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Flipping Heck

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@RianC
RianC started a discussion

Flipping. Perhaps the dirtiest word that can pass into the ear canal of a whisky connosr?

And for good reason you might say. Let's face it, the idea of buying whisky to store away until the price rises to a pleasingly profitable level seems a dubious practice at best, and a blatantly immoral and heinous act at the other end of the scale. Similarly, buying up rare and old whiskys to add to one's financial portfolio so that they are reduced to basic commodities, rather than appreciated as the bottles of cosmic and/or heavenly treasure that they are, seems utterly lifeless and cynical: A practice to be tutted at, shake one's head at, wag a finger at and so on.

We agree, right?

Well, I've been giving this some thought of late and am perhaps softening my outlook a little. Granted, I'm no millionaire looking to invest in a sure-thing but I'll admit that in the last couple of years I've bought a couple of bottles that I primarily hope to sell on in the future. Not that they were expensive, or that they'll earn me enough to retire on or anything, and I'll be more than happy to drink them should any worthwhile return not materialise; but it's certainly a change in attitude from someone who was once quite unfailing where the buying and consumption of whisky was concerned.

I don't know, I guess it comes down to a bit of a jostle between realism vs romance. The facts are that most money invested in whisky over the last decade or so will have seen profits, some colossal. From a purely financial position it's a 'no-brainer' as they say but from the point of view of a whisky enthusiast it seems, well, sordid.

Now I also know that many, including folk on here, buy whisky with a view to exchanging down the line. I don't think anyone takes umbrage with that. The problem, as we all know, really, is that this investing practice has meant that prices have sky-rocketed and availability and affordability, especially of older whiskys, has hugely reduced. I think this is why it rankles with us. Why we wince when we see old Macallans being auctioned off at the cost of a lavish home, that will no doubt sit in a dark room somewhere gathering dust, never to be opened and enjoyed as was intended (I hope!).

Ultimately I guess I'm thinking it comes down to choice. What would I do if I had more money? We've all done the lottery winning online whisky shop fantasy thing, haven't we? Personally, I'd be stocking up on all the Port Ellen's and oldest whiskys I could get my hands on - yes to taste, but also smug in the knowledge that as each year they sit in the bottle passes their value rises, and sharply!

I don't really know where I'm going with all this other than to perhaps confess my sins to the faithful and pray for forgiveness from my understanding brethren. Any takers?

Some might say whisky has a soul; that it is a living, breathing entity that deserves one's full respect and admiration, and to that end every drop must be savoured, or else what's the point? Still, if knowing what I know allows me to make some canny purchases that will perhaps allow me to reinvest more heavily in the nectar further down the line, who's to say that's such a bad thing?

21 days ago

13 replies

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

To each their own, @RianC.

I know people on Connosr who buy only to drink. And share (can’t leave that out - we have some very generous members).

I know others, some I consider friends, that appreciate good whisky but buy certain bottles as investments. I’m ok with that.

The only time I bought a whisky with the main idea being it would go up in value was when the SWA was suing Glenora about the Glen Breton brand and I thought the bottles would increase in value if they had to change the name. See how that turned out.

That said, some of my bottles have appreciated in value. No way they couldn’t as I buy more than I can drink and I’ve had some for years now. Sometimes you end up buying something and the world decides it’s special. Makes you think twice about opening but for the most part it’s a question of when, not if.

Someone who was instrumental in my getting started bought 9 bottles of Black Bowmore 30 YO in the 90s at $100 a bottle. They were listed on winesearcher about $7000 when he died 10 years ago. He never tasted it. I occasionally think, if I had 9 bottles of it, would I open one? That one bottle could now pay a year of tuition for my child.

I think the whole subject you bring up is very complex if you care to delve into it. Or it can be simple if you don’t. Thanks for bringing it up.

BTW, I rarely buy with the intention to trade, but sometimes my tastes change or I have something someone else wants. I’ll either trade it for something of equal value (at time of purchase) or sell it to them at cost of acquisition. No profits from my friends.

건배!

21 days ago 5Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@RianC as long as whisky market demand is high, there will always be an arbitrage market for high demand whisky collectibles. The only way around this is for whisky to become socially unpopular, as it was 10+ years ago. Will we see that? Maybe, but I doubt that it will be any time soon.

I suggest looking at the bright side of whisk(e)y popularity. There is a much larger total number of whisk(e)y products available now than ever before, and there is a much greater variety of product types available now than ever before. Increased cost is the price we pay for these boons.

21 days ago 2Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound

I intend to drink and share every bottle of whisky (and rum) I own. What others do with their money and their whisky is their business. Is it frustrating that certain whiskies see exponential price increases and scarcity? Of course. But there is no shortage of excellent whisky and scarcity and/or high prices force us to explore new options. Maybe I’d have more contempt for flippers if I genuinely liked drinking something like Macallan, which has gotten downright silly. I’ve liked some Macallans, been indifferent to some, and found others undrinkable due to sulphur taint. My life won’t be any poorer if I never drink another one but I would like to try one of their much-vaunted 18 Year Old Sherry Oak whiskies. At current prices, though, that seems unlikely to happen. C’est la vie!

