Spirits Club O Collection 8 July 2020

Top collectable Scotch whiskies

Investing in whisky should be as much about enjoyment as it is about making a profit. Colin Hampden-White and Lora Hemy offer up a selection that ticks both boxes
Introduction and recommendations by
Colin Hampden-White

At Club Oenologique, we are not concerned only with expensive whisky; rather, our focus is excellence. The one rule I put forward when asked for advice on investing in whisky is to make sure you will like what you buy. That way, if it ends up not providing the investment you had hoped for, at least you get to drink something fantastic.

For this tasting, we assembled whiskies at all price ranges – from well under £100 to well over £25,000 – and they have two things in common: they are investable and delicious.

When we taste whiskies, we first do it blind. We don’t know the value, let alone what the name is or even which style it might be. After the initial tasting, we select whiskies we consider exemplary and worth recommending. Then we taste them again, with typicity in mind. The price never comes into it. If a whisky is under £100 but delicious, in it goes. Likewise, if a £25,000 whisky is not fabulous, it won’t make the cut. Tasting at this level can be subjective, and we try to give you approachable, consistent tasting notes to make it easier to determine whether you will enjoy the whisky.

It’s worth considering that a bottle under £100 might yield the same percentage return as one costing a great deal more, but the actual profit returned will be much lower. In a way, the whiskies we have listed in the lower price bracket are particularly good value to drink, and one wouldn’t feel guilty doing so. I will also say you should never feel guilty about drinking any whisky as long as you enjoy it.

We have here grand old drams such as the Mr George Centenary Edition 62-year-old Glen Grant, displaying all the characteristics on the palate of a long-aged spirit. We particularly liked the pair of 40-year-olds from The Dalmore and Glenfiddich, both complex and still so fruity. For those who like smoky drams, the Port Askaig is a fabulous Islay whisky giving a perfect balance of smoke, fruit and long-aged flavours. Finally, the 22-year-old Glen Elgin from That Boutique-y Whisky Company was a standout, and especially good value. It has great fruit flavours, a hint of good age, and is incredibly versatile. I would be as happy drinking it as an aperitif as I would sipping it by the fire with a cigar.

With such an embarrassment of riches in this selection, you might struggle to settle on just one whisky of which to buy a couple of bottles in the classic investor’s fashion: one to drink and one to sell. Maybe, instead, buy one each of two different whiskies, with an eye towards drinking at least one.

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