How to Build a Whisky Collection

How to Build a Whisky Collection

How to Build a Whisky Collection

A whisky collection oft begins organically – amassing bottles on our worldly adventures, mementos of an enjoyable experience or perhaps a gift from a loved one. But, when it comes to acquiring a curated selection of luxury Scotch Whisky, the upfront investment involves some weighty consideration.

The world of rare whisky is diverse. From private cask investment to distillery-exclusive whiskies, the scope of choice can leave even a seasoned connoisseur feeling more than a little overwhelmed. What makes a bottle rare – and moreover, what makes it worth the personal investment? We look at the key features to be mindful of when appraising a prospective bottle.


The motivations for collecting whisky can vary – from taste, to obtaining a particular vintage or age statement to celebrate a landmark moment. But, when considering well-aged Scotch Whisky, there are certain tell-tale signs that can indicate the rarity of the expression in question.

Are there many bottles readily available? A single cask, or highly aged whisky is unlikely to have an excessive number of siblings. Consider the outturn of the expression you are considering as an indicator of rarity – for instance, just 209 bottles exist of The Accelerator and The Brake, a 33-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky, an expert blend made in tribute to whisky pioneers, Charles and Sandy Gordon – a true piece of distilling history.   

Another consideration on rarity is the question of whether a whisky could be replicated today – and in the instance of some rare Scotch whiskies, this would simply not be possible due to distillery closures. The Lost Estate, a 43-Year-Old Blended Grain Scotch Whisky, is a shining example of this – a rich, estery release, combining grain components from two, now-closed distilleries – rare in its point of origin, but even rarer in its blending.

A gloved concierge pours a bottle of whisky.


The provenance of a whisky in itself can elevate its rarity, and in turn make a compelling purchase for a suitably stocked rare whisky collection. Even although blends offer component parts from many whisky regions and distilleries, purveyors of rare whisky should always be able to offer insight into the origins of the blend.

What kind of cues should I look for? Any whisky maker should be able to go into detail about how a whisky came to be blended, or the unique circumstances on how it was crafted – for instance, in the case of Blended At Birth, a 1965 Vintage Blended Scotch Whisky, the origins can be traced to whisky making methods, involving the blending of new make, which are no longer in use today due to Scotch Whisky legislation – making it most likely the first, and very last of its kind, a rare treasure indeed.


Beyond regional provenance and even whisky making style, whiskies which offer unique and interesting stories can be representative of pivotal moments in Scotch and broader history, making them a compelling addition to any whisky collection.

A fine example of this is the Spirit of Scotland, a 46-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky, that could be considered the embodiment of its name. Originally blended in 1994 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the oldest recorded reference to Scotch, a small, select parcel was side lined for a secondary maturation of 28 years, becoming one of the few remaining relics of a momentous national celebration.

A person offers a bottle of whisky



With many rare whiskies, liquid outturn is so scarce that samples are rarely readily available. For this reason, many collectors will need to turn to authoritative figures to help assess the quality of a whisky they are considering adding to the collection.

Where can I find third-party endorsement? Opinion leaders and influencers may be able to offer solid insight and consulting reputable publications is also a great place to start. A quick search can yield instant results – for instance, this excerpt from respected journalist Joseph V Micallef, writing for Forbes, shared his insight on the House of Hazelwood range:

“The inaugural release of House of Hazelwood’s whiskies is outstanding. Pity that some of these experiments didn’t see the light of day until now. The quantities are limited, and it’s inevitable that once the initial release quantity is exhausted, you’ll never have another chance to acquire these whiskies, except perhaps at sharply higher prices on the secondary auction market. These whiskies are a priceless and irreplaceable bit of Scotch whisky history. Grab a taste if you can. You won’t have a second chance!”

Prestigious awards by authoritative publications such as Whisky Magazine, can also confirm the quality within – for instance, The Lowlander, a 36-Year-Old Blended Scotch Whisky, which was recognised with the Whisky Magazine Editor’s Choice Award (Issue 198), described by judges as “a complex and beautifully balanced old blend."

A bottle of whisky sits on a table. The label is on display.


If you’re likely to favour a particular style of Scotch within your whisky collection, take the opportunity to explore the diversity of flavour that highly aged whisky can offer.

For instance, Speyside-lovers will be pleasantly surprised by the presentation of Sunshine on Speyside, a 39-Year-Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, which as the name suggests is composed entirely of Speyside components. Unlike its peers, it steps away from the meaty, sulphuric, and heavily sherried style typically associated with the region - instead, the palate is remarkably bright and tropical, presenting notes of charred fruit and fresh pineapple – making it a highly unusual and rare expression of the region.

What if I only drink Single Malt Scotch Whisky? Those devoted to a style of whisky, such as Single Malt, are invited to challenge perceptions in the endeavour of building a rare whisky collection – and encouraged to explore the merits of when malt components of different distilleries are married together, to create a nuanced, elevated expression. A great example of how a skilled blender can utilise many components to create a whisky that rivals its single malt counterpart is A Trail of Smoke, a 42-Year-Old Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, described as a showcase for the very best of the Scottish Islands. Utilising the signature characteristics of the Scottish Islands, peat and sweet notes are brought together to create an elegant and balanced use of smoke which would otherwise been difficult to replicate.

How to Build a Whisky Collection – A Note on Preference

Although any prospecting collector will consider rarity cues such as provenance and diversity when planning a purchase, any whisky collection should be fundamentally built on one element – personal preference. Scotch Whisky should always bring joy to the collector. 

If you are seeking a particular style, vintage, or age statement to add to your rare whisky collection, the expansive stocks of House of Hazelwood await. Looking for a recommendation? Simply reach out to our customer service team, who will be delighted to help.

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