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10 Most Collectable Whisky Brands

Updated: Mar 6

collectible whiskies on a pedestal

Collecting whiskies is a relatively new trend that has recently gained popularity. However, it seems that more and more whisky bottles are being kept for display or storage rather than being consumed. In the early 2000s, Diageo's annual Special Release series gave birth to a new type of whisky buyer, which led to the emergence of a vast array of limited special editions from various sources across the globe.

But what makes a whisky truly collectable? Many factors can contribute to its collectibility. Bottles from distilleries that have long been closed or demolished are often highly sought after. Other aspects that may increase the value of a whisky include the number of bottles released and possible celebrity endorsements. Some distilleries have also established themselves as more prestigious than others, and bottlings from these renowned distilleries are often more valuable.

In this article, we will look closely at ten whiskies currently popular among collectors.


1. Macallan

Macallan has established itself as "the best in the business" by releasing numerous limited and high-priced bottlings, including record-breaking ones. With their products fetching high prices at auctions, they have created a demand and interest that surpasses their competitors for their upcoming releases. They have now reached a point where they can set their own prices and inflate the value of their items artificially.

Currently, Macallan is at the top of the list for collectable whiskies, thanks to their ongoing competition with independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail to bottle the oldest whisky ever.

Image by Wine-Searcher


2. Karuizawa

Around 2008, Karuizawa emerged in the UK market unexpectedly. This Japanese distillery was constructed to replicate the whisky production of Macallan, and it quickly caught the attention of Western collectors. Due to the distillery's closure in 2000, its stock is quite scarce. Most Karuizawa whisky has been bottled already, and the possibility of future releases is becoming increasingly unlikely.

Image by Dekanta


3. Port Ellen

Port Ellen is considered by many as the whisky that began the collecting trend. Originally used mainly in blends, it gained a reputation and became one of the most sought-after single malts from Islay. Until recently, it has been a regular inclusion in Diageo's Special Releases. Nowadays, any remaining stock of Port Ellen is typically added to premium blends like the Ghost Edition of Johnnie Walker Blue. The construction of the New Port Ellen distillery is currently underway, giving whisky enthusiasts something to look forward to in the future.

Image by Great Drams


4. Brora

In 1983, Brora, an East Coast peated malt distillery, was closed down along with Port Ellen. Despite its closure, Brora became as popular as its sister distillery. Its 30-year-old variants are exceptional and are considered among the best malts ever produced. Recently, after almost four decades of silence, Brora has been renovated and is now producing spirit again.

Image by Forbes


5. Jack Daniels

It is undeniable that JD has been marketed exceptionally well and has been a popular choice among consumers since the 1970s. One of the main reasons for Jack's collectability is the variety of bottles, decanters, and packaging options available. While most of these contain the standard Jack Daniel's at 40%, the packaging itself adds to its value as a collectable item. Some of these items can fetch prices in the four-figure range, but for most JD collectors, it is having that rare release that truly makes a difference.

Image by Yo Pongo El Hielo


6. Pappy Van Winkle

Julian Van Winkle couldn't have predicted the massive demand for his Buffalo Trace-produced whiskies. When they first appeared in the early 2000s, people were interested but not obsessed. However, in the mid-2010s, everyone wanted a bottle of "Pappy" - any variety would do. As a result, prices skyrocketed and availability dwindled, with most stock being sold only in the USA. Currently, the 20-year-old and 23-year-old varieties can fetch almost £3000 on the secondary market, making Pappy an extremely lucrative investment for those who manage to purchase bottles at their retail price during the release.

Image by Forbes


7. Rosebank

Rosebank was one of Diageo's Lowland distilleries that closed down in 1993. It was seldom bottled as a single malt, but it did appear in the Rare Malt Range and was part of the Flora & Fauna series. This whisky's soft and mellow lightness has made it an attractive collector's item. Some old whisky is still being bottled by independent bottlers. The distillery has now been revived by Iain Macleod, and a 30-year-old expression has been introduced to please the die-hard fans.

Image by The Whisky Exchange


8. Chichibu

Ichiro Akuto, the mastermind behind Chichibu, has crafted an incredible variety of young whiskies that have captured the attention of the global market. Having previously owned Hanyu, his initial bottlings immediately drew attention for their "maturity" and limited supply. The affordable price point has made Chichibu a popular choice, with new releases quickly selling out.

Image by Rare Malts & Co


9. Daftmill

It took more than a decade to convince Francis Cuthbert to release his Lowland malt. However, Berry Bros was able to persuade him to do so. This light and citrusy whisky immediately became popular among fans. However, due to the small production, there were limited amounts available for purchase. The brand has been quickly sold out wherever it was displayed, and it is also available at an affordable price for both drinkers and collectors.


10. Springbank

If there is a cult classic in the whisky world, then Springbank is certainly it. This distillery is an essential component of the industry, known for its limited annual releases of 12-year-old and Local Barley whiskies that have made them highly sought after by collectors. Affordable limited editions are available for both consumption and keeping, but demand is so high that shop allocations run out quickly. Although the distillery is not working at full capacity, the anticipation and speculation surrounding their releases keep fans coming back for more.

Image by Whisky Hammer


What are your top 3 favourite collectable whiskies? Let us know below.

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