Market For Fine And Rare Whiskey Has Softened

By Robert McHugh
Market For Fine And Rare Whiskey Has Softened

The value of fine and rare single-malt Scotch whisky is softening, despite rising global demand from investors and enthusiasts.

This is according to a new report by corporate finance boutique Noble & Co, in conjunction with decision intelligence company Brainnwave.

Whiskey Auction Market

Noble & Co’s annual analysis of the whisky auction market takes in over 3.23 million data points from more than 160,200 transactions over the last 12 months.

The results reveal a 7% year-on-year decline in the value of fine and rare single malts – defined as whisky sold at auction for more than £1,000.

This comes despite the volume of bottles traded in that category increasing by 10%, to over 8,500 sales, in the year to October.


Investor Confidence

Noble & Co asserts that the softening value of the world’s rarest and most expensive whisky suggests that a weak global economy stifled by inflation is having an impact on investor confidence.

The International Monetary Fund suggests that global headline inflation is to hit 6.8% in 2023 and 5.2% in 2024.

Overall, the report shows that demand in the secondary whisky market continues to rise, as new investors enter the market and whisky trading increases in popularity.

‘Difficult Year’

“It has been a difficult year for fine- and rare-whisky investors,” said Duncan McFadzean, head of food and drink at Noble & Co.

“While general interest in the category continues to drive overall volume growth in secondary whisky sales, at the top end, investors are more cautious about price and value.”


Broader Market

The report shows that the broader market – defined as any secondary whisky sale over £100 – has increased in volume by 17%.

However, the value of all sales is now flat, representing a marked weakening in price when compared to 2022, which saw the value of sales increase by 21%.

Fastest-Growing Brands

The Noble & Co analysis found that the fastest-growing whisky brands by volume in the secondary market are Tamdhu, the Dalmore and the Glenturret.

The Macallan remains the most popular distillery in the secondary market, with over 26,500 bottles being traded in the last 12 months.

Record Sale

The report comes despite the recent record sale of one of the world’s most valuable whiskies, the Macallan Valerio Adami 1926.


One of only 40 bottles ever produced, this 1926 Macallan sold at Sotheby’s for £2.1 million (€2.4 million) earlier this month.

‘Price Sensitivity’

“While the rarest bottles are still breaking records, our analysis shows that even lower-value transactions are susceptible to price sensitivity,” said Noble & Co’s McFadzean.

“We expect this trend to continue into 2024, as weak global economic conditions prevail.”