The Single Malt Fund Trading Company

31 October, 2022

2022 – Q3 Whisky Investment and Market Report

Welcome to the Q3 2022 Single Malt Fund Trading Ltd report, where we comment on the latest developments in the rare whisky as well as broader industry markets and give an update on our trading operations. 

Industry news

Despite geopolitical uncertainty, inflation pressures and reduced consumer spending power, most of the big groups in the spirits world, continue to report strong results, with whisky sales at the heart of their numbers. Premiumisation is a key factor to performances as is, presumably, the ability to secure long term supply partnerships and benefit from strong purchasing power. That strong financial position is also allowing these groups to press ahead with major capital expenditure projects, notably in the building of new distilleries, thus ramping up production to catch up with demand.

Pernod Ricard released its sales and results for Q1 FY23, with sales totalling €3,308 million and an organic growth of +11%.

China and India saw strong growth, with Europe also dynamic thanks to a tourist driven improvement in the on trade. Travel retail is also rebounding. Alexandre Ricard, chairman and CEO, said: “Our performance continues to be broad-based with growth across many markets and diversified across our portfolio with all our spirit segments in double digit growth. 

“Within a context which remains challenging and volatile, as for every business, we continue to actively invest to support our unique competitive advantages and fuel our future growth,” Ricard added. Diversified double-digit growth was seen across all spirits segments, with +12% growth driven by Scotch, Jameson, Absolut, Beefeater and Martell, and +13% driven by the growth of Seagram’s Whiskies. “We expect this dynamic growth to continue through FY23, demonstrating the strength of our strategy and the dedication and full engagement of our teams around the world”. 

Q2 Highlights

• Industry news
• Rare Whisky 101 report
• Auction update
• Trading update

Beam Suntory reports strong first-half performance driven by premium brands.

A strong performance in key markets saw Beam Suntory’s net sales increase by 13% year-on-year in the first half of 2022, a 25% increase on the pre-pandemic period in 2019. Sales grew at more than twice the rate of volumes, an indication that Beam Suntory’s premiumisation agenda is paying dividends.

“The fact that we were able to deliver these strong results in a challenging period underscores the resilience of our markets, quality of our brands, and the significant impact of our premiumization strategy,” said Albert Baladi, president, and chief executive of Beam Suntory. The company recently announced a $400 million investment in its Booker Noe distillery in Boston, Kentucky.

Diageo Trading comment – Oct 

Ivan Menezes, Chief Executive, announced; “We have made a good start to fiscal 23, with organic net sales growth across all regions, reflecting our advantaged portfolio, our continued investment in brand building and our agile supply chain and culture. We expect the operating environment to remain challenging with ongoing volatility due to geopolitical uncertainty, a weakening of consumer spending power, inflationary pressures and disruption related to Covid-19. However, I am confident in the resilience of our business and our ability to navigate these headwinds while executing our strategic priorities, including our ambitious 2030 sustainability plan.

We remain well-positioned to deliver our medium-term guidance for fiscal 23 to fiscal 25 of organic net sales growth consistently in the range of 5% to 7% and organic operating profit growth sustainably in the range of 6% to 9%.”

In a separate release in September, Diageo also updated us on plans for a new distillery in Scotland. “Earlier this year Diageo announced plans to invest £1 billion in expanding its malt whisky production capacity in Scotland to meet growing global demand for our brands.” Three sites in Speyside, adjacent to existing distilleries at Teannich, Glendullan and Inchgower have been shortlisted for the new distillery.

Rare Whisky Q3 results

The Rare Whisky 101 Apex 1000, the barometer of the UK auction market for rare whisky bottles, was unable to build on the strong start to the year, with a slight decline of 0.6% in Q3. It seems like, with some notable exceptions, the slowdown was at the top end of the market, with the Icon 100 index declining by 3.2%. The Japanese index continued to grow outperform all other indices, although the pace of growth at 3% is slowing.  

