Investment Tips - Whisky - 25. April 2024

Gap In The Market Offers Attractive Potential For Iconic Lagavulin 12 YO

Just a few years ago, the market price of Lagavulin 12 YO was around 40% higher than it is today. It would be strange that...

Lagavulin: A Scotch Icon From The Island Of Islay

For lovers of Scotch single malt, Lagavulin is simply unmissable. Lagavulin, pronounced ‘lagga-voo-lin’, is derived from the Gaelic Laggan Mhoulling, meaning ‘hole by the mill’.

Surrounded by beautiful countryside, the distillery is located in the south of Islay, right next to the other two famous Islay distilleries Ardbeg and Laphroaig, in a small, sheltered bay overlooking the ruins of Dunyveg Castle. Lagavulin is considered one of the oldest distilleries on the island, but although it is believed that whisky was produced in the area as early as 1742, Lagavulin only received its license for legal production in 1816.

Interestingly, the original distillery founded by John Johnston was called Kildalton, but the year after Kildalton was established, a second distillery was built next to it. The new distillery was named Lagavulin, and in 1837 the two merged to form the current Lagavulin.

Lagavulin's popularity took off in the 1890s when Peter Mackie, the owner of the distillery at the time, used Lagavulin as the main ingredient in his White Horse blend - a blend that is still going strong today and that most people have probably seen at one time or another. At the age of 23, he started working for his uncle James Logan Mackie at Mackie & Co. Around 1890, a new company called Mackie & Co (Distillers) was established, where Peter Mackie became a partner. Under his leadership, the company grew to become one of the great whisky producers of the time, thanks to his insistence on consistent quality and the distinctive profile of the whisky.

Peter Mackie became a legendary figure in the whisky industry and is considered one of the industry's great pioneers.

In 1925, Lagavulin was added to the Distillers Company, now known as Diageo - the world's largest spirits producer with a distinguished portfolio of Scotch single malts, including other icons such as Port Ellen, Johnny Walker and Talisker. In other words, it is a gigantic machine that has a huge interest in spreading and increasing the world's love for Scotland's golden, refined drops.

Lagavulin 12 YO

Diageo Special Release And Other Important Lagavulin Releases

This article is about Lagavulin 12 YO The Ink of Legends, part of Diageo's 2023 Special Release.

Special Release is an annual series of specially selected expressions from Diageo's spectacular portfolio of prestige whisky. Special expressions from closed distilleries, never-before-released age expressions, experimental cask use, etc. All cask strength and in limited releases only under the Special Release label.

The Special Release series has previously featured releases from Convalmore and Brora, 50 YO Glenury Royal, and several non-age statement releases.

Lagavulin is far from a rare guest in these ranges, with releases ranging from 8 YO to 21 YO and including several 12 YO editions.

Another notable Lagavulin is the distillery's 16 YO, which in 1988 was selected as one of the six original ‘Classic Malts of Scotland’ - a series that still stands to this day as a benchmark of what Scotch single malts are*.

In other words, Lagavulin is strongly represented in the Scotch single malt heritage, a benchmark in its class and undeniably part of the core Diageo portfolio.

*The original range of Classic Malts of Scotland includes: Lagavulin 16 YO, Glenkinchie 10 YO, Dalwhinnie 15 YO, Cragganmore 12 YO, Oban 14 YO, and Talisker 10 YO.

Lagavulin 12 YO

Why Invest In Lagavulin?

While the praise for Lagavulin is queuing up in the global whisky world (especially because they simply make a great dram), it's the investment aspect that we're here to talk about.

Lagavulin 12 YO has the characteristics to move well into the realm of investment whisky; it is from an iconic distillery with great historical demand, it is from a limited release, it is cask strenght (not watered down, it is the concentrated liquid), and it has an age statement.

The foundation is solid, but this is not where the most interesting argument for investment lies.

It is the price point, historical prices, and prices of previous 12 YO releases that make this case particularly interesting.

Just a few years ago, Lagavulin 12 YO was happily trading around €100* in RareWine Trading - not as a one-off, but as a bread and butter product. But because the market is the way it is, and has gone into a kind of sleepy wait-and-see mode, we can now offer Lagavulin 12 YO 2023 for just €73* - a very attractive price because:

  • Just a few years ago, the effective market price was around 40% higher than your investment price - and the basic premise has not changed. The product is still just as cool. Lagavulin has not become uncool. When liquidity returns to the market in earnest, there is no reason why the price should not return to this level - and higher over time.
  • The cheapest prices on for Lagavulin 12 YO 2023 start from € 95*, while the average asking price is € 166*. This is based on bulk bottles. The cheapest price per bottle in full cases (of which there are only three offers on the platform) is €124.5*.
  • Looking back at a Lagavulin 12 YO that has been on the market for about five years (2018 release), lowest prices for loose bottles on (with the exception of one slightly suspect US offer at €68*) start at €106*, while the average asking price across the 37 available offers is €197*.
  • Going back to the 2013 release of Lagavulin 12 YO, the two cheapest loose bottles are €138* and €159* respectively, while there are no whole cases available.
  • The lowest prices of Lagavulin 12 YO, which have five and 10 years on the market, are 45% and 89-118% higher than your investment price, respectively. However, it should be remembered that the two respective releases are released at lower prices than the 2023 release is. For example, the average asking price of Lagavulin 12 YO 2013 has more than tripled over the past 10 years (+216.3%).

A temporarily cornered spirits market offers a very attractive entry point to an investment case with a very interesting history.

Lagavulin 12 YO

Rarewine Invest's Opinion

Lagavulin has a rich history and deservedly stands as one of the icons of Scotch single malts, beautifully representing the distinctive Islay style.

With Lagavulin, you do not need crystal decanters wrapped in hand-crafted artwork or generations-old releases. Lagavulin just makes great whisky with no fuss - simple as that.

But the investment potential in particular is that you can just buy in at an incredibly low price - both compared to what they have been widely traded in the past, what the cheapest prices on currently are, while the older releases have delivered very good returns.

If you believe that the spirits market will one day, see normalisation again, and if you believe that there is a market for a good dram with a good name at a price where a huge number of the world's whisky drinkers can participate, then Lagavulin 12 YO 2023 The Ink of Legends is for you.

Invest in Lagavulin 12 YO 2023 The Ink of Legends

Contact us via the contact form at the bottom of the page if you want to know more about your investment options or order the wines directly through the form.

Lagavulin 12YO – The Ink of Legends700OC6/GB1€ 73
*All prices are in EUR excluding customs, duty and VAT upon delivery to a bonded warehouse through Nordic Freeport. The wines are sold only in full cases unless otherwise stated, and the price is per bottle. A minimum purchase applies – contact us for the specific minimum purchase for this option. Assumes portfolio at RareWine Invest. The price of these wines may have changed since the publication of this article. Reservations are made for errors.

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