Travel, Food & Drink

Step into Ardross Distillery—and a New Way to Invest in Whisky

Nestled in the Scottish Highlands, the newly launched Ardross Distillery offers whisky connoisseurs a unique take on cask investment

When it comes to creating the perfect single malt, patience is key. “Like everything worth having, creating good whisky takes time. It was this ethos that bonded me with the founders of the Ardross Distillery, who were also embracing the inherent importance of adapting slow and considered movement to create a company of substance,” says Andrew Rankin, ex-director of Morrison Bowmore Distillers and the Scotch Whisky Research Institute, and now chairman and master blender of the newly founded Ardross Distillery. 

Portrait of Andrew Rankin in front of a whisky cask
As chairman and master blender for Ardross, Andrew Rankin champions the distillery’s unique style: a rare union of lightness and complexity in line with his vision for a sweet, fruity spirit character of the highest quality.

The “substance” Rankin is talking about is the Ardross single malt, produced in the Averon Valley, in the heart of the Scottish Highlands. Ardross, which began production in 2019, is one of the few distilleries in Scotland with its own loch, and the only one that presents whisky connoisseurs with the chance to craft and own a custom-made, small-batch scotch.

The recently launched Ardross Single Cask Society is an invitation-only initiative that offers investors a unique cask-ownership proposition—members sign a purchase agreement for 12 casks of Ardross single malt at £30,000 ($41,028), with the selling price of each agreement increasing by £3,000 ($4,103) every year for 12 years.

“This is a hugely exciting opportunity where we will be offering a transparent, no-nonsense framework for high-quality cask ownership that includes 12 years of warehousing, insurance, and free access to the Ardross Distillery,” says Barth Brosseau, the director of Ardross’s parent company Greenwood Distillers. The Ardross single malt will, says Rankin, “be incredibly smooth while retaining a richness and complexity that will appeal to the sophisticated whisky drinker.”

A barrel cask at Ardross Whisky distillery
Every cask selected for maturing the Ardross spirit is amongst the finest examples of its kind, with wood sourced from the United States, Spain, and Japan. “Early samples show us that something truly special is emerging,” says Rankin.

Members will also have access to the Ardross Creation Suite, allowing them to craft whisky for their own bespoke casks, guided by the Ardross team and choosing barley, yeast, water, and distillates from stills of various shapes and sizes. And a limited amount of peated single malt will be available not only to society members but whisky drinkers everywhere.

Quick Facts: Whisky as an Investment

1. A hand-painted bottle of The Macallan 1926, 60 Year Old whisky sold for £1.2 million ($1,539,600) at Christie’s London in November 2018, becoming the first whisky to surpass the £1 million mark at auction.

2. According to the Whisky Investor Club, whisky is the top-performing collectible investment of the decade, with a rise of 586 percent in ten years.

3. Cask whisky investment sees historical returns of eight to 12 percent per year—and, because the cask improves a whisky’s taste over time, the longer it’s aged, the more valuable it becomes. Plus, this form of investment is exempt from capital gains tax on profits.

4. It’s worth investing in bottles, too. “Spirits don’t evolve in the bottle in the way that wine does,” explains Noah May, a specialist in the Wine & Spirits department at Christie’s New York. “Whisky takes some of its final flavor and aroma profile from the raw ingredients and the distillation process, and most of its character from the casks that it is aged in. So, once the product is bottled, it remains in an essentially unchanged state until it is opened and enjoyed, and as such, bottles are reliably consistent investments.”

Banner image: Whisky casks within Ardross’s cellars