Investor spotlight: My 19% Return from Whisky Cask Investment

Taking the plunge into the whisky cask investment market can be a daunting prospect, but for those that do the rewards can be highly lucrative.

With investments starting at around £5,000, adding a whisky cask investment to your portfolio is much more accessible today, meaning more private and corporate investors can reap the rewards of one of the world’s top performing luxury investments.

In the first of a series of blogs highlighting the opportunities of whisky cask investment and whisky investment returns we meet Harry Watts, a 37-year-old property consultant based in London. Harry has been investing in Scotch with Whisky 1901 since October 2021.

Starting out

After an initial cask investment in a barrel of single malt Scotch whisky from the Ardmore distillery, owned and operated by Beam Suntory, a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings, for around £7,000, Harry later invested in casks from Miltonduff, owned by Pernod Ricard’s Chivas group of distilleries, and Benriach, owned by Brown-Forman, for around £12,000 per barrel.

A whisky enthusiast with a little background knowledge, Harry was in a position to make some informed choices regarding whisky cask investment, with his own personal preferences for peated and smoky whisky playing a part in his decision making.

However, he was also appreciative of the expert advice he received from Whisky 1901’s consultants, all certified by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, particularly around the financial performance and whisky investment returns of the casks.

This resulted in his initial one cask investment quickly growing by another two, taking his total investment portfolio to over £30,000.

Long-term goals

Whisky cask investment is something which Harry rightly views as more of a long-term investment, i.e., five years plus. However, when he wished to release some equity based on the recommendations of Whisky 1901, he was able to do this easily, with returns far exceeding his expectations.

In fact, when selling back his Ardmore cask, Harry saw a return of 19% in just 18 months. Whisky 1901 guarantees a 21 day buy-out clause for anyone wishing to exit the market, under normal circumstances.

Why pursue whisky cask investment?

“I liked the idea of investing in something tangible rather than regular savings accounts or stocks and shares,” Harry explained. “It also could be said that it’s quite a glamorous investment, which I found appealing. I’m not a big investor in other types of savings aside from my pensions, so this is a different kind of financial journey for me.”

He added: “As a property consultant one might imagine I’d invest in bricks and mortar, but the buy-to-let market has become increasingly challenging for those looking to make a profit from rentals in recent years, making this type of passion investment for more appealing.

“I’ve long been a Scotch enthusiast but since investing in casks with Whisky 1901 I’ve expanded my knowledge of my favourite tipple and broadened my taste preferences beyond peated and smoky whiskies. Whisky 1901’s regular tasting events for their customers have certainly helped with this! I’m looking to invest further in the future, and I hope to bottle my own whisky too.”

Why work with Whisky 1901?

“I looked into quite a few different firms and brokers and, after conducting thorough research, I chose Whisky 1901 for their consultative, rather than pressured, approach and the company’s knowledgeable and likeable people,” Harry said.

“Whisky 1901’s consultants, Aaron and Robin, keep in regular contact with me and are very responsive to any queries. They clearly know their stuff when it comes to cask investment. The initial purchase and subsequent resell was simple and I feel confident in knowing that I have all the legal documents in place for full peace of mind,” he added.

Harry follows the performance of his own investment portfolio via his personal online account with Whisky 1901 but is also regularly kept up to date by Founder and Managing Director Aaron as well as Whisky 1901’s other consultants.

With Miltonduff’s 200th anniversary in 2024, Harry will be keeping an even closer eye on his investment, which he believes could offer even greater potential.

What advice do you have for others?

“You’ve got to do some due diligence – and your own background research,” Harry said. “Like with any investment, there is always the possibility that the value can go down as well as up, but with whisky being such an in-demand product, there is plenty of scope for great returns, as has been my personal experience of cask investment. I will certainly continue to grow my portfolio in the future, where possible.”

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