Over the last few decades, the market for exceptionally old and rare single-malt Scotch whiskies has offered few—if any—opportunities for enthusiasts and collectors to acquire a sought-after bottle at a favorable price. The Whisky Foundation, an independent bottler of Scotch whisky that was founded in 2016, has just changed that, launching The Reserve, a service that offers unique bottles for fluctuating prices based on demand.
Think of it as a stock market for whisky. When a new bottle is listed, it enters the market for $1, which means at least one fortunate enthusiast will get a rare bottle of whisky for an unbelievable price. Through The Reserve, The Whisky Foundation is selling all bottlings from a single cask, which means consumers will have hundreds of opportunities to buy a bottle of a specific whisky. However, after the first bottle sells, the price rises automatically and will continue to rise each time a bottle is sold. As the independent bottler explains on its website, “The higher the demand, the higher the price.”
The first whisky introduced to the market, a 24-Year-Old Springbank, christened the new service on Thursday, November 23. In less than 3 minutes, five bottles sold, starting at $1. The price then jumped to $95, $205, and $275 before falling to $225. Similar to The Reserve’s automatic price increases, when a predetermined amount of time passes without a bottle sold, the whisky’s price is automatically reduced. Nearing the end of its first week on the market, the 24-Year-Old Springbank sold for as much as $645.64 per bottle, with a daily low of $357.78. In total, 244 bottles will eventually be sold.
When asked about the inspiration behind this new service, Liam Hiller, The Whisky Foundation’s brand ambassador, said, “The price of old and rare whisky has responded to demand in a very visible way in recent years, but it happens over such a long period of time. We thought it’d be far more exciting to independently bottle a whisky from an amazing distillery, throw it into the market, and watch how the price rises and falls, in real time. It really shows how in-demand fine and rare whisky is right now and what collectible items these bottles can be. On top of that, we’re giving our fans the opportunity to get their hands on a cracking whisky for a fraction of its recommended retail price.
“We’d love to launch our second whisky on The Reserve within the next couple of months and keep them coming regularly after that,” Hiller continued. “All the whiskies are hand-selected for quality, so we’ll only launch when we’re happy with the bottles we can offer.”