Home / Industry / Retail /  ‘Whisky-loving India among top 10 important countries’

NEW DELHI : A cask of rare Scotch whisky dating back to 1975 took the world by storm when it sold for £16 million, smashing the earlier record of £1 million set in April. The single malt, produced at the Ardbeg distillery on the Scottish island of Islay, was bought by a private collector in Asia.

In an interview with Mint, Thomas Moradpour, chief executive, The Glenmorangie Co., said the firm, owned by Moët Hennessy-Louis Vuitton, will deliver 440 bottles of the single malt from Cask No.3 to the unnamed owner over the next five years.

The Ardbeg distillery was acquired in 1997 by The Glenmorangie Co.

Traditionally the company‘s collectors or fans belong to Ardbeg, the home base, the US and the Americas, besides markets in Asia. “It’s no accident that Asia has been the most dynamic, and it is a historic milestone for us," Moradpour said.

While declining to share global sales numbers, he said the subcontinent is a very important market since Indians “love whisky".

“India is in the top 10 countries of importance for us," he added.

“We see a trend in that notion of collectibility, and we stimulate that collectibility. We’ve seen a lot with limited edition releases of very weird, fun products. In a way this is the same dynamic that you might see in sneakers with product drops that sell out in minutes, fuelled by collectors."

The firm will continue to mature its Cask No. 3 and till 2026, every year she will receive 88 bottles from the cask. “She will possess a vertical series of the drink from 1975, aged 46, 47, 48, 49 and 50 years, said Moradpour. The price of a bottle at £36,000 or 34.2 lakh costs as much as some of the most rare whiskies auctioned around the world.

Moradpour said this was the first time a unique sale like this had taken place in the brand’s over-200 years of history where a spirit made on Islay in November 1975 had been sold at a private auction. “Ardbeg has been around for a long time and has a roller coaster history. It’s a distillery that almost disappeared twice in the 1980s and in 1990s before The Glenmorangie Co. acquired it. Before the 1990s most of what we produced went into blends. So very little stock was reserved for single malts. In fact, stocks from the 1970s are almost impossible to find."

The company, he said, started a programme close to three years ago to sell rare casks of both Ardbeg and Glenmorangie to private buyers, after recognising that they had whiskies in their stock that were ready for private connoisseurs. It sold a number of rare whiskies for between £169,174 and £1,691,740 with great success. Like art, rare whiskies have found many collectors. According to a Knight Frank Wealth Report, in the last decade, rare whiskies were a top performing asset class in its Luxury Investment Index, which tracks a basket of rare bottles sold at auctions. This increased 428% in value over the 10 years and 9% in the past year alone.

“Excellent products are being made in many places by many distillers. It is our job to be agile and we have been quite successful in last three years. Our demand exceeds our supply. For this we are increasing our capacity," he added.

Varuni Khosla
Varuni Khosla is a journalist with close to 14 years of experience in writing business news stories for mainstream newspaper companies like Mint and The Economic Times. She reports and writes on luxury and lifestyle brands, hospitality and tourism news, the business of sports, the business of advertising and marketing and alcohol brands.
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