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Investing in whisky for beginners

Whisky is much-loved for its depth and breadth of captivating flavours but it’s also popular as an investment opportunity. For beginners and seasoned investors alike, the allure of whisky lies in its potential for growth and the thrill of collecting unique bottles.

If you’re looking to invest in whisky, this guide offers plenty of information to help you get started. It delves into why people invest in whisky, outlines some important things to think about before you make your first purchase, and explains some of the key factors that make a bottle of whisky valuable.

5 top tips for investing in whisky

We’re going to dive deeper into things in just a second but if we had to summarise our advice into five top tips, this is what they’d be:  

Research, research, research: We cannot stress this enough; don’t go into buying blind. Look at historical performance data, track market growth and familiarise yourself with whisky indexes and collector’s rankings.

Start small: Set yourself an initial budget for your first purchase. This will allow you to test the waters and get to grips with the buying process.

Buy from trustworthy sources: Find reputable sellers including auction houses, established retailers and known distilleries.

Delve into the details: You want to make sure your money is being well spent so be sure to check the credentials of the whisky and assess the bottle’s condition.

Look after your investment: If a bottle gets broken, that’s your investment literally down the drain, so make sure you store your whisky properly to keep it in optimum condition and give it the best possible chance of increasing in value.

Why invest in whisky?

Investing in whisky is attractive to many people as fundamentally, it is a tangible asset that historically, has shown significant appreciation over time. However, there are other reasons why individuals like to invest in whisky and other benefits to doing so:

Look after your investment: If a bottle gets broken, that’s your investment literally down the drain, so make sure you store your whisky properly to keep it in optimum condition and give it the best possible chance of increasing in value.

Diversification of investments

Whisky investment offers the chance to spread expenditure and risk, as it is different to traditional investments such as stocks, bonds, and property.


While whisky investment is generally a longer-term endeavour, it does offer a degree of liquidity. It’s an asset that can be sold at any point should you want or need to sell it, and there is a global market of collectors and investors who are seeking purchasing opportunities.


Some people get into whisky investing purely because they have a passion for the spirit and find seeking collectable expressions incredibly rewarding. It also gives people the opportunity to sample whisky from around the world, attend tasting sessions, learn from whisky guides, and become part of a like-minded community, all while adding to their investment portfolio.


Whisky can be an heirloom for future generations. As much as whisky can become more valuable over time, some investors like the idea of being able to pass down a rare bottle collection as part of their legacy.

Things to consider before investing in whisky

As with any investment, purchasing whisky for monetary gain comes with some degree of risk. Markets can change, regrettable purchases can occur, and expenses can spiral if not armed with the right information beforehand. That’s why there are some important factors to consider before making your first investment purchase:

Your budget

Before embarking on your whisky investment journey, it’s essential to set a clear budget as this will determine the scale and scope of your investments. Having a well-defined budget will help you make informed investment decisions while safeguarding your financial stability.

Finding a reputable seller

One of the most critical aspects of whisky investment is finding a reputable seller. Ensure you buy from established and trustworthy sources, whether it’s a well-known retailer, an auction house, or a distillery. For example, some of The Glenlivet’s rare whiskies can be bought directly from us. Look for online reviews, ask for recommendations from experienced investors, and verify the seller’s credentials. A trustworthy seller not only ensures the authenticity of your purchase but can also provide valuable insights and guidance.

Additional costs

In addition to the initial cost of purchasing whisky, there are several other expenses to consider. Taxes, storage fees, and insurance premiums can impact your overall investment. Be sure to factor these in when budgeting for your whisky investments. Understanding the financial implications of these expenses will help you make informed choices and plan for the long term.


Knowing how to store whisky properly is important if you want to protect your investment. Before making any purchases, educate yourself on the best way to keep whisky bottles. With an expansive and/or valuable collection, you may even want to consider specialised storage options like a whisky safe or insured warehouse facility.

Invest in whisky by the bottle

When it comes to investing in individual bottles of whisky, there are a range of factors that determine which ones are worth snapping up if you come across them and which expressions are better to sidestep:


The rarity of a whisky bottle plays a significant role in its investment potential. Limited releases, discontinued expressions, unique packaging, and other factors contribute to rarity. The Glenlivet has several limited releases including our 12-year-old Illicit Still single malt scotch which pays tribute to our founder’s illegally distilled whisky.  We also have expressions where a very small number of bottles have been produced; there are only 346 bottles of our 30-year-old scotch from our Cellar Collection. As a beginner, you’ll want to keep an eye out for these distinctive characteristics, as rare bottles tend to appreciate over time. Scarcity is often a key driver of whisky investment success.


The age of a whisky bottle can greatly affect its investment value. Older whiskies are often considered more desirable, as they have had more time to develop complex flavours and characteristics. Look for age statements on labels, which indicate the number of years the whisky has spent maturing in barrels. Our 33-year-old Cellar Collection whisky, for example, has been matured for more than three decades in oak casks. However, remember that age is just one factor to consider alongside other elements like distillery reputation and cask quality.


Established and respected whisky brands often command a higher premium in the market. Well-known distilleries with a history of producing high-quality spirits tend to attract collectors and investors. Brands with a strong reputation can offer more security in your investment, as they are less likely to lose value over time. There are many whisky types around the world but some of the most sought-after and valuable originate from distilleries in Scotland, Ireland, and Japan.


The condition of a whisky bottle can impact its investment value. Check for any damage to the label, packaging, or cork. It’s also essential to evaluate the fill level in the bottle as a low fill level may indicate evaporation or tampering. Collectors and investors generally prefer bottles in pristine condition, as these are more likely to retain or increase in value.

Investment Potential

The investment potential of a whisky bottle is influenced by various factors. Historical performance in the secondary market, trends in the whisky industry, and the reputation of the specific bottle or distillery all play a role. Research and monitor the market to identify bottles that have shown consistent appreciation in value. Keep in mind that the whisky market can be influenced by fads and trends, so diversify your investments for a more balanced portfolio.

Invest in whisky by the cask

Investing in whisky by the cask is a unique and potentially rewarding option for those looking to go beyond individual bottles. Cask investment involves purchasing an entire cask of whisky, which requires a longer-term commitment.

Choosing the right cask

Selecting the right whisky cask is a critical decision. Factors such as the distillery, type of whisky, and cask type can significantly impact your investment’s success. Research the track record of different distilleries and consult with experts to make an informed choice. Assess the quality and potential of the cask to ensure it aligns with your investment goals.

Maturation and monitoring

Whisky casks require careful maturation and monitoring. Understand how ageing affects the whisky’s flavour profile and value. Learn to monitor the cask’s progress and ensure it matures optimally. Patience is key in cask investment, as the returns on your investment may take several years to materialise.

Bottling and selling

The ultimate goal of cask investment is to bottle and sell the whisky. Learn about the process of bottling and how to navigate the legal and logistical aspects of selling casks. Understand the potential returns on your cask investment, factoring in any costs associated with bottling, storage, and sales. Cask investment can be a long-term commitment, but it offers unique opportunities for significant returns.

If you’re thirsty for more whisky knowledge, then check out our guide to the whisky regions of Scotland before making yourself one of our whisky cocktails.