Alternative Investing

New fund takes its whisky neat

Leslie Shaffer | Writer for
Whisky as an alternative investment?

Investors looking for drinkable alternative assets now have an option besides wine: Whisky.

"Across the globe, most high net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals are putting anywhere between four and six percent of their overall asset allocation into alternative investments," such as wine and art, said Rickesh Kishnani, CEO of the Platinum Whisky Investment Fund. "We're giving the opportunity to put single malt whisky on that map."

(Read more: Single malt breaks world auction record as market matures)

Unlike wine, which can be perishable, whisky stops aging once it's been bottled and it's possible to hold the investment longer.

The fund is looking to raise around $10 million, with a minimum subscription set at $250,000, aiming for a launch date in June. Kishnani said the fund raised around $2.5 million so far this week in Hong Kong.

Investing in whiskey

"The majority of our fund will be focused on single malt aged whisky but we will also put a small portion into looking at Japanese whiskies, potentially some Irish whiskies and even some American bourbon," he said.

In addition to iconic brands such as Dalmore and Macallan, the fund is targeting "silent stills" which closed in the 1980s as well as rare vintages going back as far as World War I, Kishnani said.

(Read more: Wine, whisky can whet investor's thirst for alternative options)

Values of some labels have skyrocketed in recent years, and a growing supply of well-heeled collectors from Asia and elsewhere could drive prices even higher.

Over the last three years, investments in whisky have done well, with prices of the top 1,000 single malts climbing 130 percent in U.K. auctions and the top 100 jumping 230 percent, according to the Whisky Highland Index.

(Read more: Dizzyingly pricey whiskey goes for $4,000 per bottle)

In one high-profile deal in January, a rare six-liter bottle of Macallan 'M' in a crystal decanter set a world record for the most expensive single malt whisky when it sold at $628,205 at Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong, beating the previous record of $460,000 set in 2010.

The fund expects to profit by buying in bulk at below-market rates. "There are quite a few collectors of whisky who have been doing this for 20, 30, 40 years, who are now looking to exit the market different reasons and that's where the opportunity is," he said. "We already have option agreements with some of these collectors in place."

Jeff J. Mitchell | Getty Images

(Read more: Irish distillers order a triple as whiskey flows)

Kishnani expects the demand will continue to grow as interest from Asian buyers continues to pick up. He noted that in 1997, Taiwan imported zero bottles of single-malt whisky, while last year, it imported around 650,000 cases.

To be sure, investments in whisky aren't without risks. Like other investments in spirits, information about pricing is far less transparent than with a stock or bond, or even gold. In addition, the popularity of a vintage can be fickle.

—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1