As whisky continues to grow in popularity across different geographies and cultures, there is increased uncertainty across the market regarding what is worthy of investment, where true value lies, and which whiskies will best age and appreciate.
As such, a collector, whatever their experience, may become overwhelmed by the sheer scale of different offerings – with a myriad of distilleries, brands and wholesalers proclaiming to have ‘the next big thing’ or ‘the perfect investment’.
So, where is the best place to start? What should a collector look for? And which collections hold the most value?
1. Personal Preference
Firstly, despite these external pressures, we believe a collection should always be based around you – a reflection of your taste preference, personal affiliations, and character.
Building a worthy collection is a labour of love, so removing your own taste from the decision-making process is removing yourself from opportunities for connection, the joy of collecting, and the ‘thrill of the chase’.
Just as a blended whisky incorporates elements, techniques, and the stories of a particular bottler – we feel that your collection, if personal and considered, should do the same for you.
Once this personal motivation is established, a collector often looks to begin with the basics, collecting a sample that covers the different varieties of scotch they wish to focus on.
This may be a collection of Highland, Islay, Lowland, and Speyside scotches, or a more adventurous range that looks to capture innovative blends, exciting expressions, and hard-to-find releases. Here, it is often diversity and variety that is the target.
It’s in this pursuit of variety that trends appear the most evident as certain flavour profiles and finishes gain attention across the market – with sherry-led expressions such as The Tops or The Long Marriage becoming very popular amongst collectors in recent years.
Like any type of collection, rarity is often a central factor to any purchase.
Limited releases and exclusive offerings provide both the opportunity to differentiate your collection and to diversify your investment (should this be your core motivation).
Yet, rare bottles, purchased directly from bottlers and distilleries or via exclusive access, offer so much more than simply a ‘stand-out’ factor.
The discovery involved in identifying a bottler, expression, or blend that is truly unique is often where the most joy can be found when curating a collection.
Here, you may look to a bottle like The Unknown – aged for 44 years and part of a limited release of 148 bottles, its components’ precise provenance remain a mystery to this day.
4. The Story
Finally, it’s the stories a collection tells that will truly elevate it from a random assembly of different bottles to a carefully curated selection.
Whether these are stories of a collector’s own discovery or those of the distilleries and bottlers featured, it’s this link between the spirit and the soul that will bring one the most fulfillment from the journey.
For us, this personal connection to both the spirit and its history is truly what matters.
Laid in cask for at least 30 years at the home of Charles Gordon, each of our bottles provides both a uniquely sophisticated flavor profile, as well as a portal into an esteemed, often guarded culture.---
To summarize, for an established collector of rare and luxury whisky, or somebody just getting started, we believe the best collections are those shaped by your own taste, your own discovery, and the story you wish to tell.
With this in mind, let us just say that a bottle from the House of Hazelwood is always a worthy addition.