The Macallan suffers a “fall from grace” among rare whiskies

The Macallan Millennium Decanter

The Macallan may be one of the world’s best-selling single malt whiskies but old bottles from the distillery are losing their appeal among collectors, a new report says.

According to Rare Whisky 101 (RW101), demand for rare bottles of Scotland’s national drink rocketed last year.

The whisky consultancy says a record 33,998 bottles of single malt found new owners, up 68.22% on the total sold at auction in 2013.

By value, rare whisky sales grew by nearly 70% to £7.66million.

The Macallan – distilled at Craigellachie on Speyside – retained top spot in brand sales, accounting for 10% of the volume and more than 25% of the total value.

But a trend towards buyers seeking out bottles from “silent distilleries” no longer in production pushed it down to seventh place on a list of the top 30 distilleries for investors. Brora took top spot.

The report says The Macallan’s 25-year-old Anniversary malts and 18-year-old vintages grew by 3.77% and 3.57% in value respectively during 2014.

RW101 co-founder adds: “Many limited edition and more modern Macallan bottles took the brunt of the falls.

“The Royal Marriage, Coronation and Diamond Jubilee bottles had a combined worth of £3,190 at the end of 2013, and that fell by 17.71% to £2,625 by the end of 2014.

“Market sentiment for Macallan appears to have shifted significantly.”

The report says there are “a multitude of reasons”, including growing demand for independently bottled limited releases from silent distilleries, for The Macallan’s “fall from grace”.

It adds: “Independent bottlers are perceived as providing better value in the market for certain silent distilleries.

“Many independent bottlers have stocks of equal and sometimes superior quality to those of the original brand owner who mainly filled for blends, rather than for single malts.”

Brands said to be have enjoyed “dynamic” growth last year include GlenDronach – produced near Forgue, by Huntly, and Arran.

The report adds: “Virtually all silent stills performed well, with some of the less well-known distilleries such as Banff, Littlemill and Glenugie becoming both increasingly scarce and increasingly sought-after as evidenced by impressive increases in price.”

RW101 was launched last year, when Mr Simpson, of Lairg in Sutherland, teamed up with David Robertson, of Edinburgh, to advise investors and collectors what to buy amid booming times for unusual or rare bottles of malt whisky.