Starting a Whisky collection is no mean feat. You want to get the right balance of old and new, single malt and blends, and of course a nice international spread is always necessary.
So where do you begin? Do you go to Tesco or a more specialist shop? And at what stage can you actually call yourself a collector?
We’ve created a short list of five whisky tips that you can get you can get your Whisky collection off the ground without having to stress.
1. What do you like to drink
Don’t automatically assume that every bottle of top shelf Whisky is going to be worth adding to your collection. Start off with what you like. If you don’t, you run the risk of getting bored and wasting all your money on bottles that you’re not even interested in. If you know what your favourite dram is, buy it and go from there. It is also worth noting how your favourite drams may be linked by taste, and then you can explore some more expensive bottles that have a similar flavour profile. At least if your collection is for investment and your purchases don’t increase in value, you know you are happy to drink it!
2. Know what is good and why
The truth is that there is good and bad Whisky, and typically the good stuff is what you want to have in your Whisky collection. Chances are you have been into Whisky for a while, so you’ll automatically know what is worth investing in, but it does no harm in learning more about certain brands and what makes them so popular. Are they popular because they’re a good mixer or because they have a complex flavour profile? Was a particular cask used, is it a limited edition bottling and a festival bottling? All these things add interest and often value to the release.
3. Educate yourself in the art of tasting
Go to live tastings with experts and try your own at home. It can never hurt to know more about what you’re drinking and a better developed palate will mean you can decipher whether or not you want to invest in a bottle pretty immediately. It will also give you an edge once you move into buying more expensive bottles since you’ll be able to tell by taste whether or not they are actually worth your money. Plus isn’t this why we’re all interested in whisky…to drink it?
4. Know your budget
Don’t be too quick to spend all your money in one go. Take time to reflect on how much you want to spend and whether or not you want to be able to make money back at the end of it. It is possible to make money on collecting Whisky, but in this case it is essential to know that what you’re buying is worth it. Or maybe you don’t want to make money on Whisky, you simply want to collect. Knowing your budget will give you the power to say yes or no to bottles pretty quickly and will allow you to keep your eye out for bargains in your price range. Remember to stick to your budget, there will always be bottles that are rarer, more collectable or promise to taste incredible but if you can’t afford don’t worry there will more than likely be other alternatives at your price range, it’ll just take more research (and tasting – again what we’re doing this for!)
5. Learn from others
Plenty of people have gone before you to start a Whisky collection, so seek them out and learn from them. Maybe contact a friend who has done it or read up online. It also helps to learn from Whisky experts, as this will give you a more rounded knowledge into the drink and what makes a good Whisky.
Also published on Medium.