Whiskybase vs. Whiskystats Prices
Whiskybase and Whiskystats are the two biggest public accessible whisky databases, and yet they serve different purposes. In this article we want to point out those differences and explain why sometimes the one, and sometimes the other may serve you best.
On a regular basis we get asked what the differences between the whisky databases of Whiskystats and Whiskybase are, and why some of the displayed bottle prices do not match. In an attempt to keep things simple we often answer as follows: think of Whiskybase as the “Facebook” of the digital whisky-world, and then Whiskystats would be “Yahoo-Finance”. So what would that mean?
On Whiskybase every registered member can add new whiskies to the database, including images and tasting notes. Then other users can add their notes or put that bottle into their digital whisky collection, which they can then show-off to the community. On Whiskystats we restrict our attention to those bottles which are traded on auctions. So a new release is added to our database as soon as it appeared in two different round of auctions.
Consequently, the whiskies tracked on Whiskystats are a subset of those listed on Whiskybase. So if you seek information about the existence of some releases or other users tasting notes, Whiskybase is the place for you. However, if you want to know what the whisky of your interest is worth, you should consider Whiskystats, and here is why.
Yes, you do find price information for many whiskies on Whiskybase. These are either offers from online-shops or other users. The crucial information here is that these are only offers and no observed transactions. Both the shops and the users can of course offer bottles for sale for any price they want, but if anybody would pay that price remains uncertain. For comparably cheap and widely available standard releases this might not be an issue. But this changes for rare and collectable whisky, as we shall see down below.
So all the price information you find on Whiskystats comes from online auctions. Note that we already include all buyer fees (but exclude shipping costs). This simply means that there was at least one buyer who was willing to pay that price. So yes, sometimes we observe absurd high bids for particular lots, but still, there was one person who paid that price. For those shop and market offers on Whiskybase, this might not be the case.
Lets back this claims with some examples. Note that we did not cherry-pick these bottles, but they were simply the first three releases we stumbled uppon. This means that the observed patterns probably generalize to the better part of the rare and collectable whiskies in the databases.
Take the recent Bowmore Distillery Manager´s Selection 22yo (1997) which was available at the distillery for 300 GBP. And here is the respective entry on Whiskybase. There we find eight different offers with the cheapest one at 820 Euros and 870 Euros on average. Now lets have a look how the secondary market actually prices this whisky. The eleven trades observed in October 2019 averaged to 591 Euros which is more than 30% below the average offer on Whiskybase.
Next example is the Dalmore 30yo (1973) Special Cask Series. Some of the latest trades we observed for this old Dalmore release went as high as 1800 Euros. The average price listed on Whiskybase is around 2400 Euros, which is a third higher. Again those offers do not reflect the price you would actually get or have to pay on the secondary market.
With more than 1100 observed trades the Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix belongs to the most traded whiskies on auctions. The latest prices leveled in at around 350 Euros. On Whiskybase we find 21 offers for this 2010 released single malt. The cheapest one coming in at 530 Euros and on average a staggering 730 Euros are asked for. This is more than double the price you would pay on auctions at the moment.
So hopefully the point was made. Whiskybase is a great resource to lookup information about releases or to have a look at other peoples whisky ratings. However, if you try to assess the worth of a bottle, may it be for buying or selling purposes, the prices displayed on Whiskybase can misslead you. And that is exactly the point where Whiskystats comes into play.