How Do I Sell a Rare Bottle of Whisky?

Selling a rare bottle of whisky can be an exciting and potentially lucrative venture


Selling a rare bottle of whisky can be an exciting and potentially lucrative venture. There are several avenues to consider when it comes to choosing a method of sale, therefore it is important to navigate carefully to ensure legality and maximize your chances of a successful sale. With significant growth in the single malt whisky market over the last decade, there has never been a better time to consider selling your prized bottle or collection. A good example to demonstrate this growth is a bottle called ‘The Macallan Private Eye’, which was released in limited numbers in 1996 with a price tag of £36; these bottles are now achieving in excess of £5,000 at auction!


The Macallan Single Highland Malt Whisky

The Macallan Single Highland Malt Whisky

Sold for £2,000


It is worth noting that in the UK, unless you hold the relevant licences, you cannot sell any alcohol as a private individual. The Licensing Act 2003 governs the sale of alcohol, and if you are caught selling alcohol without the appropriate licences, you could face a fine of up to £20,000 and/or a six month stay in jail. While Facebook and eBay used to be a popular place to sell collectable whisky bottles, since 2019 and 2014 respectively, it is no longer legal and considered very risky.

There are a number of online traders who specialise in buying and selling rare whiskies. These traders often have established networks and expertise in valuing and marketing rare bottles. They can provide a convenient way to sell your whisky while ensuring compliance with legal requirements. It is always recommended to research the trader thoroughly; consider reviews and ensure they are registered with Companies House. The price offered by these traders will factor in profits and therefore might not always offer the best bottom line.


A bottle of Dalmore 45 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

A bottle of Dalmore 45 Year Old Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Sold for £3,500


Private dealers are another option that requires consideration. These individuals or businesses specialise in acquiring and selling rare whiskies, often catering to collectors or enthusiasts. Working with a private dealer can offer personalised attention and expertise specific to the whisky market, but most of these dealers will only deal with bottles more than a certain value, so this might not be an option for everyone.

For those seeking maximum exposure for their rare bottle or collection, specialist auctions are the way to go. Auction houses, like Dawsons, hold dedicated specialised Fine Whisky and Spirits sales which attract serious collectors worldwide, who are willing to pay top prices for sought-after bottles. Brands like Macallan, Karuizawa, Dalmore, Bowmore, Springbank, Glenfiddich, Ardbeg, Highland Park and Laphroaig are highly regarded within the whisky community and can command significant interest at specialist sales. The excitement of auction is that there are no limits on what a bottle of rare whisky can achieve on sale day, all it takes is two serious bidders who want the bottle for their collection.


A bottle of Laphroaig Islay Malt Scotch Whisky

A bottle of Laphroaig Islay Malt Scotch Whisky

Sold for £2,200


Indeed, when selling a rare bottle of whisky, it's important to consider all available options together with your reasons for selling. Garnering advice from an expert Valuer is always advised, as they will have knowledge and experience of the market that will ensure you understand the true market value of your whisky and achieve the best price if you are selling. Here at Dawsons, we have a team of friendly Valuers who would be delighted to help you.


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Are you looking to sell rare Whisky?

With a global audience of over 10 million active bidders, Dawsons can obtain the best price.

Get in touch with our Specialists today for expert sales advice:

0207 431 9445 /