Alex Barclay Miniature Auction Part 3

Whisky Miniature Auction Now Live!

It’s time for the third of our auctions dedicated to the miniature collection of Alex Barclay, president of the Mini Bottle Club.  Back in the summer, the team travelled to Birmingham to collect over 5,000 miniatures from Alex – the collection is so large that we’re splitting it into five auctions of around 1,000 bottles each. You can read more about Alex and his incredible collection in our interview with the man himself here.

Malts Of Scotland

This month’s auction features hundreds of miniatures from one of the more recent arrivals on the independent bottling scene: Malts of Scotland. This German company was only established in 2005 but they’ve had a big impact in a short time, and won the Independent Bottler of The Year from Whisky Magazine’s Independent Bottlers Challenge in 2016.

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You’ll have to check out the auction itself to find all the amazing MoS bottlings, but a few very interesting lots caught our eye.  Some of the oldest malts include the Lochside 1967, the Glenrothes 1968 and the Bunnahabhain 1966 – the latter one of only 48 minis produced. Islay fans, meanwhile, will be excited to see the sherried Port Ellen 1982 and Caol Ila 1979, as well as the more recent Laphroaig 1990, sherried Bowmore 1995 and sherried Port Charlotte 2001. All of these bottlings are at natural cask strength, with the PC bottled at a very hefty 66.1%.

Other highlights from Malts of Scotland include a wide selection of drams from distilleries that are rarely seen outside of official bottlings, such as the Macallan 1989 and ‘Talimburg’ 1994, plus a rare (misspelled) ‘Ayreshire’ 1992 single grain – presumably from Girvan – and world whiskies such as the Paul John 2009, Heaven Hill 2001 and the intriguing Tullahoma 2011 Tennessee Bourbon 2011, most likely George Dickel.

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Irish Whiskey

The other major theme of this month’s auction is Irish Whiskey and as you would expect from a collector of Alex’s stature there are some absolutely astonishing bottles.

From the familiar names we have some incredibly old and rare Jameson’s, including a  war-era Jameson 7yo, ‘Made only from Barley, Malt, Wheat and Oats’!  There’s also a 1930s Jameson 7yo and a clear glass US import Jameson 7yo 1926-1934.  We also have some very rare Jamesons bottled under license by various Irish grocers and wine merchants, such as the Jameson Vat 10 for O’Malley’s in Limerick and the beautiful Mooney’s Extra Superior.

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It’s not just about Jameson’s, of course – there are very collectable examples from other well-known brands including Paddy’s 10yo, Gilbey’s Redbreast 12yo and a very old Power’s bottled for Aer Lingus.  

The real gems, however, are the ancient old blends and pot still whiskeys.  As is sadly often the case with very old miniatures, some of the bottles have low fill levels, but we know that collectors understand the value of these bottles as beautiful historical objects in their own right.

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A few of the dozens of fantastic old Irish minis: from Belfast, there’s Kirker & Greer’s Shamrock Whiskey or the ancient Irish Whiskey Company (another wonderful label), then there are US imports such as Mitchell’s Shamrock 14yo and Original Irish; and curiosities such as the Ballyhooley Whisky – a blend of Scottish and Irish whisk(e)ys with its own tasting cup – or the splendidly cheesy Leprechaun ‘As distilled in the glen by the little green men’.

The absolute stars of the Irish side of this auction, though, are the miniatures from the long-extinct Brusna distillery, better known as Locke’s and Kilbeggan. Kilbeggan is Ireland’s oldest distillery, founded in 1757, but production stopped in the 1954 and the distillery was closed in its bicentennial year, 1957. We have a trio of these wonderful miniatures: Locke’s Old Kilbeggan 15yo, Locke’s Liqueur and John Locke & Co. Pure Pot Still, with a drawing of the distillery on the label.

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Elsewhere in the auction, there are plenty of excellent OB single malts, including Glenturret 1965 and Glenmorangie 1963 and dozens of Glenlivets and Glenfarclases (Glenfarcli?). I particularly liked this Glenfarclas for the Aquascutum Club and the Ross’s Rare Old Glenlivet 12yo.  Once again, there’s truly something for everyone in this month’s miniature auction – Good Luck and Happy Bidding!

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OCTOBER AUCTION RESULTS 2018

October whisky auction results

Another raft of impressive prices were realised in our latest auction. The top item was, as expected, the cask of 1989 Macallan which fetched £90,100 – slightly higher than recent similar Macallan casks suggesting they may well be on the rise again as appetite remains undimmed. Perhaps more tellingly was the full set of Millennium Springbanks which hit £21,100, a record for this set by some distance. Given the way, prices have been going for older Springbanks recently this is hardly surprising. Hard to believe you could pick up a complete set for under £6000 a couple of years ago.

