The research carried out by Rare Whisky 101 (RW101), in partnership with Whisky Auctioneer, found a small proportion of individuals spending £100,000 ($113,650 €112,970) annually.
The survey covered a total of 326,000 bottles worth £74.5m and 1,542 connoisseurs, collectors and investors from across the world.
On average, each collection is worth a total of £50,000, made up of more than 200 bottles with an average bottle value of £228, while one in 10 held collections valued at over £100,000.
The value of collectable bottles of single malt Scotch whisky sold at auction in the UK rose by 93.66% to an all-time six-month high of £11.176m (1H16: £5.771m) this year, while the number of bottles of single malt Scotch whisky sold at auction in the UK increased by 47.25% to 39,061 (1H16: 26,527).
The most popular brands among collectors are ranked as Macallan followed by Ardbeg, Highland Park and Springbank.
Tip of the iceberg
“Since Whisky Auctioneer was founded back in 2013, we have seen a trend of record breaking values, and this is being reflected in the valuations which people are placing on their collections,” said Sean McGlone, director of the company.
“I suspect that this may just be the tip of the iceberg as I’m sure there are plenty of amazing malts hiding in people’s collections around the world. The upwards trend of the average bottle price is very encouraging to see as it shows effectiveness of whisky collecting for financial return.”
David Robertson, co-founder of Rare Whisky 101, said: “We’ve known for many years that the secondary market for rare whisky has been growing at an exceptional rate.
“However, we don’t know a great deal about the worldwide community of connoisseurs, collector and investors.”
The value of rare Scotch whisky sales in the UK’s secondary market is set to top £20m for the first time this year, with full year results published in January.