This Liquid Asset Should Never Be Watered Down

William Grant & Sons Distillers, in business for more than 120 years, recently released a limited-edition variety of its Glenfiddich single-malt scotch. The amber whisky has been quietly aging under the Glenfiddich Distillery’s Warehouse 8 in Dufftown, Scotland, for a half-century. At $16,000, it is one of the most expensive bottles of spirits in the world, though rare wine routinely sells for more at auction. Only 500 bottles will be sold of the rare scotch.

#-ad_banner-#The price tag notwithstanding, the newest — or, rather, the oldest — Glenfiddich is exciting collectors, investors and other scotch enthusiasts.

Some are eager to sample the 50-year-old Speyside single malt, which comes from one of the world’s premier brands. Others look at it as a store of value. In some cases — no pun intended — it has paid off.

A Macallan 60-year that sold for $11,250 in 1991 is now worth $38,000. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 7%, better than the S&P 500 has performed in the same period. That’s not a bad run for what amounts to a vanishing asset. Two percent of whisky evaporates from a wooden cask each year.

While some scotch — like some stocks — may rise tremendously in value, some never do. The upside, I suppose, is that you could always just drink the stuff. Which brings me to the most serious risk factor associated with this liquid asset: Storage. This scotch — elegantly presented in hand-blown bottle in a special leather case — should be secreted away in a vault or a wine cellar, not just stuck in the back of the liquor cabinet.