As investing in wine and buying en primeur become more mainstream, Asia’s investors are looking beyond the grape to rare and fine whiskies

In the past 10 years, annual sales of single malt Scotch whisky increased by 190% from US$390m to US$1.1bn according to the Scotch Whisky Association, growth unseen by any other liquors or even wine. But not only are people drinking more whisky, some are also selecting rare and premium bottles and holding on to them with the view that they will increase in value over time.

Part of the reason for this trend is that there is a finite stock of rare whiskies available, as distillers in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s weren’t able to foresee such international demand for their product – especially from Asia. Every bottle now sold and taken out of normal circulation decreases supply and puts an upward pressure on the price of remaining stock.This new dynamic has led to an explosion in whisky collecting worldwide and has generated an increase in the number of rare whisky bottles coming to auction markets and being made available for sale.

The rise in demand for rare malts prompted Hong Kong-based and Platinum Wines chief executive officer Rickesh Kishnani to collaborate with whisky expert David Robertson earlier this year to form the world’s first private equity whisky fund.The pair have already begun raising capital for The Platinum Whisky Investment Fund and are searching the market carefully selecting parcels of exclusive, premium single-malt whiskies from around the world at below market prices.

While some whisky connoisseurs get a thrill out of hunting down the most rare, premium bottles to add to their collection, others are more interested in making a return in this up-and-coming alternative investment market.

Kishnani reveals, “Collectibles – or ‘Investments of Passion’ – are growing in popularity as an alternative investment asset class and premium Scotch whisky is at the head of the pack.” He adds, “Whisky is arguably a better investment product over the long term than wine as it’s non-perishable, easy to store and doesn’t age in the bottle, so its price remains relatively stable.”

Kishnani’s business partner and chief investment officer of The Platinum Whisky Investment Fund, David Robertson, has strong credentials and 20 years of experience in the business; he was formerly master distiller for The Macallan on Speyside and subsequently the rare whisky director for The Dalmore. He believes that even though asking prices for the best-known, top end single malts have risen steeply in recent years, both at auction and in other sectors of the secondary market, there are still some bargains to be found if you know what you’re looking for. He points out, “Research shows that premium whisky is an aspirational drink. Connoisseurs and collectors are acquiring the best of what is available as a mark of their wealth, status and power and now production of aged whisky takes time and current demand is outstripping supply, especially in Asia.”

“Rickesh has strong relationships with distributors and I bring long-standing relationships with renowned distilleries, private collectors and suppliers. Together, this gives us a compelling offer for disposal direct to auction houses and privately to whisky buyers, including affluent connoisseurs, investors and collectors,” Robertson adds.

Investors will not only be entitled to shares in the Cayman Islands-based corporation when they commit to The Platinum Whisky Investment Fund, they will also directly own all of the whisky purchased.And in addition to the anticipated return of 15-20% annually, investors will be given selected, physical whisky stock from the portfolio to enjoy on a regular basis.

With the market moving and maturing quickly in Europe, North America and now Asia, investors with a penchant for whisky can now capitalise on their passions with the help of experts with a proven track record – and enjoy a fine wee dram in the process for good measure.

For more information or to enquire about investing in The Platinum Whisky Investment Fund, please contact us at member@thereserve-asia.com.

LAST CALL: The Platinum Whisky Investment Fund is closing soon!

Since first publishing this story in September 2014, US$8.5 million has been raised and the fund aims to close at US$10 million by the end of August 2015. Over the past year, a total of US$3.4 million has been deployed into 6,371 bottles of rare single malt whisky. Using past UK whisky auction results as a benchmark, the estimated value of this collection as of 30 June 2015 is US$4.5 million, which represents an increase of over US$1 million (approximately 32%) in the first 12 months of the fund. In addition to strong financial returns, members of The Reserve and other investors in the fund have also benefited from a number of unique entitlements including:
> The opportunity to purchase extremely rare whiskies directly from the fund
> VIP access at discounted rates to annual premium whisky conferences in Las Vegas and Macau
> Invitations to whisky tasting events hosted by brand ambassadors of top distilleries
> Organized tours to Scotland and Japan to visit distilleries, play golf and experience unique whisky tastings
> Allocations of limited edition new whisky releases direct from distilleries
The minimum investment is The Platinum Whisky Investment Fund is US$250,000 with a drawdown schedule of 50% in 30 days from completing the subscription agreement, 25% in December 2015 and final 25% in June 2016.
For more information or to enquire about investing in The Platinum Whisky Investment Fund, please contact us at member@thereserve-asia.com.

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