A Whisky Market Update
Whisky (yes, and whiskey) is having a moment.
According to the Knight Frank 2020 Luxury Investment Index, the value of the rare whisky market has gone up a whopping 564% over the last decade. In the same way that the world has woken up to the fact that digital art is worth something if someone’s willing to pay for it, whisky (and whiskey) lovers have realized that building a portfolio of old bottles can be no different than investing in biotech or real estate. And as that Frank Knight figure proves, whisky can go toe to toe with any other asset class.
Jack Daniel Old Sour Mash Whiskey, Sold $23,000
The single malt giants like Macallan still drive the top of the whisky market, but in true American style, bourbon enthusiasts are not content to let the old world take all the laurels. In fact, the highest hammer price at a Leland Little Rare Spirits Auction was brought by two exceedingly rare bottles of Jack Daniel(‘s), which sold for $23,000 for the pair. Old and rare tend to be the qualities that determine a fine whisky’s value on the secondary market, and so to put the fine bottles in our current Rare Spirits Auction in the appropriate context, we’ve unearthed a few old and rare facts about whisky to set the tone:
  • The first person to ever use distillation to produce alcohol was likely an Arab chemist named Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan around 800 AD, when he distilled a fermented liquid to purify it and discovered it made an extremely potent alcohol.
  • Kentucky is home to more barrels of aging bourbon than people, and Scotland has about four casks of bourbon for every Scottish citizen.
  • In 2011, the Islay scotch distillery Ardbeg sent a vial of its whisky to the International Space Station to test the effects of gravity, or lack thereof, on the aging process. When compared to a control vial left at the distillery, tasters found significant differences between the two, with the space-aged whisky being more complex.

Ernest Shackleton's whisky
  • In 2010, workers attempting to restore Ernest Shackelton’s hut in the Antarctic discovered three cases of whisky that Shackelton had taken along on the “Nimrod” expedition - the earliest, least impressively named, of his three famous attempts to reach the South Pole. The wooden cases themselves were frozen solid, but the whisky itself stayed liquid even in the frigid -30 Celsius temperature.
  • The Whisky Watch by Louis Moinet
  • In 2017, a company called Wealth Solutions opened what they claim was the oldest bottle of whisky in the world - an Old Vatted Glenlivet 1862 - in order to place tiny drops of the spirit into a limited edition “Whisky Watch” made by Swiss watchmaker Louis Moinet.

  • Rare Spirits
    Friday, October 22nd
    12:00pm (EDT)