A second edition Black Bowmore was similarly impressive at £13,100. Although, given the track record of this series in recent times, these kinds of results are no longer that surprising. Neither was the £8400 paid for the Sherriff’s Bowmore 8-year-old pear-shaped. A stunning whisky of legendary repute which explains the serious prices people are clearly willing to pay for such a whisky. These kinds of bottles will likely never be cheaper again given their scarcity.

Sherriss's Bowmore

The upper end of the auction

In fact, the whole upper end of the auction was a string of examples of these kinds of serious yet unsurprising prices for remarkable bottles. The UK version of the famed Samaroli Springbank 12-year-old at £10,100 is another perfect example. As is the Jura 1964 Cadenhead Dumpy for £3300. It seems these days that any bottle of seriously perceived whisky that rarely sees the secondary market is bound to fetch a hefty four-figure sum minimum. With many increasingly entering the five-figure range – some jumping there with rather staggering speed in recent months.

Of course, it isn’t only malts that impress. Famous blended brands such as the Islay Mist also do exceptionally well whenever they turn up – the 1950s bottling at £3600 being a particularly rare and pristine example. Given the repute of these whiskies, I’d almost say this price was on the soft side but it’s probably best not to start getting into the mindset of £3600 for a bottle of whisky being cheap.

The Macallans were all as you might expect price wise, as was the 1970s Laphroaig 10-year-old at £2150. Perhaps more interesting was the Ardbeg Provenance at £2250. It has taken a slow and winding time for the Provenances to reach this price point and they do seem slightly out of kilter with the more expensive sibling Ardbeg bottlings from the late 1990s. Given the quality of the Provenance whiskies, I wonder if they aren’t going to jump up another level in price within the next six months or so?

One of the most beautiful bottles in the sale was no doubt the Old Pulteney bottled by Cadenhead in the 1960s at 85 proof. A stunning and rarely seen whisky, this one is one of a few of this bottling that have found their way to market over the past year or so which explains it’s slightly softer £1800 result. However, this is still an impressive price which demonstrates the demand for older bottlings from the famous bottlers such as Cadenhead. Especially unusual ones such as this Pulteney.

Old Pulteney Cadenheads

The Lagavulin Syndicate 38-year-olds are all holding well at £1550. Once the initial supply of these bottles to the market has dried up I suspect the price of this one will start to climb fairly significantly. Something of a surprise at the same price tag was the Littlemill 1964 32-year-old distillery bottling from the 1990s. No doubt the recent uptick in interest for Littlemill and other closed distilleries, in general, helped this one along its way.

Demand for older Gordon & MacPhail bottlings also appears to remain undimmed with the Talisker 1967 100 Proof and the Highland Park St Magnus fetching £1550 and £1500 respectively. These are hefty prices, but given the great filling levels, general condition of the bottles and stunning reputations of the whiskies, these seem like fair prices for these whiskies in today’s market. If you can afford to bid at these price levels I think these are no-brainer bottles to go for.

Talisker 1967 100 proof Highland Park St Magnus Label

 

Results around the £1,000

Other notable results around the £1000 mark were the 1966 Macallan Speymalt by Gordon & MacPhail at £1300. A strong result for this bottling and maybe a sign of higher interest in Speymalt series – an inevitability given their repute, content and the price of similarly aged official Macallans.

There was the Laphroaig 1968 Hart Brothers at £1250, the Ardbeg 1974 Signatory at £1300 and the Springbank 1979 Cadenhead white label at £1150. All of which were strong results for these particular bottlings.

Going down through the middle of the sale stand out results include the Signatory 1974 Bowmore at £825, the Glendronach 1960 23-year-old Connoisseur’s Choice at £825 and the Glen Garioch 1970 27-year-old single cask for £825. All of which are something of a climb on recent results for these bottlings.

The Lagavulin 1984 – 1995 SMWS 111.3 bottling at £800 also demonstrates just how powerful the combination of a big name distillery and a rarely seen SMWS bottle number can be. A similar whisky of that age and vintage from another bottler wouldn’t have climbed that high. Just as a 1960s bottle of Jameson Crested Ten Irish Whiskey at £725 demonstrated that demand for older Irish Whiskeys is starting to increase significantly. No doubt the surge of excellent older bottlings on the market, coupled with increased global interest and many new distilleries starting up is fuelling new collector interest.