At brand level, a swing from -11% in the case of Brora to a whopping +19% for Balvenie shows that volatility is increasing. The big guns of Macallan, Yamazaki and Karuizawa continue to lead the way this year, showing that the very top end iconic brands remain in much demand, even though prices may be softening. Glendronach and Glenfarclas performed well in Q3, which suggests that brands with a strong use of sherry cask finishes are increasingly popular.

Auction Update

Sothebys held six auctions in quarter three, which returned $7.8 million in sales. As ever, the auctions were dominated by high end Macallans along with some prized collections from Karuizawa, Hibiki and Yamazaki. Notable among these auctions was the sale of the oldest whisky in the world, a Macallan 81-year-old, which sold for GBP 300,000.

Bonhams had two auctions in the quarter, one in Hong Kong and one in London. The Hong Kong sale was, not surprisingly, dominated by Japanese bottles from Hanyu and Karuizawa. However, it was a bottle of Glenfiddich 50-year-old which stole the show, selling for between $25,000 and $32,000. In London, there was an interesting range of bottles on offer, notably from Springbank and Ardbeg, with, of course, The Macallan also dominant. Again, as expected, it was a Macallan that came out on top; a 50-year-old sold for GBP 50,000. Sothebys held six auctions in quarter three, which returned $7.8 million in sales. As ever, the auctions were dominated by high end Macallans along with some prized collections from Karuizawa, Hibiki and Yamazaki. Notable among these auctions was the sale of the oldest whisky in the world, a Macallan 81-year-old, which sold for GBP 300,000.

Bonhams had two auctions in the quarter, one in Hong Kong and one in London. The Hong Kong sale was, not surprisingly, dominated by Japanese bottles from Hanyu and Karuizawa. However, it was a bottle of Glenfiddich 50-year-old which stole the show, selling for between $25,000 and $32,000. In London, there was an interesting range of bottles on offer, notably from Springbank and Ardbeg, with, of course, The Macallan also dominant. Again, as expected, it was a Macallan that came out on top; a 50-year-old sold for GBP 50,000.

Index Q1 Q2 Q3 YTD
RW Apex 100 5.2% 3.9% -0.6% 8.7%
RW Icon 100 11.5% 3.4% -3.2% 11.7%
Japan 100 9.0% 3.9% 3.0% 16.6%
Single Grain 2.2% 4.2% 0.2% 6.7%
Ardbeg 1.2% 8.4% 0.9% 10.7%
Balvenie -0.3% -2.0% 19.3% 16.5%
Bowmore 5.4% -2.7% 1.3% 3.8%
Brora 12.2% -0.6% -11.0% -1.0%
Bruichladdich -7.7% 17.7% -8.6% -0.8%
Bunnahabhain 2.0% 10.7% -2.8% 9.7%
Caol Ila 10.1% 1.1% -7.0% 3.5%
Clynelish 1.3% -2.6% -1.9% -3.1%
Dalmore 0.6% -4.9% -0.9% -5.2%
Karuizawa 10.9% 6.9% 5.5% 25.0%
Glendronach 3.4% 8.0% 12.4% 25.4%
Glenfarclas 0.3% -0.3% 6.2% 6.3%
Glenfiddich 1.9% -0.5% 2.6% 4.0%
Glenlivet 4.2% -3.6% 0.9% 1.3%
Glenmorangie -1.1% 4.5% -5.1% -1.9%
Highland Park 4.8% 1.0% -0.2% 5.7%
Lagavulin -2.0% 3.9% -1.1% 0.7%
Laphroaig 3.3% 6.6% -6.6% 2.8%
Macallan 12.6% 4.3% 5.9% 24.3%
Port Ellen 5.2% 2.7% 2.5% 10.7%
Rosebank 6.5% -6.5% -5.5% -5.9%
Springbank 5.8% 0.8% 2.1% 8.8%
Talisker 11.8% 10.0% 2.6% 26.2%
Yamazaki 10.9% 35.9% 6.8% 61.0%

The Single Malt Fund Trading Activities in Q4 2021

Another strong quarter for our webshop, www.thesinglemaltshop.com, which continues to build momentum. For the year to end September, we processed 2,440 orders on our site, delivering 4,250 bottles to 1,782 customers across 20 countries. On average, each order contained 1.7 bottles, with a value of €398. The average bottle value was €228. To date, our customers have shopped, on average, 1.4 times with us.

