It’s seldom that you get the opportunity to purchase a rare Frapin Cuvée 1888 Cognac or a Bowmore 1964 CA. But assuming that you hold such a bottling in your hand, it’s not just the price of 6500 U.S. dollar for a Frapin Cuvée 1888 that makes you face the one question: Drinking or collecting? If you are not a convinced collector, it is difficult to predict how to behave when holding a 1926 Macallan in your hand, looking at the yellowed label and the golden liquid is moving up and down in front of your eyes.
Will I taste the quality? Will I regret opening it? Many questions will rush through your mind. But in the end the drink was made for one particular purpose: enjoyment! My personal enjoyment is obtained by the “popping” of the cork, the aroma in the nose and the complexity in the mouth. For others, the very thought of having a huge collection of rarities and the associated increase in wealth is pure enjoyment.
As opinions often differ at this issue and offer great discussion potential, I had the opportunity to talk about “Spirits: Collecting or drinking?” to the Regensburg whisky expert Peter “Pit” Krause, who told me his very own opinion:
“I understand that fine spirits are very beautiful, decorative and interesting collection material – for many reasons. As a connoisseur it hurts when such fine spirits gather dust on shelves, rather than to be enjoyed – because that’s what they were made for, therein lays their true value. And older spirits usually taste better.
But even as a connoisseur you can unexpectedly become a “drinks collector”: As the exclusive bottles are usually rare, you need to grab one while there is a chance – and rarities get more expensive year by year, so you should buy early because the collecting hobby is booming . If you have a broad range of areas of interest, more bottles than you can enjoy at the moment get inevitably accumulated – and suddenly you have a small collection … but at some point the will be returned to their original use.”
According to a report by welt-online, it is somewhat different in the basement of Schumann’s Bar, Munich. Rare whisky gets hoarded right there as an investment and is seen as a pension plan. In this article, Stefan Gabanyi, employee of Schumann’s and author of a whisky book, recommends the following approach to future spirits investors: buy a total of three bottles: one for collecting, one for drinking and for resale. (Image: tanakawho)
Price trends in the spirits segment
Those who drink spirits only occasionally and are not much interested in the development of drinks, mostly have no specific information about the value of a distillate apart from the store price. But it is undeniable that there is a constant price war and development in the background of retail shelves. For example, Charles Curtis, wine expert at the British auction house Christie’s said: “The whisky market is new and in development. It is now roughly where the wine market was 20 years ago” (Image: ohsoabnormal).
So it is, in my opinion, not very surprising that in the last financial crisis in recent years a trend has developed away from shares and securities to valuables such as jewelry and liquor. Apparently, it urges people to have substantial assets, which can be hold in one’s hand and people have a vague idea of what value they have. However, when deciding to enter the spirits investment business, you should keep in mind that it is important not to run blindly into any store and buy each 20 € bottling and hoard them in the basement. It is important to get spirits, which already have some collector value, i.e. limited stock, closed distillery etc.
The advantage of spirits as an investment is that the value of the remaining bottles increases with every emptied bottle. The result is that you now have a vast market of whisky and spirits trade, which serves only one purpose: No opening, but increase in value. Exactly for this purpose and to give a hand to whisky investors, there are whisky investment firms such as Whisky Talker, and whisky indices such as the World Whisky Index, or the World Whisky Index V2, similar to the DAX or Dow Jones.
What do you say? Are spirits exclusively made for the enjoyment of taste?
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