Why Whisky May Be Just The Thing For Jittery Investors

For those in the know – and with the willpower not to drink up their assets – fine whisky can be quite a rewarding investment. A bottle of 1995 Brora, for example, was worth 100 euros in 1998. Now it sells for five times as much.

Pricey whiskies can be worth holding on to (saschafatcat)
Pricey whiskies can be worth holding on to (saschafatcat)


Whisky has become more than just a classy drink. It can also be a pretty good investment – better in some cases than stocks, at least when markets are all over the place, as they are now.

Because there is increased demand for a decreasing supply, Michel Kappen, founder of an online platform called the World Whisky Index, sees prices rising long-term. The ex-banker estimates annual yield at 12%. So it's hardly surprising that more and more yield-oriented connoisseurs are buying whisky and hoping for price rises.

By way of example: a bottled 1995 Brora was selling for around 100 euros in 1998. By 2006 the value had doubled. Today, the 75 cl bottle costs no less than 500 euros.

The World Whisky Index presently tracks 46,610 bottles that together are worth 5.62 million euros. The site, created in 2007, brings buyers and sellers together. Whisky fans can build their own portfolio, and buy and sell. The most expensive bottle, a 1919 Springbank Single Malt, is presently quoted at 55,000 euros.

Whisky auctions have existed since the 1980s. But they're risky for casual whisky fans since the lucrative market is littered with ever more fakes. According to connoisseurs, the Italian mafia has already firmly established itself in the fast-growing market. Even dealers occasionally get taken in. Tricksters use fake seals and labels on the bottles, or original bottles with fake contents.

"Never buy expensive bottles from an unknown dealer," warns Tomas Ide, a foremost expert and founder of the Whisky Chamber. Before bidding on the Internet, he says, ask for pictures of the bottles and labels so that these can be compared with originals.

"Collectors should be on the lookout for bottles available only in limited quantities," says Ide. Whiskies from distilleries that have closed, such as Rosebank, are also an excellent bet. Pittyvaich is another potential winner, says Ide, as are whiskies from the Banff Distillery which closed its doors in 1983.

Read the full story in German by Christian Euler

Photo - saschafatcat

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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What It Means When The Jews Of Germany No Longer Feel Safe

A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.

At a protest against antisemitism in Berlin

Eva Marie Kogel


BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.

Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.

The incident at the cemetery

They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."

There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.

It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.

The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.

Photo of the grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender

Jens Kalaene/dpa/ZUMA

Crimes against Jews are rising

Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.

Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.

Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.

And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?

Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously

This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.

That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.

Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.

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