The Whiskystats Portrait of The Old Malt Cask

7. March 2016 | 5.6K Views
Please note that this article is based on the old Whiskystats database.
Some numbers and figures may not match what you find in the Whiskystats 2.0 database.

It is time for the second iteration of our Whiskystats Portraits. This time, The Old Malt Cask range is the subject of investigation. Hence, this is a secondary market analysis of a single bottling series. 

The Old Malt Cask (OMC) series was first issued by independent bottler Douglas Laing back in 1998. The plan was to release 50 single cask whiskies with a bottling strength of 50% to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the company. Today, more than 17 years later, many more bottlings than those initial 50 have been released. The Old Malt Cask editions you find in shelfs nowadays are bottled by Hunter Laing, which kept this bottling series in their portfolio after they split from Douglas Laing in 2013. For both, the old and the new releases, the premise was to serve the whisky connoisseurs with pure and high quality single malt whiskies. For that purpose, the spirit is non-chillfiltered and no artificial colors are added.
OMC on the Secondary Market
By the time of writing this article, we find 354 OMC whiskies in our whisky database. As Hunter Laing was founded only three years ago, it is only natural that almost all of these whiskies were bottled by Douglas Laing. These 354 whiskies come from 75 different distilleries. There are 2341 price observation that correspond to these bottles. This equals a little less than seven prices per bottle. Hence, these bottles do not belong to the most traded whiskies. This could be caused by the very limited number of bottles that come out of each single (old malt) cask. The average number of bottles per OMC release is only 340! The single most expensive OMC bottle is the Port Ellen OMC 31yo (1969) which sells for more than 5500 Euros.
The OMC Performance
Naturally, our first step in analysing this series´ secondary market performance is calculating an OMC index. This index consists of all OMC bottlings (and therefore of all 2341 price observation) that we found in our database.
The Whiskystats OMC index
The value of these 354 OMC bottlings more than doubled over the past ten years. If we have a closer look, we see that since March 2013 the index gained 43%. This equals an impressive 12% per year. It also looks like the OMC bottlings are rocksolid value gainers. We cannot see any price setback worth mentioning.
The OMC Distilleries
We now take a look at the distilleries where these old malt casks come from. The 354 OMC bottles in our database come from 75 different distilleries. By far the most appearances has Port Ellen with 86 bottles. Ardbeg is the second most OMC distillery with 48 bottles. On the places follow Bowmore (15), Brora (14), Laphroaig (13), Rosebank (10), Macallan (9) and Lochside (7). The other distilleries all have less than seven OMC releases. For each of the eight distilleries above we summarized the price evolution of the corresponding bottles into one index. The result gives us a nice overview on the differences between the OMC distilleries.
The Whiskystats OMC-distillery indices
All of these distilleries belong to the Top 30 of our distillery ranking (by February 2016). As Brora is the highest ranking scotch distillery, it shouldn’t surprise us that the OMC-Brora bottlings are on top. The corresponding 14 bottles almost gained 160% in value in the last decade. Similar performances are observed for Port Ellen and Ardbeg. While the Brora and Port Ellen OMC-index is slightly below the corresponding distilleries´ indices, Ardbeg-OMC is 20 points above the Ardbeg-index. Therefore, it looks like the Ardbeg-OMC bottles are even more of a collectors item than the other Ardbeg bottlings. Bowmore and Rosebank both close at around 180 points. Except of Lochside, these indices kind of confirm our observation from above that there were no major price setbacks.
All in all, it looks like the Old Malt Cask bottlings by Douglas Laing steadily gained value over the last years. As Hunter Laing continues this series without making any changes to the release-formula (high quality single casks, non-chillfiltered, cask strength) one could expect the Old Malt Cask to remain a highly sought after bottling series.