Whisky’s meteoric rise in popularity has piqued not just taste buds, but investment accounts, too
Be it a 60-year-old bottle of Macallan going for £1.5 million (S$2.82 million) or a complete set of the Hanyu Ichiro Full Card Series achieving a similar figure in US dollars, whisky’s value potential is proven. And at a time when global interest rates have plummeted, interest in alternative investment opportunities has grown. Whisky is looking to many like an attractive and – pardon the pun – liquid option. In 2019, about 162,000 bottles of whisky were traded through auction sites, an increase of 30 per cent from the previous year. These trades totalled a record high of 70.5 million.
Investors in Southeast Asia now have an easier avenue with which to wet their whistle. Rare Cask Holdings is the region’s first digital whisky-based, asset-backed security investment and is now listing on the Singapore-based Hg Exchange. Its portfolio consists of five casks from Diageo’s Casks of Distinction programme, which represents some of the best offerings from the whisky giant’s distilleries. The close links with the producer of the whisky have a direct investment benefit: provenance, and the confidence in that provenance, are the most important factors in determining the value of a whisky.
The distilleries are Mortlach, Caol Ila, Benrinnes, Talisker, and most intriguingly, Port Ellen. The Port Ellen offering is the oldest, having been distilled in 1979; the youngest is from Mortlach, which dates to 1993.
The casks are expected to come of age within the next three to five years, and once they do investors can opt to redeem their securities for cash via sale through an authorised dealer, or to receive the bottle or bottles directly.The investment is being promoted by Primepartners Corporate Finance, one of Singapore’s leading financial intermediaries, and is co-ordinated by Fundnel, Southeast Asia’s largest private investment technology platform.
On the first day of trading at the end of January, all five securities were actively traded at a total value of £700,000 (S$1,315,353). The last traded price on that day ranged from £650 (S$1,221) for the Benrinnes 1992 to £12,000 (S$22,549) for the Port Ellen 1979.