It's not often that i'll post an "opinion" style article on here, i regularly post my reviews (well tasting notes) and press releases and stories about events or tours but not very often do i talk about actual issues in the whisky scene, well today that changes as I'm going to talk about my feelings over "collecting" and "investing" in whisky.
A few people who know me already know my opinions on this but just to make this clear i'll start with my opinion and then move onto giving some reasons for them. Ok so what do i think?
Collecting - well if you want to collect whisky then do so, having a collection of something is always cool, but do it for the fact that you want to collect it to enjoy looking at, or even tasting, the collection.
Investing - It's alcohol not shares in a company so please don't buy something just as an investment with the deliberate purpose of selling it at a later date.
Saving for a special occasion - of course, i have a few bottles that have been put aside for a special occasion, my sons 18th, a family celebration or even as a reminder of someone no longer with us, saving for a special occasion is more than fine.
Drink it - obviously the sensible option.
Ok so for a bit more detail then, Collecting ... people collect stamps and coins and postcards or fridge magnets so why not whisky! If you want to collect something, to admire it, to enjoy it then go ahead and do so, there's nothing wrong with that at all in fact i totally agree with it. I'm envious of people like Mark Dermul (the Toshan Man) who has an amazing collection of Auchentoshan bottles. I know people who collect as many Laphroaig bottlings as they can, or those who have every Bruichladdich Valinch release and i admire them for doing so, they enjoy the collecting and enjoy having their collection of whisky, that is something that should be celebrated.
Special Occasions - ok this one is pretty self explanatory, if you have a bottle, which doesn't have to be something rare, or exclusive or expensive but that has meaning to you and you want to keep it for a special occasion then why the hell not. My family have always been of the opinion that whisky is for sharing so opening a bottle at a special occasion; a celebration of something good, or of someone's life, is the perfect time to open that bottle that Aunt Jessie got you when you were 18, or that you thought would be a nice dram to share with your best friend, or that you bought the day your daughter was born or that reminds you of the good times in a persons life.
These are the best times to open and simply enjoy your whisky.
Investing - This is where I'm possibly in the minority but i really do not agree with investing in whisky, and i especially dislike investing in whisky for short term gain. A quick nosey over at www.scotchwhiskyauctions.com shows a lot of this short term gain happening with lots of bottles which were released at the Feis Ile 2013 on there for silly money only a matter of days after the event, these bottles clearly having been bought to make the person a quick buck, not to be part of a collection, not to be consumed and enjoyed but simply to cash in on the popularity of these bottles and to take advantage of the fact that some people cannot make it to these events.
For me doing this is nothing but pure and simple greed, the one which really caught my eye was the bottle of Jura Feis Ile 2013 released on 30th May and available to buy at the distillery or online for around £75 and yet the auction bottle sitting, currently, at £130 did not meet the sellers reserve... they have not even had this bottle in their possession for a month and yet are wanting to see somewhere around a 100% profit? but then many of the Feis Ile 2013 bottles are there and are selling for 2 or more times the value paid for them only a month ago.
Ok so that's as much the fault of those buying as it is of those selling, but I still don't agree with it.
Then there's those who buy bottles now to sell in a few years time, those who speculate that it might be worth money, I'm not a fan of this, but if thats what you want to do then by all means do it, but please admire the whisky and if it's not making you money just open it and drink it.
I've seen a lot of "buy it for an investment" recently in a few different places and i really don't like seeing that, especially as a lot of the things i've seen it on will only ever realise the same value or a wee bit more in 10 years time and certainly not the double in value in a year that is being told to people.
Drink It - i remember, unfortuanately not the exact expression, a saying a while back which was "As a nation we didn't spend 500 years getting to the place of having the right product, 100 years perfecting it, around 10, or 20, or 30 years maturing it for it to sit on a shelf". Whisky is, and for me always will be, a social drink, meant to be opened and shared in the company of friends or family; whisky should be an experience that you share with someone not something that should be used to earn a quick buck, or really to sit on a shelf (even if i don't have an issue with that).
As the guys from anCnoc said recently on their blog post "There's no whisky too rare to drink"