Rare whisk y

Scottish Field - - WHISKY -

Black Bow­more: A truly iconic spe­cial edi­tion series from Bow­more. A bot­tle of first edi­tion Black Bow­more re­cently sold at a McTear's in Glas­gow for £11,450. When it first came out in the 1990s it was priced around £70. These are be­com­ing as rare as hen's teeth.

Port Ellen Spe­cial Re­lease:

Any of the an­nual Di­a­geo Spe­cial Re­lease Port El­lens, they are all ex­cep­tional. Port Ellen bot­tlings are es­pe­cially sought af­ter due to the fact that Port Ellen dis­tillery closed in 1983.

Brora 40 year old:

An ex­ceed­ingly rare bot­tling from an­other dis­tillery that closed in 1983. Only 160 bot­tles of the 40 year old Brora were pro­duced. It was the most ex­pen­sive sin­gle malt whisky that Di­a­geo has ever pro­duced, priced at £6995 per bot­tle.

A Scotch Malt Whisky So­ci­ety first re­lease bot­tling:

Any first re­lease from the Scotch Malt Whisky So­ci­ety. In short, each bot­tle has a num­ber and a num­ber af­ter a dec­i­mal point. The first num­ber rep­re­sents a dis­tillery and the num­ber af­ter the dec­i­mal point rep­re­sents the num­ber of casks the SMWS has pur­chased from that dis­tillery. A bot­tle of the Scotch Malt Whisky So­ci­ety's first ever re­lease, an 8 year old cask strength Glen­far­clas (bot­tle num­ber 1.1) re­cently sold at auc­tion for £1,800. WWW.SCOT­TISH­FIELD.CO.UK Sons Di­a­mond Ju­bilee bot­tling. Re­leased in 2012 to mark the Queen's Di­a­mond Ju­bilee this blend is made up of sin­gle malt and sin­gle grain whiskies from 1952, the year of the Queen's ac­ces­sion to the throne. The £120,000 blend was pre­sented in a di­a­mond-shaped Bac­carat crys­tal de­canter, with sil­ver col­lar set with a half-carat di­a­mond. The de­canter came with a be­spoke cab­i­net made with oak from San­dring­ham, pine from Bal­moral and in­laid with ve­neers from var­i­ous coun­tries of the Com­mon­wealth. It's a very lim­ited edi­tion of only sixty – one to mark each year of the Queen's reign.

The lux­ury mar­ket for whisky is really all about ex­clu­siv­ity and lim­ited edi­tion re­leases. Just like other ‘su­per-pre­mium' lux­ury items, such as watches and sports cars, tra­di­tion and crafts­man­ship are at its heart. The real beauty of lux­ury whisky, and why it can com­mand high prices, is its scarcity and rar­ity. If for ex­am­ple, a spe­cial edi­tion re­lease, like that of the John Walker & Sons Di­a­mond Ju­bilee, is lim­ited to 60 bot­tles, for each year that goes by more bot­tles will be opened and con­sumed, thus adding to the rar­ity as the re­lease nears ex­tinc­tion and its value in­creases.

An emerg­ing global mid­dle and up­per class have cer­tainly played a part in this in­crease in de­mand for lux­ury whisky. Last year ex­ports of whisky in­creased by 4% to more than £4 bil­lion. No­tably, ex­ports of sin­gle malt were up by 12%, and are now worth more than £1 bil­lion for the first time. Whisky con­sumers who have been mov­ing up the so­cial lad­der are def­i­nitely play­ing a role in the pre­mi­u­mi­sa­tion of sin­gle malt. It is likely that they pre­vi­ously en­joyed blended whiskies but now that they have in­creased their so­cial and eco­nomic sta­tus they are reach­ing for bot­tles of sin­gle malt in­stead.

Back in 2002, 47 mil­lion bot­tles of sin­gle malt were ex­ported, worth £268m. By 2016, this had in­creased to 113 mil­lion bot­tles (+143%) with a value of £1.02bn (+281%). Just last year there was a sig­nif­i­cant boost in ex­ports of sin­gle malts to China (up 66% to £12.9m), In­dia (up 31% to £7.2m) and Mex­ico (up 18% to £9.4m). It is in­ter­est­ing to note that of all whisky ex­ports sin­gle malt only makes up 9.6%, in terms of vol­ume. How­ever sin­gle malt ex­ports now ac­count for 26% of the value of whisky ex­ported.

Lux­ury is a very ab­stract con­cept but it is in essence about ex­pe­ri­ence. At the end of the day it is about the emo­tions and feel­ings that a lux­ury prod­uct evokes. The won­der­ful thing about whisky is that it ap­peals to many, which is help­ing to push the price of Scot­land's na­tional drink ever up­wards.

The lux­ury mar­ket for whisky is all about ex­clu­siv­ity and lim­ited edi­tion re­leases

The mid­dle and up­per classes are driv­ing the de­mand for lux­ury whisky.

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