INVESTMENT: A Different Hangover

Disillusioned with stocks and other traditional investments, more and more Americans are putting new kick in their portfolios by buying warehouse receipts for Scotch whisky. Their interest has been piqued by growing demand for the drink and a spirited direct-mail ad campaign by U.S. and British whisky brokers, who promise annual gains of 15% to 20%. Some investors really do that well — but others, operating in an unregulated business largely controlled by brokers, blenders and other experts, emerge with an excruciating financial hangover.

An investor must usually put up a minimum of $1,500 to $2,000 to buy a "parcel"...

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