Values Harden amid Shortening Supply.
Following a plateau/slight re-trace in whisky values at the end of 2014, vast open market supply looks to have calmed to more manageable levels. That relative back-step in supply enabled rare whisky values to progress, in some cases significantly. The total number of bottles seen on the open market in February amounted to 2,690, still some 28.8% ahead of the 2,089 seen in February 2014. When 2014’s total growth of 68% is taken into account, 28.8% feels more ‘relaxed’.
Throughout the first two months of 2015 we’ve seen 6,029 bottles hit the open market, up 45.7% on the same time period in 2014. When February volumes are directly compared to Decembers record 4,153, (a 35.23% drop) volumes look to be cooling a little which should be positive for overall values.
The RW101 indices showed good growth through February with just one index moving into negative territory –
The indices for February ranked in order of increase are –
1 – RWPE Index – Port Ellen +29.06% (view Index)
2 – RWK Index – Karuizawa +9.47% (view Index)
3 – RWIcon100 – Icon 100 Index +5.89% (view Index)
4 – RWM18 Index – Macallan 18 +3.33% (view Index)
5 – RWB Index – Brora Index +2.27% (view Index)
6 – RWRMS Index – Rare Malts Selection Index +1.85% (view Index)
7 – RWVintage50 – Vintage 50 Index +0.05% (view Index)
8 – RWM25 Index – Macallan 25 -0.55% (view Index)
The significant jump in the Port Ellen Index was primarily due to the 4th release doubling in price, increasing a staggering 106.25% (£800 to £1,650). This coupled with a 23.34% gain for the 3rd release reversed the steep drop we saw at the end of 2014.
The benchmark RWIcon100 Index outperformed the general market, increasing by 5.89%. Yet again, bottles with older age statements and older vintages led the way. Good growth was seen for Dalmore’s 1973 30 year old (up 46.67% on Jan), Laphroaig’s 40 year old (up 26.53% on Jan) and Macallan’s 30 year old blue wood box variant (up 26.43% on Jan). The Glenlivet 1972 Cellar Collection was also up an impressive 25% on January.
Among the worst performers were Springbank’s 25 year old Frank McHardy bottle which lost 30.43% and Macallan’s 1971 25 year old Anniversary Malt which fell by 19.05% (in part resulting in the Macallan 25 year old Index staying in the red). Glenmorangie’s 1971 vintage Culloden bottle also moved down by 20%.
Over the past three months Karuizawa values have remained static, albeit static at all-time highs for the brand. February saw further increases in demand pushing prices to new records. The ever expanding desire for bottles of rare Karuizawa shows no immediate sign of calming amid relatively scant supply. Scant supply and the knowledge that any remaining casks will, at some point run out, should see values advance.
The Macallan 18 year old index bucked its 2014 trend and performed admirably, crystallising a 3.33% gain on January. Putting that into context, the Macallan 18 year old index increased by 3.57% over the whole of 2014. Are the 18’s due a more sustained increase?
The Apex Indices (the best performing 1,000, 250 and 100 bottles) also reversed their recent, but marginal, down-trend. All indices made good progress with the best performance seen at the top end of the market where the RWApex100 index moved up 6.79%. The RWApex250 increased by 3.50% and the RWApex1000 increased by 1.53%.
In stark contrast to the positivity of the main key performance indicators, the negative indices continued to fall (albeit slightly). The RWNeg100 fell 1.22%, the RWNeg250 fell 0.22% and the RWNeg1000 fell by just 0.02%.
As the oversupply of winter passes, the approaching onset of spring looks to be bringing more than just green shoots to the right bottles.