New Investment Vehicle Offers Promising Returns, High-Risk Of Saying "Screw It, I'm Drinking This"

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Investors are bidding up prices of rare single-malt Scotches from distillers such as Macallan, Bowmore, and Dalmore, and Japan’s Karuizawa and Yamazaki. In January, Sotheby’s sold a 6-liter Lalique decanter of Macallan “M” single malt—one of only four made—for a record HK$4.9 million. “I’m not really an advocate of buying whisky and flipping it,” says Heather Greene, director of whisky education at the Flatiron Room in Manhattan, a bar for spirit lovers that offers tasting classes to aspiring connoisseurs. “But I’m getting questions from people asking if they should buy a couple of cases and sell them for double.” According to the Investment Grade Scotch index, published by consulting firm Whisky Highland in Tain, Scotland, prices for the top 100 single malts rose an average 440 percent from the start of 2008 through the end of July this year. That compares with a 2 percent drop in the Liv-ex 100 Benchmark Fine Wine Index and a 31 percent gain in the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index. [BusinessWeek]

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