Lagavulin SMWS 111.3 Jameson Crested Ten

Even in today’s market Macallan can continue to surprise. A pair of standard 1990’s 10-year-olds at £575 apiece seems eye-wateringly daft. Especially when there’s a Highland Park 1973 SMWS 4.87 just beneath it for £525.

All in all, this was a strong sale with a wide spread of excellent bottles – quite a few of them scarcely seen in today’s secondary market. As a result, prices were pretty high across the board. Even for bottlings, you might not think much of on the face of it. For example, a 1978 21-year-old Glenlossie at £310 seems pretty steep. But this just demonstrates the breadth of the buying audience that exists around the world for good old malt whiskies these days. It doesn’t look as if things are going to change anytime soon. Until next time.

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Glengoyne & Tamdhu Tasting Notes

Founded in 1933, Ian MacLeod Distillers are one of the unsung independent distillers and bottlers in the UK, despite being the 10th-largest Scotch whisky company in the world.  This may be because much of the company’s business is behind the scenes – they are one of the largest suppliers of own-brand whiskies to bulk markets and some of their biggest brands are marketed mostly overseas.

In the UK, the company has a reputation among whisky cognoscenti as a reliable source of high quality, great value whiskies. Ian MacLeod have a diverse range of proprietary and independent bottlings, with Smokehead, Chieftain’s Choice and Isle of Skye among the most prominent.  The company is not just involved with whisky – they produce a variety of other gins, vodkas and rums and in 2016 they acquired Spencerfield Spirits Co, producers of Edinburgh Gin.

Ian MacLeod  & Co. became Ian MacLeod Distillers in 2003 with their acquisition of the Glengoyne distillery; Tamdhu distillery was purchased in 2011 and relaunched in 2013.  In October 2017 it was announced that Ian MacLeod had acquired and were rebuilding the lost Lowland distillery Rosebank – a stunning coup that gladdened the hearts of whisky fans the world over. It’ll be a while yet before there’s any new Rosebank to be tasted, so we’ll be focusing on Tamdhu and Glengoyne today…

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Glengoyne 18 Year Old, 43%, £82

Nose: Hot-buttered brown toast and a rich brown sugar aroma, then raisins, flapjacks, oatmeal, Digestive biscuits. Develops a pleasant leafiness, and prominent vanilla and biscuity aromas never allow the sherry to dominate.

Palate: Medium-full; a very clean, generous, soft mouthfeel with a little tingle. The flavours sync clearly with the nose: bready and biscuity with the fruitcake sherry sweetness again prominent without being too dominant – the balance is excellent, with a really crystalline barley edge rounded out by a hint of soft vanilla and chocolate cake.

Finish: That clear barley edge with a generous, warming, spicy tingle. The balance here is flawless. The sherry and spices fade slowly to reveal a delicate chocolate note.

Comment: Clearly, I don’t drink enough Glengoyne. This is a brilliantly put-together whisky and while the wood is impressive – obviously excellent casks – it’s the punchy, unpeated barley character that really impresses me. In short, the distillate and the oak complement each other beautifully, and that’s down to great cask selection and masterful blending.
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Glengoyne 21 Year Old, 43%, £120

Nose: Big sherry, a much deeper oak presence than the 18 year old. Gingerbread, cinnamon biscuits and rich Dundee fruitcake.  Develops malt loaf, cooked raisins, muscovado sugar, homemade wholemeal bread, old church pews, cookie dough, old soft leather. In these days of ‘wood technology’ and various techniques designed to pimp the whisky, it’s an absolute joy to encounter a more old-school sherry-cask character – and not even the slightest hint of the dreaded sulphur.  

Palate: Follows on perfectly from the nose – a big hit of brown sugar sweetness initially, then settles down into lovely fruitcake and patisserie notes.  A strong nuttiness – brazil nuts, hazelnuts, noisette – then milk chocolate and Ovaltine, before the cooked fruit returns with a spicy overtone.

Finish: Lingering fruitcake, candied mixed peel and growing spices – cinnamon, nutmeg, faint white pepper. Again, the balance is exquisite.  Nothing feels overblown, the sherry and spices sit beautifully together and there’s enough clear barley punch to keep the whole thing rounded.

Comment: I don’t understand why so many whisky companies – some of whom have far vaster resources than IMD – waste so much time and money trying to game the system with ‘wine-treated’ or ‘sherry-seasoned’ casks that aren’t really sherry casks, or multiple re-rackings, red wine finishes and so on. The formula is simple: make the best distillate you can, put it in the best bourbon or sherry casks you can afford and you’ll most likely end up with a very good whisky. This is Exhibit A – a great after-dinner option, especially with Christmas coming up. This could easily steal the show on the big day.

