Andy Simpson

Rare Whisky Review by Andy Simpson – June 5, 2018

Monthly Rare Whisky Review for May 2018

  • Volume of bottles (Scotch) sold: 9,961
  • % Change on May 2017: +22.36%
  • % Change on Previous Month: +24.89%
  • Total volume Forecast for current year: 106,185 bottles
  • Value of bottles sold: £3,343,511
  • % Change on May 2017: +61.38%
  • % Change on Previous Month: +27.24%
  • Average value of bottles sold (current month): £335.66
  • Total value forecast for current year: £36,694,144

Benchmark Index Performance

  • Apex 1000: +1.00%
  • Negative 1000: -1.27%
  • Icon 100 (Scotch): -3.66%
  • Icon 100 (Japanese): +0.95%

All Indices Ranked by Performance against April 2018

All Indices Ranked by Performance against May 2017


Records continue to be broken: May 2018 hasn’t let us down with over a staggering 10k bottles being sold across both Scotch and Japanese Whisky in this month alone. This follows the expected annual trends with May being one of the strongest months for volume and value historically. However, if annual trends continue, we can expect a hardening of the market over June, July and into August before we will witness these figures start to increase again.

The average value of bottle sold in May reached £335.66, which is one of the highest average values recorded. This isn’t just down to the usual big hitters though, below are just a few examples of bottles which have continued to surprise with their values increasing by huge % amounts over time:

  • Ardbeg 30yo – Sestante bottling has gone from £850 to £3600 in 12 months. +323.53%
  • Ardbeg 1975 – Cadenhead bottling – June 2013 £380 rising to £3355 in May 18. +782.89%
  • Bowmore 1972 Prestonfield House – June 2015 £550 increasing to £1650 in May 18. +200%
  • Yamazaki 35yo bottled 2006 – Sept 2016 £16,000 selling for a massive £40,205 in May 18. +151.28%

It’s not all good news though, May 18 has seen some of the most prominent indices fall, in one case by as much as 13.96% since last month. This may just be the pre-curser to the expected flattening of the market or it could be the start of an uncertain future for some indices, making way for growth in other arears of the market.

Still fighting for their place is the Japanese Indices. Struggling over the last few months, the Icon 100 (Japanese) has managed to beat the trend and finish +0.95% up on last month. The Karuizawa index didn’t fare so well, returning a fall of -2.17% in May 2018.

Scotch hasn’t fared so well either with 5 of the distillery specific indices falling in performance in May and only 2 generating an actual increase month on month against April 2018.

Interestingly, the values have continued to grow. Looking back at May 2014 the total monthly value of Scotch sold was £691,287, in May 2015 is was very similar at £691,700 then we see the growth in the market start to emerge with May 2016’s value of £892,432 and then a huge increase up to May 2017 to £2,071,829 and finally May 2018 to a whopping £3,343,511 in just one month!! This shows a great increase of 383.66% in value in just 5 years – not many industries can report that sort of increase.

2018 continues to follow the expected trends but we will have to wait for the coming months to see how some of these play out and see who the winners and, more than likely, the losers are.