Cheers for Quantitative Easing

It’s not often we report on Whisky prices – especially as my indulgence is rarely more than annually, which is about as often as I seem to meet an old friend who loves the stuff. But if proof were needed that Quantitative Easing has pushed up prices of second hand goods these are pretty blatant examples.

From the Drinks Business:

As well as the Port Ellen, at the same sale a bottle of The Macallan 50 year-old sold for £56,000. Released this March with a retail price of £25,000 a bottle, it quickly found its way to auction and was sold the following month for £32,525 and now has shot up again to over £50,000.

Whisky Auctioneer has set several other records this year, with a bottle of 1967 15 year-old Laphroaig making £61,000 in August and a bottle of Bowmore 1966 ‘Samaroli Bouquet’ making £51,611 in July.

Elsewhere, a bottle of 1943 Glenlivet sold for £43,000 in Glasgow last month and a bottle of Yamazaki 50 year-old broke records in Hong Kong last month.

Having been in the trade I very much doubt that Macallan 50 year old is anything very special. After such a long time in cask it may well have lost character in the end rather than gained it. Of course I cannot be certain, but I’d be very surprised if the purchasers know either. They are much more likely to see it as an asset – available to be resold in due course.

I’m even more convinced when I see a bottle of “15 year-old Laphroaig making £61,000“, when spirits do not actually mature in bottle!

So if the purchaser was interested in the taste he could actually purchase 15 year old Laphroaig for nearer £180.

So if you are personally interested in posh whisky the bottling date at the age is the important bit, but not the age of the bottling.

Wine of course, though equally – if not more – subject to the same financial distortion, is, a completely different matter.



  1. Bruce Gray -

    First time seeing an argument for QE inflating whisky prices. QE certainly has the tendency to inflate asset prices, such as real estate and stocks; so insofar as the portfolios of the idle rich tend to increase in value due to QE, I would imagine their propensity to over pay for posh whisky is likely to increase as well. Cheers!

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