Two absolutely cracking drams from Glengoyne, so the stablemate Tamdhu has a lot to live up to! Onwards…

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Tamdhu Cask Strength, 58.3%, £57.95

Nose: Once more, there’s a big sherry hit straight off the bat.  There’s a big emphasis on rich brown sugar character initially, then milk chocolate, walnuts and hazelnuts, vanilla ice cream, chocolate milkshake. Becomes earthy, with notes of autumn leaves or compost, old bookcases.  I have to assume, given the lack of an age statement, that this Tamdhu is a relative youngster, but whatever the actual age is, this is a nose of admirable character and maturity.

Palate: Full-bodied but not too hot or punishing to the tastebuds. Remarkably palatable at full strength.  A huge initial sweetness without being cloying, then plum duff, sugared almonds, nougat and chocolate cake.  Once again, as with Glengoyne, the barley edge of the distillate comes through strongly, providing a counterpoint to the generous sweet oak. The fruitcake, chocolate and dried nuts are all here, with faint vanilla custard and bark. Very intense, well-defined flavours. With water:  Swims well and can handle plenty of water without losing its shape. The water brings more old oak character to the fore alongside chocolate milk and golden syrup.

Finish: Very long and satisfying finish. Young, sherried, cask strength drams can be very bitter at the death but there’s none of that here. It’s strong, sweet and spicy, certainly, but never goes over the top.

Comment: With a NAS whisky bottled at 58.3%, you might expect a certain brutality, but while this is a powerful dram it’s certainly far from vicious.  As with the Glengoyne, there are clear signs here of an adherence to traditional standards, excellent wood policy and serious skill in the cask selection and blending. Long may this dram confound our expectations. What’s clear is how criminally underrated both of these distilleries are.

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OCTOBER AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS 2018

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Black Bowmore 1964
2nd Edition

When it comes to dark, heavily sherried whiskies the first whisky that comes to mind has to be the Black Bowmore. There’s a lot of hype over certain whiskies and sometimes the romance can spoil one’s expectations – but not this one! I’ve been lucky enough to try this on several occasions and it has blown me away every time.

This example was originally purchased in 1994 by the vendor direct from Gordon & MacPhail for their bar. This was a time when single malt whisky was yet to boom and a time when a case of 6 Black Bowmore cost a mere £504.16. The vendor said many locals preferred a pint and a shot of the going blend so the bottle sat behind the bar unopened for the best part of 15 years until he retired.

It’s been nearly a years since we’ve auction one of the original three Black Bowmore’s which puts into perspective how rare these ‘legendary’ whiskies are now becoming.

Sherriff’s Bowmore 8-year-old
Bottled 1960s

Another rare treat from Bowmore is this utterly beautiful Bowmore that wears its age on its sleeve. This was bottled under the Sherriff’s label sometime during the 1960s, but I’m not entirely convinced which side. Going from the collection this comes from it could possibly be the late-1960s which would make this an early 1960s distillate. If it was bottled in the early-mid-1960s we’re looking at mid-late-1950s distillate. Either way, you’re in for a treat as this has been ranked higher than the Black Bowmore.

Islay Mist D. Johnston & Co. Laphroaig Distillery
Strength 25 Under Proof

Without a doubt the most stunning and interesting whisky in this sale.

Islay Mist is a blend that was first created in the 1920s as a bit of a fluke by Ian Hunter, the distillery manager at Laphroaig. He was appointed by Hugh Morrison of Islay House to choose a whisky for his son’s 21st Birthday. Ian thought Laphroaig alone would be too peaty for some guests so he created a vatting with a number of Speyside whiskies. It was such a success it has long since been the go-to peated blend ever since.

Until 1992 Laphroaig has always been the base malt along with other key distilleries that often included Glenlivet & Glen Grant. This example from the 1950s is by far the oldest example we have ever come across. The whiskies composed to make up Islay Mist were generally at least 8 years old which means that it is possible this will contain whisky distilled in the 1940s.

For us, although surrounded by some of the most well thought of whiskies in the World, has to be the one to look out for in this sale. A classic example of old school blended whisky in pristine condition and yet another unseen whisky soon to join our sales archive.

Springbank 12-year-old – Sherry Cask
57.1% (100 PROOF SIKES)

Among the most desirable Springbank’s out there has to be this 100 Proof Springbank. We’ve only seen this variation appear once before and that was in one of our sales back in 2015. It’s very likely this is the same liquid as the legendary Samaroli Springbank. There’s no firm way to confirm this, however, their strengths are identical as is the colour of the liquid; so it would suggest it is the same incredible whisky as the famous Samaroli version which is one of only a tiny handful of whiskies to score 98/100 on whiskyfun. A great find and a very rare chance to get this extremely obscure variation of a legendary bottling.