The highlight of Q3 was the launch of our next exclusive single cask bottling. This time it was a very special, highly exclusive 50-year-old from Linkwood distillery, bottled by Gordon & Macphail. Given the rarity of this bottle and the amazing liquid, we made a big deal of this launch; we collaborated with Whisky Magazine, the world’s biggest specialist whisky publication, and then held a very special launch event in London to mark the launch. This was attended by press, trade partners and several high-net-worth individuals and was supported by Gordon & Macphail. The highlight of the evening, held at Boisdale of Belgravia, was a tasting by Charlie Maclean, the world’s most notorious whisky writer. A very special first public event in the UK for www.thesinglemaltshop.com.    

Our Facebook fan page has increased from 28,000 at the end of Q1 to over 42,000 at the time of writing this report. Our e mail database continues steadily every week. 

Purchasing in quarter three focused on extending our Irish whiskey offer and on building up stocks of brands, such as Redbreast, which are expected to be in short supply on a global scale in the months to come. 

 We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our suppliers and partners for all their support and look forward to ending 2022 on a high. 

Slainte!

Ed Forrest
Managing Director – The Single Malt Fund Trading Ltd.

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27 July, 2022

Yellow Spot single cask

The first ever Yellow Spot Single Cask. Harking back to the golden age of Irish Whiskey bonding, with 13 years in bourbon and re-casked into a Malaga cask. A nose of sweet cherries, vanilla and honeycomb, that leads into a silky palate of orchard fruits, treacle and delicate chocolate. A long warming finish. Simply wonderful.

27 July, 2022

Glenallachie Billie Walker 50th anniversary release

In celebration of Master Distiller Billy Walker’s half-century long career in the whisky industry, we are delighted to unveil the first in The Past, Present and Future Series: The GlenAllachie 50th Anniversary Past Edition.

27 July, 2022

Talisker 25-year-old

Shaped by ancient terrain, our volcanic nature reveals a new facet, every time the elements hit. Talisker 25 Year Old invites you to taste the earthy richness over and over as an enduring power echoes. A limited edition offering which makes the perfect gift or toast to a special occasion.

27 July, 2022

The Macallan Sherry Oak 25 years old

The Macallan Sherry Oak 25 years old forms part of our Sherry Oak range which features a series of single malt whiskies matured in hand-picked sherry seasoned oak casks from Jerez for richness and complexity. This special single malt delivers an intensely rich and full flavour character, citrus, dried fruits and wood smoke.

27 July, 2022

Glen Scotia 46 Year Old

The 46 year old marks our oldest release to date, with only 150 individually numbered bottles available worldwide. Originally laid down in refill bourbon casks. The finest have been carefully selected and re-casked in first-fill bourbon, before being finished in a single first-fill oloroso hogshead.

29 April, 2022

The GlenDronach 18YO Allardice

Named after the distillery founder this Highland whisky was matured in Oloroso casks and is another fine example of the sherry complexity that GlenDronach excels in.

Check availability at thesinglemaltshop.com

29 April, 2022

Midleton Very Rare 2022

Combining whiskey aged between 12 and 33 years this Midleton Very Rare 2022 is the latest release from the pinnacle collection in Irish Whiskey. With delicate floral notes and vanilla on the nose, the palate releases caramelised apples and orange zest. The soft oak finish leaves you wanting more.

Check availability at thesinglemaltshop.com

29 April, 2022

Caol Ila 24 YO 175th Anniversary

To celebrate the 175th anniversary of the opening of the distillery, this limited edition 24 year old Caol Ila has aromas that remind you of a campfire along with subtle spice notes. The palate is honied with light smoke.

