The Whiskystats Price Update for March 2021
We get a first glimpse at the consequences of Brexit. The market keeps up its momentum but also continues to deliver examples for its immaturity. Rosebank leads the way, and many follow. Here is the Whiskystats Price Update for March 2021!
Another sixteen thousand prices found their way into our database as the March 2021 round of remarkable auction results comes in. Remarkable because our major market indices continue to do what they do for a couple of months now, and that is going up. Both the Whiskystats Whisky Index (WWI) and our Fabulous Fifty Collection (Fab50) increased by more than 3%. Thereby both continue to break new records as the WWI now stands at 281 index points and our fifty fabulous single malts are now worth 143 thousand Euros.
On a distillery level it is Rosebank that extends its lead on the top of our distillery ranking. The most-traded Rosebank releases gained more than 9% in value last month. Yamazaki (+8,2%) overtook Macallan (-2,3%) and Hanyu (+1,7%) to now take third place again. It was also a very strong month for Bowmore (+6,3%) and Aberlour (+5,8%), both gaining a place. Worth noting is that Springbank overtook Port Ellen as this Campbeltown distillery continues its upward momentum. Since June 2020, our Springbank index climbed by no less than 27%!
So Brexit is here and the secondary whisky market has to deal with the consequences too. Apart from side effects like additional paperwork and longer shipping times, the main obstacle is of course the additional tax. For most countries, this will be roughly 20% that are now added on top. In a nutshell, EU bidders face significant monetary disadvantages on UK auctions and vice-versa. Quantifying the effect of this market separation apart from observing the overall market movements is tricky, since, for obvious privacy reasons, we do not know the residence of the bidders.
What we can do is comparing those lots which were sold at a UK auction to those at the one EU-based auction house we track (WhiskyAuction.com). However, this always meant that other parameters, like the different audiences of the platforms, would add some noise to the analysis. But now, WhiskyAuctioneer.com started to sell lots either through their UK or their EU offices. So same auction platform, same audience, but different tax implications. In the March 2021 auction, we found that 1400 out of the roughly 4000 lots that we processed from WhiskyAuctioneer.com were sold from their EU office. And there we identified 223 different whiskies of which at least one bottle was sold from both offices, and for which we compare the average UK/EU prices on a logarithmic scale in the visualization below.
On average, the EU prices were 1,5% below their UK counterparts and the median price difference was -0,7%. There were even twelve bottles that sold for exactly the same price, like the Compass Box Tobias and the Angel which achieved 590 Euros in both offices. For some bottles, the difference was not so subtle though. The Benrinnes 20yo (2000) Sherry Cask from Cadenhead fetched 280 Euros in the UK but only 170 Euros in the EU. Or the other way around, like the Glendronach Grandeur Batch 6 which sold for 1090 Euros in the EU and only 830 Euros in the UK. So some of these differences even exceeded the additional tax, assuming that the winning bidders were from the UK or EU, respectively.
Also very interesting is a look at these price deviations by the different whisky regions. On average, the 15 Japanese whiskies that were sold from both offices, were 5% cheaper in the EU. The same is true for the 17 English whiskies (Bimber). Above we see the comparison of the price differences for the two major regions, Speyside and Islay, from the UK perspective. Apparently, there was a bulk of Speyside whiskies that were 20% cheaper in the EU. On the other side, there were quite some Islay releases that sold for 20% more than they did in the UK. So obviously, the EU market has a tendency towards Islay whiskies. Something, that we already noticed in our Auctioneer Comparison.
What the Stats?
The secondary whisky market is an intransparent (which we aim to change), inefficient and immature market. And that is not our humble opinion but what our data suggests to us. Take the below displayed Bruichladdich Black Art 3.1. This whisky is quite regularly traded and the prices stabilized at around 300 to 350 Euros over the last couple of months. So one would expect that bidders keep calm if prices get too hot and simply wait for the next opportunity which will definitely come. Or they pay almost 2200 Euros which is roughly six times the common sense. Note that usually, we flag such prices as outliers (and they would not be displayed), but we may keep this one (at least for a while) as a memorial of what can happen if one does not get informed on Whiskystats before placing a bid…
And the reason for that is that the above example is not the only one. The Bruichladdich Black Art 5.1 doubled in price too. For the Balvenie TUN 1509 Batch 1 we have prices that range from 360 Euros to 830 Euros within the same round of auction. The Talisker 30yo (1970) from Kingsbury jumped from 1700 Euros to 5700 Euros within a single month. And then there is the Caol Ila 12yo London Scottish from James MacArthur. In the January round of auctions this twelve-years-old fetched an imaginative 32000 Euros! Imaginative because now, in March, the price dropped to 7700 Euros.
So what about your own whisky bottles? Did you know that you can track the value of your collections on Whiskystats, for free?