As It Happens

Son sells lifetime collection of birthday whisky from dad to buy his first home

Matthew Robson is about to buy his first house with his girlfriend, and it's all thanks to a family birthday tradition involving single-malt whisky. 

Matthew Robson's dad gave him a bottle of Macallan 18 every year. He just sold the set for $75K

Matthew Robson sold his collection of 28 bottles of Maccallan 18, gifted to him by his father for his birthdays. (marklittler.com)
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Matthew Robson is about to buy his first home with his girlfriend, and it's all thanks to a family birthday tradition involving single-malt whisky. 

For every birthday of Robson's life, his dad Pete has given him an 18-year-old bottle of Macallan.  He estimates his father spent about £5,000 ($8,590. Cdn) on the bottles over the years. 

Now 28 years old, Robson has sold his complete collection for £44,000 ($75,570 Cdn).

"The deal was I never ever, ever even think about opening them," Robson told As It Happens host Carol Off. "And I'm quite glad I didn't."

Whisky broker Mark Littler, who sold the collection, told the BBC it was a "perfect set."

A sentimental tradition 

Robson, who lives in Taunton, England, received his first gift of whisky, distilled in 1974, when he was just a baby. 

He's received one every year since, as has his older brother and younger sister on their birthdays.

"The idea was that when I turned 18, if Dad got a bottle each year, the bottle I would receive on my 18th birthday would be distilled in 1991, which would obviously be the year of my birth," Robson said.

"So it would be my 18th birthday, I would have 18 bottles of 18-year old Macallan."

Pete Robson, left, gifted his son Matthew, right, with an 18-year-old bottle of whisky on his birthday every year for 28 years. (Submitted by Matthew Robson )

The gifts had a sentimental value. Robson's father has worked in the whisky and beer industry for years, he said. 

"The materials that he supplies Macallan with were used in the making of that whisky. So that was kind of the main reason he chose Macallan," he said.

"And I think that it was the only bottle left on the shelf when he went down to kind of buy a bottle to celebrate the birth of my older brother."

A 'nest egg' for the future

More than a sentimental gesture, it was also a financial investment, Robson said.

"He strictly said that we don't open them and keep them as a little nest egg so we can use the money for whatever we need in the future," he said.

That wasn't always easy, especially as he got older.

"One night would have ended it all if I came back and decided to open one of those bottles. But I am very, very glad that I had Dad's voice ringing in my head."

The bottles, gifted annually for 28 years, range from 1974 to 2019. (marklittler.com/)

His father Pete told the BBC he had no idea how well the investment would pay off.

"Whisky wasn't seen as an investment quite so much in those days, but over the last 10 to 15 years that has changed significantly and it's performed very well as an investment," he said. 

The buyer has asked to remain anonymous.

Still, Robson and his dad did get to enjoy a taste of Macallan 18 together once. The pair were on a business in Scotland, and the hotel they were staying at had a 1991 bottle in stock.

"So we sat down and we had a couple of drams of a whisky, and it was a very, very special moment," Robson said.

"Honestly, words can't describe how good it was. It made me realize how I have held out from opening the other bottles."

As Robson hunts for a home with his partner Sandra, he has another birthday just around the corner.

Asked if his father will buy him another bottle this year, he said: "I think it should be the opposite. I think I need to buy him a nice bottle of something to say thank you."


Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Kate Cornick. 

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