Check availability at thesinglemaltshop.com

9 August, 2021

Brora Triptych

Brora Triptych is a truly special one – assembling a set of the three eras that epitomise Brora. Each liquid a celebration of restoration and an ode to the rare characteristics that define Brora whisky; waxy, peated and earthy. A collection of three vintages that define Brora never before released at once, this is a true collector’s piece.

9 August, 2021

Suntory Hibiki 30 Years Old

Suntory shines again! Of all the Hibiki bottles, the Hibiki 30 Years Old is the cream of the crop. It was awarded at the International Spirits Challenge in 2004, 2006, and 2008, and received the coveted title of “World’s Best Blended Whisky” at the World Whiskies Award in 2007 and 2008. Comprising of grain and malt whiskies aged for 30 years and over, a dram doesn’t get much better than this.

9 August, 2021

Midleton Silent Distillery 46 Year Old

The second release in the Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Collection is a 46-year-old single pot still Irish whiskey distilled in 1973 and matured in a single third-fill bourbon barrel. Aromas of apples, pears, lemon, oak spice, hazelnuts and worn leather fill the nose, complemented by notes of sweet red berries, star anise, ginger, malt and grapefruit throughout the palate and lingering in the finish.

30 April, 2021

Littlemill 29YO

Littlemill 29-year-old is the third release from the Private Cellar Collection, each crafted by Master Blender Michael Henry in Littlemill’s traditional Lowland ‘floral’ style. This latest release places emphasis on developing the wood character and only 600 bottles will be released across the world.

30 April, 2021

Karuizawa Noh 1981

Karuizawa is the gold standard of rare Japanese whisky. The distillery closed its doors in 2011, although it had not been producing whisky for over a decade. This bottle from the Noh series is from a single cask, distilled in 1981 and bottled 31 years later from single sherry butt #348. A very rare Karuizawa, with only 207 bottles ever released.

30 April, 2021

Glen Scotia 30 Year Old

Glen Scotia has gone and released another well-matured Campbeltown single malt – this time, they’ve bottled up an excellent 30 year old expression! It was drawn from European oak casks and bottled up at cask strength, with only 500 bottles produced. Incredible stuff from a marvellous distillery.

30 April, 2021

1988 Middleton Very Rare

The Midleton Very Rare series is incredibly popular with collectors and many are seeking to complete an entire range with every year spanning 1984 to the present day. Some vintages are harder to find than other. None more so than 1988, which is the real unicorn amongst Midleton Very Rares.

31 January, 2021

Black Bowmore 1964

The third of the three extraordinary Oloroso cask 1964 Bowmores released in the mid-1990s, this final batch was of 1812 bottles. With an almost unfathomable concentration and intensity of flavour, and with the perfect balance of fruit, peat and power, this whisky deserves the frequently overused ‘legendary’ tag and has assumed almost mythic status amongst whisky collectors and aficionados.

31 January, 2021

The Macallan 1984 18 YO Sherry Oak

An old, classic presentation of the 18-year-old Macallan, distilled in 1984 and exclusively matured in sherry oak casks from Jerez de la Frontera, this one’s a beaut. Bottled at 43%, the desirable vintage showcases plenty of sherry influence, as expected, as well as signature Speyside notes.

31 January, 2021

Port Ellen 1978 2nd release

The second in Diageo’s series of annual Port Ellen bottlings, using the remaining stocks of this closed distillery. 12000 bottles were released in 2002 as a 24 year old whisky. Clean, sweet, powerful and smoky, this another classic Port Ellen expression that has a delicacy and less oaky style than other contemporary Islays.

31 January, 2021

The Dalmore Constellation Collection

A series of 21 vintage Single Cask Whiskies created in the Highland distillery between the years 1964 and 1992, and bottled at natural cask strengh.

31 January, 2021

Mortlach 35 Year Old 1936 – Connoisseurs Choice

A rare 35 year old Mortlach that was distilled in 1936 and bottled by Gordon & MacPhail as part of their Connoisseurs Choice range in the early 1970’s and this was an Italian import bottling.

