Being in the whisky business for over 20 odd years, I’ve had a number interesting, fascinating, difficult and sometimes, odd questions come over my desk.

But I thought I would share with one I got last week, and it’s a ripper…

“How can a Whisky cost can increase from $600.00 to $8,500.00?”

What a fascinating question!

Over the last 10 years or so, certain whiskies and distilleries, especially single malt whiskies from Scotland, have become highly desirable and hence, highly collectible. In particular malts that were originally distilled prior to the 1980’s, malts from closed distilleries, malts with advanced aged statements and malts that had limited production runs.

To put it into perspective, according to Rare Whisky 101, their icon index of rare and collectible whisky, has risen 450% from 2012 to 2020.

And this has been a global phenomenon, driven mainly by European and Asian collectors. Commensurate with this trend, has been the growth in auction sites specifically catering to this “exotic” whisky market, mainly located in the UK and Hong Kong.

And to give you an idea of how lucrative this current market is, one of Australia’s largest collectors of single malts, recently sold a portion of his/her collection to pay for a multi-million beachside house. Wow!

So, do you have something lurking the back of your cupboard. Maybe an old dusty whisky bottle that that your granny or grandad bequeathed to you?

So how do you go about identifying, if that bottle is either of value or a dud?

I’m In A Rush!

For an immediate answer, just drop me a line with a picture of your rare whisky to

I Want To Do My Own Research

Your first job is to determine if the bottle is it open or not?

If it is, you’ve done your dough.

So What Is It?

If it isn’t, the next bit of detective work is for you to figure out what exactly do you have. Is it a wine, a whisky or some other form of spirit beverage? And what country was it distilled in?

Wines and other beverages do have value, but that’s for another blog.

A Recognisable Name?

Next, does it have a name that you are familiar with?

It’s easy if it does, but if you don’t recognise…now you’re on forensic detective journey

Blend or Malt?

Your next step is then to try and determine if it is a single malt or a blend?

Blends have value but not as much as single malts. And single malts from Scotland are the most desirable with collectors today.

If you don’t recognise the bottle’s brand name, try looking it up, and if that doesn’t work, take a closer look at the label. Do the words malt and scotch appear together on the label? If they do, it’s a good chance it’s a single malt.

Take A Good Hard Look At It!

That’s right, have a real close look. Is the label in good nick, is the level right up the top of the neck or are there signs of leakage?

An importantly, is your bottle in its original outer packaging?

Age & Era…

Next up, you need to determine not only the age of the spirit but also the era that it was bottled in?

Is there a statement of age on the label? But don’t despair if it hasn’t.

As for the era, the best indication is to find out when it was bottled, so, take a close look at the label. Does it look old?

Not sure, there is another way of figuring out what era it came from: Is there a statement as to the volume? Here’s a rough guide to eras…

  • 700ml: post 1990’s to present day
  • 750ml: 1960’s though to the early 1990’s
  • 1 pint 6 fl oz or other imperial volume measurement: Possibly pre 1980’s

So, What Do We Know Now?

Just from this small amount of information, we can make an educated guess as to who made it, what style it is, possibly how old it is and importantly what era it is from.

You never know, it could be from the 1960’s, from a famous distillery like Macallan, it’s in good condition and it’s a 25yo in its original timber case…$A6,700 at auction.

Need Help With A Valuation?

Just drop me a line at