I am not a real collector, but what I find important when buying bottles for my stock is to buy a whisky that I appreciated very much.
When I buy a bottle of whisky, the quality price ratio in an important aspect. I enjoyed Ardbeg very much, but the prices are so high, that I prefer to drink and buy (stock) bottles of alternative distilleries such as Ardmore.
In addition, the collector factors might be linked to your financial ressources (e.g., I would not start a Bowmore collection if you have £500). For me, an additional aspect is the history of the distillery. I would be more tempted by a distillery with a history than a recent industrial distillery (with some exception). For instance, collecting Benromach could be interesting, since it would allow to compare the products of a same distillery using two different distillery "equipments".
I am buying the occasional bottle which are rare or that doesn't turn up on the market to often. Not really to collect them but to save them for a special occasion or to drink them a few years later when I can really appreciate it.
I am a collector of more than 15 years and, by collector, I mean that as someone who does not open bottles in the collection, but store them purely to be resold later as an investment.
I have studied collecting for investment and now have quite some experience and knowledge in this field.
As people have already mentioned, there are no clear-cut rules or guidelines to collecting for investment, it really is a fickle area. One which can depend upon distillery name, reputation and even fashion.
Some distilleries are sought after, no matter what they produce. Others are the opposite.
Then we have the issue of closed distilleries which cause people to speculate ........
Add to this the rarity value of so-called limited edditions, then you have a complicated equation as the answer to your dilemma.
Just to throw a further spanner into the works, OBs are generally more collectible than IBs, even though IBs are often more limited bottlings and also excellent to drink.
Therefore, in conclusion, I think you must agree that this is a complicated area and one with no clear-cut answer in such a poll.
Once that concern has been met, the next criteria is "do I already own one and do I want another?" followed closely by the "Oh my God, that's an extinct/closed/mothballed distillery! I've gotta have it!"
Of course at that point we also run into the "Damn, I don't have that much on me and promised not to use my credit card for whisky!"
If I can find and purchase what I consider a collectable bottle, generally a closed/mothballed distillery, then I will put it in my "not to be opened" section. I'm not as tuned in as Malt Teaser is to the market conditions and can't really afford to be too choosy due to severly limited availability over here. If I don't grab it, the next person will.
At present I am more of a "collect to drink" as opposed to a "collect to invest" whisky maven. At some point, I'd like to get into collection of just one distilleries' offerings, but for now I'm still sampling and enjoying what I purchase.
Of course the question of collecting is weighted against my own desire to sample as many fine expressions of single malts, and so inevitably I have a number of good quality bottlings open and I have the good fortune of being within striking distance of a well supplied country pub.
Going forward, i will always look to pick up my favorites, brora, rosebank, port ellen and sample as many quality whiskies as they become available. I hope to have made some sound investments but also some quality supplies as a historical record, and as a treat for special occasions. I will continue to educate myself to the world of Malt Whisky and look to share my knowledge and search for the "perfect dram".
Recently I bought a few bottles Talisker 175th Editions just to have a little stockpile in my collection. I love this expression-- it's my favortie Talisker. It is just about depleted in my State (WA/USA), so at least I have a few bottles to look forward to in the future.
My area does not have a great selection (good, not great). Thank goodness, or I would need a bigger cupboard!
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