Hi Daniel, First of all, could you please tell us a bit more about yourself, where do you come from and why did you decide to come up with a new whisky auctions website ?
Sure. I was born in raised in Macduff in North East Scotland – a small fishing village which is home of Glen Deveron (Macduff Distillery) and on the doorstep of the Speyside region. Growing up in the region meant we learnt about whisky from a reasonably young age and as I grew older, soon began to build a taste and interest for the spirit. Around about 10 years ago, my brother Craig and I started to build an interest towards collecting and investing in rare whiskies (that we couldn’t afford to drink!!).
Craig and I came up with the idea for the new whisky auction website quite simply because we love whisky and the extended industry. There is something quite mysterious and interesting about the older/rare bottles that we are vey much looking forward to learning even more about. After searching for auctions online to sell some of our own whiskies, we found there may be a business opportunity – given there aren’t any online whisky auction houses located this far North in Scotland (arguably where the best whisky in the world is produced!).
What is your personal relationship with whisky? How did you get into it, what is your personal favourite?
I guess I got into whisky just as a result of growing up around it. There are only so many distilleries you can pass in the car before being very intrigued as to what the big deal is all about!
Haha – I don’t like being asked the ‘personal favourite’ question as it’s too difficult. To pick a favourite out of the numerous variations I’ve tried would be impossible and unfair. But to give some feel for my taste – Speyside is my favourite region – I really enjoy the 18yo Macallan Sherry Wood from time to time, also The Glenlivet Nadurra series is great, BenRiach 15yo Pedro Ximenez Sherry Cask…. the list goes on. Looking further afield – and considering Japanese whiskies… Yamazaki 18yo is probably one of the best drams I’ve encountered.
Whisky auction websites are getting more and more popular amongst worldwide whisky enthusiasts, how would you explain this trend ?
In my opinion, the increasing popularity of whisky auctions is mainly as a result of:
1) Increasing worldwide interest in whisky, and lack of availability worldwide to meet increasing interest and demand – 50 years ago nobody anticipated the level of global interest for whisky that we see today.
2) Whisky is seen as an alternative investment – traditional investments are much more boring, and returns from top performing bottles are outperforming returns seen with traditional investments.
3) Existing whisky lovers can now see more than one way to enjoy the spirit – drink, collect, or invest are all plausible options!
What will make Whisky Hammer different from its competitors ?
We have a number of ideas being developed that we do not want to give away just yet (stay tuned!), but I can guarantee that you will not be disappointed with the look and functionality of website as well as the service that Whisky Hammer will offer. More generally speaking, we will offer the most competitive auctioneers fees available on the internet as well as international shipping at competitive rates.
In terms of whisky investment, what advices could you give us, which brands/bottlings/distilleries have the most potential?
Most importantly, make sure you learn and understand whisky. Develop the taste and explore the various regions, scents and flavours. Attend tastings and talk to experts.
If you then decide to expand your hobby into an investment – ensure you treat it like any other investment that involves some risk and reward. There are very limited ‘dead certs’ in life.
As a general rule of thumb, focus on picking up truly ‘limited edition’ (preferably numbered) bottles from the top, well known and renowned distilleries such as The Macallan, Balvenie and The Dalmore. Also keep your eyes peeled for bottles from ‘silent distilleries’ bottles which are no longer producing, such as Brora and Port Ellen.
I tend to think whisky has been made to be cracked open, sipped, and shared. I guess you did your market research before going live with Whisky Hammer; what can you tell us about “sellers” profiles? Are they buying bottles for collection, investment or pure enjoyment ? What would be the profile of the average whisky auctionner and has this profile changed over the past few years ?
I can’t speak on behalf of everyone selling at auction, but I would guess most investors and collectors have a similar perspective as I do towards whisky. I agree fully that most whisky has to be cracked open, sipped and shared – but when we begin to collect bottles, maybe as one-off purchases for a special occasion or received as gifts – the collected bottles may start to hold some sentimental value as well as monetary value. Arguably most of these bottles also end up being shared with special people, on special occasions, but if we start to see investment benefits from our collections then we are suddenly getting the benefit from the excitement of collecting, tasting and investment returns all in one hobby – superb. This realisation has increased over the last few years – people are now finding it enjoyable managing all 3 aspects of whisky – drink, collect, invest.
Finally, how do you see the future for you and Whisky Hammer, any new project in the pipeline? A crazy dream you’d like to achieve ?
In terms of project pipeline – we are already thinking of ways to enhance and diversify our ideas in order to make the business as useful for our users as possible. Our ambitions for Whisky Hammer are high and we hope to be able to offer the best selling experience for those parting with bottles, as well as the finest selection of vintage, rare and discounted collectables for buyers. No crazy dreams as such – one thing at a time!
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