Stocks sink but there's whisky galore

AMSTERDAM Thu Oct 16, 2008 3:32pm EDT

1 of 4. Michel Kappen of Dutch firm The Whisky Talker, which initiated the World Whisky Index, is pictured in an undated handout picture released to Reuters, October 16, 2008.

Credit: Reuters/The Whisky Talker/Handout

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AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - While investors flee traditional markets such as stocks and commodities on growing recession fears, trade in rare bottles of whisky is flourishing.

Roughly 11 months after the launch of a Dutch online trade platform for exclusive single malt whiskies, mostly from Scotland, the World Whisky Index has seen an average return of 26.2 percent, compared to a more than 40 percent decline in the MSCI World stock index.

"There's big demand for rare whiskies and people are willing to offer a lot of money for certain bottles," said a spokesman for The Whisky Talker, a Dutch firm that initiated the index website which aims to bring buyers and sellers together.

Since its launch last November, the index has seen investment inflows of around 2 million euros ($2.7 million), and consists of 4498 bottles at present, the spokesman said.

The top gainer on the index is a 30-year old Bowmore Scotch whisky in a ceramic bottle, which has gained about 137 percent in the past eleven months and is now worth about 450 euros.

A 15-year old Convalmore is the top loser, slipping 27 percent in the same period to 80 euros.

But even if the 80-proof alcoholic drink turns out not to be recession-proof, there is still a reassuring side to this type of investment.

"While shares and obligations can become completely worthless, if bottles turn out to be not very valuable, you always still have the bottle to drink," the spokesman said.

(Reporting by Catherine Hornby; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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