manager trades whiskies with the hope of paying investors above 15 per cent per annum. This one operates as an Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS), a higher risk form of investment governed under strict rules by HMRC where tax incentives are wrapped into the product.
Companies financing new movies, solar energy, diamonds, and fine wine have all used EIS to raise investment. EIS tax relief comes at 30 per cent of the stake set against an individual’s tax liability (up to £1 million), providing shares are held for three years. The money must be used for its stated purpose within two years of shares being issued. The tax incentives for investors can be lost if companies fail to follow EIS rules. The WTC press release was replete with past performance figures from whisky auctions and leans on founder David Robertson’s credentials with The Dalmore where the former Whyte & MacKay rare whisky director positioned the brand towards investors with a succession of high priced releases. If you are contemplating investing, weigh up the risks and performance forecasts of a whisky EIS against relying on your own knowledge and maintaining full control.
We’ll be watching this one with interest.
Mulberry Bank Auctions’ first 2013 sale delved into the beginnings of a substantial single owner collection of The Macallan. Remarkable G&M bottlings for the Italian market distilled in the 1930s and 40s included a Macallan-Glenlivet 30 Years Old bottling distilled 1939 (£1,600), Macallan- Glenlivet 31 Years Old distilled 1938 (£1,600), Macallan-Glenlivet 32 Years Old distilled 1937 (£1,800), Macallan- Glenlivet 34 Years Old distilled 1942 (£2,000) and Macallan-Glenlivet 33 Years Old distilled 1945 (£2,100). The Macallan 50 Years Old Anniversary Malt made a satisfying £16,000 after fierce competition. Away from The Macallan, realised prices were very strong with Black Bowmore 2nd edition £2,600, Port Ellen 1st release £950-£1,100, Ben Wyvis 1972 £550, Glengoyne 2000 AD £420 and Balvenie Rose 1st edition £380. Some rarer bottles put in an appearance; a Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries half-bottle of Talisker 1940 17 Years Old in its original presentation box made £3,500, a slim Highland Park 1998 Japanese Exclusive 35cl pulled in £240 and a Laphroaig 19 Years Old 190th Anniversary made a respectable £900. From the Independents, there were a sprinkling of Sestante bottles, G&M Connoisseur’s Choice Black Label bottlings (Talisker 1947 for £900, Ardbeg 1969 for £660) and a heavy representation of old SMWS bottlings and which have becoming an increasingly important part of any serious sale. This sale set the bar high for the top grossing sale of the year.
McTear’s had a few Macallan stars of their own in their March sale with The Macallan Jetstream Anniversary Malt 1962 bottled for British Aerospace soaring to £1,200 and a G&M Macallan 1938 amassing £4,000. There were some past glories from the Diageo Special Releases programme with attractive prices in certain cases. Fair enough, Lagavulin 21 Years Old from 2007 made £500 and Brora 32 Years Old from 2011 made £460 but the Talisker 20 Years Old from 2003 went for £100 and the Cragganmore 29 Years Old was only £110. Glenmorangie Cote de Nuits distilled 1975 jumped in value again when the hammer fell at £600.
Concluding this round-up of the Glasgow action, Scotch Whisky Auction’s 23rd auction saw some astonishingly good prices. A new record was set for Ardbeg 1965 at £5,500, well above its previous auction performance. Similar high fliers included Glenury-Royal 50 Years Old £2,550, Port Ellen Maltings 21 Years Old £2,100, Lagavulin 30 Year Old £980, and The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 1 which peaked at £1,750. There is real quality coming to market and an unquenchable thirst from collectors.
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What whisky have you bought to keep?
The Dalmore Spey Dram as I grew up on Speyside where my father worked.
What whisky will you sell or open soon?
Oban Distillers Edition 1980. A great friend and is getting married this summer and as his best man, we’ll be remembering good times when we open it.