21 days ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@OdysseusUnbound I hear you. That 18 YO Sherry Oak is quite delicious. I don't think I will ever own one though. If I ever have an open 25 YO, you will be on the receiving end.

I wish I could echo that I intend to drink every bottle I own. I really would like to. But at the rate I'm drinking, even after a record August, it's unlikely I'll get to them.

I hope my children will like whisky even half as much as I like it (and I don't mean the taste), and that they will open and enjoy whatever I leave for them. Many of those bottles (Wiser's Legacy, Last Barrels, Dissertation, FC Heart of Gold, some Amruts and Springbank one-offs, etc..) will be unobtainium.

It would be sad if they gathered dust in some other collector's basement, or if they got mixed with coke. I often wonder what happened to those 8 Black Bowmores that went to distant relatives of the guy I mentioned in the last post... (not to mention his Macallan 25s, CS Mortlach rare malts series, Armagnacs, Cognacs, Irish whiskies, etc..... Man, what a collection!

21 days ago 2Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound

A quick Google search shows that a 2018 bottling of Macallan 18 (where it is available) sells for the equivalent of $330-$350 CAD. Glendronach 18 sells for about $210. In a blind tasting, I wonder how many people would agree that one of these is worth 1.6 times more money than the other....

21 days ago 1Who liked this?

Wierdo replied

I have no objection to a whisky drinker grabbing 2 bottles of something. 1 to drink, 1 to keep. Or buying a bottle with the intention of drinking it but then seeing the price rise and deciding to hold onto it.

But people who don't drink whisky and just buy it as a commodity I have thinly veiled contempt for.

I was on a Lagavulin lover's page on Facebook once. Some guy (who was obviously very well off) posted a picture of all these really old Lagavulins he has 21, 25 year olds even a few 30s. As a fan of Lagavulin my jaw dropped.

'What do they taste like?'

'Dunno never tried them. Don't really like whisky.'

That makes me sad. That whisky being brought by someone who doesn't appreciate it and that myself a person who would very much appreciate it, will never try it.

I just thought 'oh p*** off back to buying paintings'.

19 days ago 4Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

@Wierdo - ' But people who don't drink whisky and just buy it as a commodity I have thinly veiled contempt for. '

Yeah, I think that pretty much sums up where I'm at. Thing is though, can you blame them? It may not be something I'd brag about on whisky forums ( open_mouth ) but as you point out, if it's not whisky it would be art, or property or whatever else is trending well in the pages of the financial times.

There is a little part of me though that would smile wryly if the bubble burst and suddenly all those bottles sharply decreased in value. Schadenfreude, I believe ze Germans call it?! smile Can't see it though . . .

19 days ago 1Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

In relation to the thread, check out this bottle distilled in 1938!

masterofmalt.com/whiskies/the-glenlivet/…

If I had a spare two grand I might well be tempted to buy that. Imagine how sought after such a bottle would be in the run up to 2038 - a whisky made 100 years ago!

19 days ago 1Who liked this?

@TracerBullet
TracerBullet replied

My whisky budget does not always allow me to buy one and keep one, however I try to do that when I am able. I have never purchased any bottle to hold as an investment but I do have a few bottles now that apparently are worth quite a bit more than when I originally purchased them. The intent of my purchasing was to be able to acquire a modest collection that upon my retirement, I could enjoy drinking with friends. (I have always assumed that even with decent retirement planning, a scotch habit may not fit in if the prices keep rising).

That said, I can't say that I might not sell a few bottles that have appreciated to a ridiculous price if it was easier to do so. I'd take the money and buy more scotch though... grin

19 days ago 3Who liked this?

@OdysseusUnbound

@RianC

There is a little part of me though that would smile wryly if the bubble burst and suddenly all those bottles sharply decreased in value. Schadenfreude, I believe ze Germans call it?! Can't see it though

Nein. I don’t see it happening any time soon either. But it wouldn’t bother me, as I plan to drink everything I own. And while the bursting of the whisky bubble might bring some Schadenfreude, the fallout could negatively affect us all. Imagine distilleries closing, and/or releasing naught but immature NASty offerings while they attempt to wait out another “down” cycle.

19 days ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

All the bottles of whisky that all of us bought over the years were distilled, matured, bottled, shipped, stored, shelved, rang up, and bagged by people whose interest in whisky was at least 99% financial. (OK, maybe only 80% financial for some of the head distillers and whatnot.)

If, at the end of that capitalist process, another capitalist comes along and invests in a bottle to resell at auction one day, fine. Why scorn him while we salute everyone else upstream who's profiting from whisky?

19 days ago 2Who liked this?

@PeterG7
PeterG7 replied

I often wonder if an individual bought single malts years ago and had the presence of mind to think I should hold on to these because in the coming years they'll increase in value. I know I didn't. It just so happened that some of my purchases did increase in value only because I never got around and I emphasize never got around to opening them. Case in point. In 2010 I was in the LCBO and there were cases of Snow Phoenix at $89.00. I was going to buy one. However, my wife said that's pretty inexpensive maybe you should get more. So, I bought three. Two remain unopened. At the time I had no clue they would increase in price

19 days ago 2Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

The person that bought 9 bottles of Black Bowmore at $100 apiece, I think, had a feeling they would increase in value. Too bad he never tasted it.

19 days ago 1Who liked this?

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