In Depth

Should you be investing in whisky?

Cameron Ewen, whisky ambassador for Scotch at The Balmoral in Edinburgh, shares his top tips for putting your money where your malt is

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If you’re looking for your next investment, could single malts be the answer? We caught up with Cameron Ewen, Whisky Ambassador at Scotch at The Balmoral, to ask a few questions about which whiskies to look out for. 

Is now a good time to invest in whisky?

Whisky has seen unprecedented prices for resale in recent years. The Macallan distillery set a world record last year when they sold a 60-year-old single malt from 1926 for £1.2 million at auction. Many brands are collaborating to create precious, unique bottles made from crystal to increase the value. Peaks and troughs in the industry always make it a little unpredictable when investing. 

Whisky production is on the rise, and not just by companies that are already established. In Scotland we have over 120 distilleries, with this figure likely to exceed 150 in the next five years. Additionally we are seeing producers such as Glenfiddich, Glenlivet and The Macallan undergoing extensive expansions in order to increase their capacity. 

What common mistakes do people make when starting their own collection? 

Many people buy bottles which they perceive to be valuable when they should really buy a whisky they enjoy drinking.nYou have to invest based on a love for whisky and the craft behind it. Once you understand the craft, you understand the value.

The most expensive single malt is not necessarily the best one to invest in. I’d recommend frequenting trusted establishments with a large whisky collection to taste before you buy. Whisky is very personal. It’s also important to understand the flavour profiles from the different whisky regions if you have to make a decision on a purchase without trying.

What are five surefire brands or bottles to purchase when starting a collection?

From an investment perspective, single malts from closed distilleries such as Rosebank or Port Ellen are a good place to start. They are in limited supply – so once they are gone, they are gone. The Macallan, Bowmore and Laphroig are also good brands to watch and invest in.

Should people buy what they like to drink themselves, or is that a bad guide for investment?

Absolutely. Home collectors should buy what they like at a price that they can afford. Whisky is made to be enjoyed, not to sit in a cupboard for years and years to gather dust. I would recommend buying one you’re excited about and opening it on a special occasion. 

For more information about Scotch at The Balmoral, a Rocco Forte Hotel in Edinburgh, click here.

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