31 January, 2021

Old Rip Van Winkle 25-Year-Old Bourbon

Distilled in the spring and fall of 1989 and stored on lower levels of a metal warehouse built in 1935 at the Van Winkle family distillery. In 2002 the barrels found a new home at Buffalo Trace and in 2014 the juice was dumped into stainless steel tanks to halt the aging process. And now, it’s ready for release. But only 11 barrels made the full trip, resulting in a mere 710 bottles.

31 January, 2021

The Glenfarclas Family cask collection

A custom-made cabinet in the form of a travel trunk, this extremely-limited collection contains fifty 200ml bottles, sampling every single Glenfarclas Family Cask vintage from 1954 until 2003.

31 January, 2021

Yamazaki 50 Year Old

Matured in the finest Japanese mizunara oak casks, the 50 year old is thought to be the oldest expression available from the distillery, which was established in 1923 by Shinjiro Torii.

16 November, 2020

Midleton Dair Ghaelach Bluebell Forest Tree 6

Composed of Single Pot Still whiskey between 12-23 years old and matured initially in American oak barrels. This gorgeous whiskey is finished in native virgin Irish oak casks. These casks have been sourced from Bluebell Forest, Castle Blunden Estate in County Kilkenny. Every bottle can be traced back to one of six different 130 year old Irish oak trees that were sustainably felled.

16 November, 2020

Midleton Very Rare 2018

The 2018 edition of the Midleton Very Rare vintages is a luscious whiskey and it comes in the new and suitably lavish packaging and bottle. Smooth, with notes of vanilla and fruit, it has a rich spicy pot still finish. Yet another fine example of the stunning quality coming out of Irelands leading distillery.

16 November, 2020

Midleton Very Rare 2017

From the most sought after collection in Irish whiskey comes this 2017 edition of the Midleton Very Rare Vintages. It comes in the last of the old- style packaging. It is a complex fruity whiskey, that culminates with a long spicy finish, a true pot still character.

16 November, 2020

Redbreast 27

After nearly 3 decades resting in casks that once held bourbon, sherry and ruby port comes the oldest ever release from Redbreast whiskey. The brand that continues to win the most prestigious awards for Irish whiskey has now created a stunningly rich and intense pot still whiskey. One of the pinnacles of whiskey from the island of Ireland.

16 November, 2020

Midleton Very Rare 1973 30 Year Old

Released in 2003 as a limited edition aged in three types of barrels- American oak, oloroso sherry butts, and port pipes. This special edition was carefully assembled by former master distiller Barry Crockett from some of the last remaining pot still whiskys from the Old Midleton Distillery. Only 800 bottles were made available.

We have secured the last remaining bottles from Irish Distillers, of this Midleton release.

16 November, 2020

Midleton 20th Anniversary Bottling

This is a commemorative edition issued on the 20th anniversary of the launch of the flagship Midleton Very Rare whisky. It is bottled at cask strength. The bottle comes with two crystal glasses with which to enjoy your whisky. Only 400 bottles were produced.

We have secured the last remaining bottles from Irish Distillers, of this Midleton release.

16 November, 2020

Dalmore 35 Year Old and Dalmore 40 Year Old

Thanks to our friends at Whyte & Mackay, we have taken up their offer of a few of these rare bottlings of this iconic distillery. 

Released in 2016 and bottled at 40% abv, Dalmore 35 has aged in a Bourbon barrel, a Matusalem Sherry butt, and a colheita Port pipe.  

Dalmore 40, released in 2017 from the Highland distillery has matured in American white oak ex-bourbon barrels, before aging further in 30-year-old Gonzalez Byass Matusalem Oloroso Sherry butts. The whisky was then finished in first-fill Bourbon barrels.

French crystal house Baccarat was enlisted to design the hand-blown decanters, each decorated with The Dalmore’s 12-point stag emblem, which was created by Royal Warrant holders Hamilton & Inches.

These bottles are highly sought after by collectors world-wide. 

thesinglemaltfund.com

The Single Malt Fund AB (publ)

Business ID: 559118-4949

ISIN: SE0010547299

AIF-Trustee: Finserve Nordic AB

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