Andy Simpson

Monthly Whisky Market Watch by Andy Simpson – November 12, 2018

Monthly Rare Whisky Report: October 2018.

  • Volume of bottles sold: 10867
  • % Change on October 2017: +45.57%
  • % Change on Previous Month: +30.16%
  • Total volume Forecast for current year: 107,921 bottles
  • Value of bottles sold: £5,418,466
  • % Change on October 2017: +118.13%
  • % Change on Previous Month: +73.27%
  • Average value of bottles sold (current month): £498.62
  • Total value forecast for current year: £39,272,448

Benchmark Index Performance:

  • Apex 1000: +6.36%
  • Negative 1000: -1.60%
  • Icon 100 (Scotch): +2.92%
  • Icon 100 (Japanese): +4.35%

All Indices Ranked by Performance against September 2018

All Indices Ranked by Performance against October 2017


What a month October turned out to be… With many iconic bottles smashing previous record values and the sale of the 1926 Macallan Adami fetching a staggering £848,000 (£700,000 without auction commission), October has cemented itself as being the biggest single month ever, by both volume and value, for whisky sales at auction in the UK.

From a volume perspective, we saw an astonishing 10,867 bottles sold, over 30% up on the previous months results. Putting that into perspective, the WHOLE of 2013 saw just over 20,000 bottles sold.

As expected, with an increase in volume of sales, there is an increase in the overall value of sales too. Achieving just shy of £5.5m, the secondary market has experienced unprecedented growth by 73.72% against September 2018 and a whopping 118.13% against October 2017 (clearly the 1926 ‘big-Mac’ had some influence on that as an exception). These results all indicate that we are going to, not only beat our expectations of annual forecasts, but could almost top the £40M mark for the UK secondary market in Single Malt Scotch.

Interestingly, 14 out of the 16 individual bottles in the Port Ellen Index have out performed their figures in September 2018 giving this index the top spot for this month. The best performing bottle from the Port Ellen index was the 1979, 32yo, 11TH Release, with an impressive 54.38% increase against September. Below is a list of some of the best performing bottles in October 2018 as listed in the Icon 100 Index:

  • Brora – 2002, 30yo, 52.4% ABV +78.95%
  • Macallan – 1983, 18yo, 43% ABV +48.57%
  • Macallan - 1957, 25yo, 43% ABV +17.50%
  • Port Ellen – 1979, 32yo, 53.90% ABV +54.38%
  • Rosebank – 1979, 20yo, 60.30% ABV +8.33%

While the above is a small selection of the winners this month, there is one index that has taken quite a hit in the last 31 days, the Managers Dram index is the worst performing index with a low-ranking loss of 12.20%, underperforming even the Negative Indices. The worst performing bottle this month in this index with a loss of 30.58% was the Managers Dram Caol Ila. With such high value bottles, the vagaries of the market sometimes give rise to a somewhat ‘spiky’ performance.

Now that the end of the year is fast approaching, we look forward to seeing what the last two months will bring. Historically November and December are strong months; with this in mind the figures we are expecting to see may still be blown out of the water… Only time will tell.

On a slightly different note, a growing concern within the UK secondary market is the continued proliferation of fakes. While we look to remove any counterfeit bottles we come across, we still urge everyone with an invested interest in Single Malt Scotch to be vigilant and make sure to do your homework prior to purchasing a bottle. Andy and David will have more (Much more!) on this later in the month as a huge project draws to a close.

In summary, 2018 is shaping up beyond expectations from a collecting perspective. We anticipate the market will continue its growth in both volume and value through to the end of the year based on historical data insights before it slows to takes a breath in the new year.