The Real Value of Whisky

If you’re looking to part with a whisky bottle or collection that’s gathering dust at home, determining the value yourself can be deceiving and misleading, especially if you have the internet at your fingertips and your own preconceptions of the bottles worth.

So how is the value determined exactly? 

An items value can be determined from recent sales and the profit made - be it at auction, retail sales, private sales and the current demand for the bottle. It’s easy to feel disheartened if you have a bottle that is currently retailing for, say, £300 online and you’re only offered £150 through a private seller or auction. This is where the difference between value and price comes into play. First of all, if something is being retailed at £300 it’s for a brand new bottle - not second hand. Second of all, yes, at auction the bottle may sell for £300 on a good day, but after deducting auction expenses and fees, the auctioneer will actually take home a significantly lower fee. Dealers deduct what they paid for the bottle, the auction commission fees, and factor in the time and expenses for selling at auction to arrive at a final offer.

Another preconception is that old and rare bottles should be worth more - unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Rare or old bottles don’t necessarily mean valuable - again, their value is determined by what others will be willing to pay for it and what’s inside the bottle. The Internet is a massive melting pot where everyone and anyone can be a seller or a dealer - so beware of places selling similar bottles to yours for large amounts online that result in false expectations. The price of bottles on retail websites can differentiate from their actual value - they’ll often put ridiculous prices on ‘trophy bottles’ so they’ll attract high traffic to their site - but rarely expect to sell them at that price.

It’s important to factor in the risk involved in buying and selling whisky, simply because there’s no exact science to it. One day a bottle could be worth £40, the next day Jim Murray can mention it in the Whisky Bible and it’s worth £4000. The benefit of selling to a whisky buyer is the hassle free, quick and easy process and quick cash. You’re saving yourself the time and effort of researching and attending the appropriate auction, paying auction fees and commission (which is as high as 15-20%), and running the risk that your bottle won’t make very much on that specific day at auction. 

angela esposito