Many investors own a hogshead of 1995 or 1996 Tobermory single malt bought for 1145 from Hamilton Spirit Management Company. Burn Stewart Distillers better known for their Deanston single malt, produced this whisky, unfortunately with abandon and in abundance. It is not a malt that whisky brokers drool over. Indeed some are plainly rude about it. Its present value is around 2 per litre i.e. - 320 for a hogshead but there is so much about, it is not easy to find a buyer.

The present Tobermory Distillery on the island of Mull was built in 1823, it has 4 stills and is open to visitors by appointment between Easter and October. It is Mull's only distillery and has had a chequered history. Originally opened in 1798 the distillery was silent for long periods in both the 19th and 20th centuries. It reopened in 1990 and was purchased by Burn Stewart Distillers in 1993. Burn Stewart sell a vatted malt which contains some Tobermory whiskies of up to 20 years old and a proportion of younger whiskies from elsewhere. It also markets a blended scotch. Though an island malt it now has less and less of an island character. This is because the malt being used is unpeated since the company believe that there is little demand from blenders for heavily peated whiskies.

At present Burn Stewart's production of Tobermory is mainly used for blending - it remains to be seen whether the 10 year old single malt will be successful. In the past a single malt was produced and has been bottled by several independents under the name of the original distillery "Ledaig". It had that distinctive island character which has now been lost. Perhaps in a few years time we will know better but at the moment the jury remains out.

How about Bottling your own Cask!

If you have been paid out by your credit company and retain ownership of your whisky or if you paid by cheque and are left with your whisky then how about bottling. It's an option to consider.

You need at least a 10 year old malt. The following bottlings have been excellent:- 1988 Glenrothes 1988 Linkwood, 1989 Macallan (unsherried), 1989 Blair Athol, 1990 Bowmore, 1989 Tamdhu and 1976 Tomatin.

The cost is about 400 to bottle a hogshead plus around 2000 duty. Costs vary according to the strength of the whisky at the time of bottling and the amount of whisky actually left in the hogshead. It is always advisable to obtain a duty free sample prior to bottling just to ensure that you are not bottling the worst whisky ever produced! The cost of a sample varies between 15 and 25 depending on where the whisky is bonded. Fortunately you do not have to pay the duty all in one go, just on the bottles you take out of bond. If bottled at cask strength you will receive between 275/300 bottles or if you chill filter (i.e. add water) then you should receive about 400 bottles. The duty remains the same since the alcohol content is unchanged. There is an extra charge for chill filtering.

Interested? Then phone 01539-729555 and ask for Paul Smith or Joanna for further details.



A number of our members have brought to our attention the activities of certain dubious wine investment companies. One member we will call Mr F regularly invests in Penny Shares and earlier this year he received an offer of a free market report on one of his shares "Pacific Media" from three different companies.

But then the letters from them all go on to suggest another investment - wine. ASHLEY WITTER "The Vintage Fine Wine market can be an excellent alternative vehicle to diversify your existing arrangements". - CITY VINTNERS "The Vintage Fine Wine market is an excellent alternative to complement your existing portfolio". Next there is an example - ASHLEY WITTER "A case of Chateau Latour or Margaux 1995 has comfortably doubled in value in the last two years". CITY VINTNERS "Top class Bordeaux such as Chateau Latour and Margaux has comfortably doubled in less than 2 years".

Our Mr F was interested, he received glossy brochures from all three companies eulogising the benefits of investing in wine with extracts from "The Observer", The Independent", and "The Mail". All very reminiscent of the whisky scam. He was hooked and agreed to buy 1 case of Chateau Lafitte Rothchild 1996. ASHLEY WITTER'S price was 3750 per case as was CITY VINTNERS. The other company STANLEY KNIGHT suggested 4048 so he thought he had a bargain at 3750.

Mr F then remembered the Macallan he had bought from Hamilton for 3750 only to find that it was worth about 500. He telephoned the Helpline and we suggested he contact a reputable wine merchant for advice.

Savage Selection of Cheltenham valued the case which they agreed was a very fine wine at about 1200. "No honest professional wine merchant would dream of selling it at around 4000".

So beware of the Bordeaux scam merchants, there are plenty about particularly on the net. Here are just a few.:-



Anyone who has been dealings with these companies please contact us.

For further information please see Jim Budd's excellent website

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