Invest like a whisky maker

Investing truth from the master distillers

Three men celebrating by drinking glasses of whisky

Image source: Getty Images

So… it’s entirely possible I’m sharing this out of pure self-justification. Or to (try to) get the ATO to allow me to claim my favourite tipple as a tax deduction.

But I don’t think so.

See, I was sitting at my dining table at the end of last week, with a single malt whisky in front of me.

The drop in question was an Aberlour 14-year-old, from Speyside.

(Truth be told, I’m not a connoisseur, but this one, I like!)

And I got to thinking: It takes a lot of guts, confidence, and optimism to distill a whisky, then essentially leave it alone for a decade and a half.

You have to really choose carefully, and craft thoughtfully.

Then… you have to do nothing. For a long time.

And it reminded me of investing.

You can’t make a 14-year-old whisky by making 28, six-month old whiskies.

You can’t give in to impatience, and start again every 6 or 12 months.

You’ve gotta let time do its thing.

I have a very good sense that distillers would make good investors.

I’m less sure many investors (and most traders) would make good distillers.

Then again, whisky-makers have something that the modern age has stolen from investors — they can’t change the realities of aged whisky.

Unfortunately, for many investors, we can be as active as we want.

Usually to our detriment.

Here’s my challenge: Why not buy some shares tomorrow, and hold them for as long as your favourite whisky (or red wine) is aged.

And if you’re not an alcohol drinker, pretend you are — just this once — and choose a ‘virtual’ single malt. Make it a 12 year old. And plan to hold for that long.


I don’t think so.

The best investing returns have something important in common with the best whiskies.


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Motley Fool contributor Scott Phillips has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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