Despite the turbulent economic conditions 2019 and 2020 saw significant records set for bottle sales at auction.
In 2019 we saw a Macallan 1926 60-year-old Scotch whisky set a world record for most expensive bottle sold at auction when it went for £1.5 million (US$1.9m).
In 2020, a bottle of Yamazaki 55 Years sold for HK$6.2 million (£605,244), while a Hanyu Ichiro’s Full Card Series sold for HK$11.9 million (£1.1m), setting new world records for Japanese whisky.
However, in 2021, the cask market has been the one setting records. In August, Bonhams sold a cask of Macallan-1991 for a record-setting HK$4,464,000 (US$572,000).
Then in October, a cask sold by VCL Vintners smashed that record by selling for $2.3million during a digital auction.
The rise in popularity of the cask market over 2020/2021 can be put down to several factors. Firstly, many of the most popular casks are sold by auction houses in digital auctions, where they can be bought without leaving home.
Secondly, whisky bought in casks continues to appreciate in value as it ages.
Where the Macallan-1991 mentioned earlier sold for US$572,000 in August 2021, other casks which were bought at auction around the same time are now worth three to four times more.
Finally, there is only one chance to buy such a cask before it is bottled or vatted into larger batches unless another similar product becomes available at auction again, which is an extremely rare occurrence.
The obvious material benefits of investing in cask whisky have led to massively increased interest by investors. The solidity and consistency of the rare whisky market, combined with an excellent return on investment available for aged whiskies, has seen investors turn to the rare whisky market as a safe haven during a less stable economy.