The whiskey world has been buzzing with news of a colossal sale in the last few weeks. In October, a new record was set for the most expensive whisky cask ever sold, taken by a barrel of Macallan 1991 Scotch that went for a massive $2.33 million.
The barrel is estimated to hold around 600 bottles worth of whisky that will sell for approximately $3,880 per bottle. Despite not being as old as some of the previous record holders, it beat the last record by $400,000.
However, this was more than just a cask. In a marriage between the old and the new, this cask included a unique non-fungible token (NFT) that may have boosted the value. The artwork, entitled The Angel’s Share, depicts a smudged and stylised whisky cask.
What Is a Non-Fungible Token (NFT)?
Non-fungible tokens, otherwise known as NFTs, are a new trend hitting the market. In short, they are unique pieces of artwork that cannot be replaced. Think of a unique trading card – there’s nothing else like it.
Most NFTs are digital, such as artwork, music, or even GIFs. People are beginning to compare NFTs collection to fine art collecting, with some NFTs selling for millions, like this picture of an ape that sold for an eye-watering $3.4 million.
The confusion around NFTs stems from the fact that they are all digital. Yes, someone paid millions for this video of a man lying down, but anyone can right-click and save it to their laptop. So how do NFTs have any value?
Essentially, the value is rooted in the ownership of the artwork. In more traditional terms, you can buy prints and reproductions of beautiful artwork, but only one person can own the original.
There is much more to NFTs, but those are the basic facts without addressing blockchains and cryptocurrencies. So why did a whisky cask have one attached to it?
According to VCL Vintners Director Stuart Thom, the NFT “gives the new owner a 21st-century way to connect with their whiskey”. This isn’t the first time that art and whisky have collided. Other record-setting Macallan whiskies that have been sold – specifically the 1926 60-Year-Old – contained specially commissioned label artwork by either Peter Blake or Valerio Adami.
What Does This Mean for Whiskey Investment?
This combination has opened a new avenue for whiskey investing. Although the combination of whiskey and art isn’t uncommon, adding unique NFTs to the mix will help whiskey investment reach new markets and drive greater interest.
However, there is the question of how much NFTs affected the price of the sale. Some would argue that it added inherent value, as it far surpassed the sale price of $574,000 for a similar barrel last August.
But some disagree that NFTs had much to do with it. The barrel sold last August contained only around 200 bottles of whiskey, so it stands that the recent sale of a much larger barrel would surpass that significantly.
Invest in Whiskey Now
There has never been a better time to invest in Irish whiskey. Sales are projected to double within the next decade to upwards of twenty-four million cases. Collectors are always looking for more casks to buy, and the value only increases with age – investors can expect to see returns of 12-18%.
Contact our expert team here at London Cask Co to discuss your options. We offer whiskey sales, storage, and insurance for your casks.