A valuable liquid investment

A hot investment tip for a commodity as valuable as it is rare.

It is not often that I give tips, but this is a special occasion and it’s something of a tongue-in-cheek tip at that.

Passing through Hong Kong’s premier delicatessen, Oliver’s, a couple of days ago, I was astounded to notice that there are five bottles of Brora whisky on the shelf.

For those of you who are unaware, Brora is now one of the rarest whiskies in the world. Aside from having a unique taste, it has been running out for the last four years. I am convinced the bottles in Oliver’s – retailing at HK$1133 -  are among the last available in any retail outlet anywhere in the world.

I personally have five bottles of Brora, and when I was back in the UK this Summer I asked the manager of the Whisky Shop in Heathrow if he had any more left. He told me that it was no longer possible to buy Brora anywhere in the UK.

It was thus a major surprise when these bottles turned up in Hong Kong, and at such a ridiculously low price to boot.

Why is this whisky so scarce? Brora comes from the place of the same name in the far North Highlands on the East Coast of Scotland. It is made by the Clynelish distillery. The distillery was founded in 1819 when the first Duke of Sutherland established it, (simultaneously clearing 15,000 men, women and children off his land to make way for sheep - a better economic proposition).

It was to prove an excellent whisky, and was branded as Clynelish. However, in 1968 a new distillery was built adjacent to the old one and the original was closed. Seven years later the original distillery was re-opened and the whisky it produced was called Brora. After eight years of production, the Brora distillery was closed again (for economic and branding reasons).

However, to the many sworn advocates of Brora whisky this was a heinous mistake, as Brora is one of the most distinctive whiskies in the world. Tasting notes say it has a bronze colour and sweet vanilla nose, with some natural turpentine traces, a smooth and sweetish mouthfeel and a dryish finish. My own personal tasting note is that there is no whisky that hits you between the eyes with such delightful force as Brora.

I have spoken to Oliver’s and for anyone who is interested, they have access to 24 bottles.

Aside from being a great whisky, it is expected that Brora will appreciate in value. Its retail price has already appreciated fourfold in three years, and now that the stuff has run out it will only be available at auction in the forseeable future, where valuations could potentially skyrocket over the next five years.

If you’re interested in picking up a few bottles of Brora, you can contact Eileen Ogle at Oliver’s on 852 2869 5119.

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