Springbank 1977 Official Bottling
DOWTS Label

Another incredibly rare Springbank appearing in our October sale is this unusual official offering. This was bottled in 1996 as a private enterprise. The label was designed by artist Emma Dunbar. I spoke with Emma and her inspiration was based on the tasting notes at the time. DOWTS, I believe are the initials of the surnames of the original 5 people of the syndicate. The ‘stickmen’ represent the people’s occupations/hobbies.  There’s no ABV stated, however, the beading suggests its high and most certainly cask strength. Definitely, one to look out for whether you’re a drinker or collector!

Springbank Millennium Set

The Springbank Millennium Collection was originally launched back September 1998; the first to be released was the 25-year-old followed by the 30-year-old in March 1999, the 35-year-old in September 1999, the 40-year-old in March 2000, the 45-year-old in September 2000 and finally the 50-year-old in March 2001. As the vendor was the original purchaser he was able to complete the set with the miniatures which can also be found in this sale. A beautiful set with liquid to boot.

All the best from all of us here at Whisky Online Auctions.

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OCTOBER AUCTION – CASK HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

Macallan Whisky Cask For Sale

Maturing stock is becoming a regular feature in our monthly auctions now.  And this month we have another Macallan cask that will hit 30 years old in June next year.  Have a read of our tasting notes and let us know what you think…

Cask #9313: Originally filled on the 12/06/1989  into a 3rd fill Hogshead. This cask would currently yield approximately 213 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 29 years of age.

Colour: Straw

Nose: Light and very fresh. Cut grass, bailed hay, straw, citrus rind, peppery watercress and some light notes of shoe polish and new leather. Definitely towards the softer side of Macallan. With a little breathing time it begins to reveal herbal notes such as fresh oregano and rosemary. Also some earthier, rootier qualities and a sweetness that alludes to milk bottle sweets.

Palate: Similarly soft, delicate and gentle. Lots of citrus oils, earthy turmeric, a gentle sunflower oil note and some supple mineral notes. Again these greener qualities come through as chopped parsley and chives, cut grass and a foresty bracken note. Some hints of pine resin, clove, more polish notes and a light green pepper aspect.

Finish: Medium in length. A rising sootiness, more lemon aspects although this time manifesting in a more medicinal, cough syrupy fashion. These soft peppery qualities persist into the aftertaste giving a warming sensation.

Conclusions: A cask which really shows the lighter side of Macallan. Could potentially last until 30 quite well, although probably not much beyond. At the moment the alcohol level gives good bite and mouthfeel which helps bolster the otherwise rather soft qualities of the distillate.

If you are interested in buying this cask, you can register to bid on our auction here: https://www.whisky-onlineauctions.com/create-account/

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SEPTEMBER AUCTION RESULTS 2018

September whisky auction results

Last night’s auction finished with a slew of prices at the upper end of the sale that might once have been described as eye-popping. But think what it says about today’s secondary whisky market and how much things have changed in the space of only about 3 years, that we can look at a Macallan 65-year-old Lalique for £41,100, or a Bowmore 1964 Fino for £15,600 and simply take those prices in our stride? How times change… 

Also interesting was the 1996 hogshead of Tobermory that fetched £12,700, not in the same league as other bigger named distilleries of similar ages, but this is a serious price for a name like Tobermory. It seems casks are now very much part of the fabric of whisky auctioneering. And, arguably, where the smart money went in recent years.

Most of the bottles at the upper end of this sale were predictably on the high side. Results such as the Bowmore Gold for £12,400 or the Macallan Anniversary Malt 1968 for £3300 were all pretty typical. More telling – and perhaps more interesting – was the Lagavulin SMWS 111.1 selling for £4100. Another of these bottles that shot from sub four figures to this sort of result in a very short space of time. And further evidence of the hunger there is out there, not just for older, sherried Islays or Lagavulin, but for Scotch Malt Whisky Society rarities. Especially low numbers.

Other tasty examples were the Wray & Nephews 1962 25-year-old commemorative rum. The name Wray & Nephew carries some serious clout amongst rum lovers so it wasn’t surprising to see it fetching £2600. Another long undervalued bottling was the Gordon & MacPhail Secret Stills Talisker 1955 which fetched £2350. Again, this bottling was hovering around the £400-600 mark for quite a long time and it is underrated liquid so it’s nice to see it garnering a little more limelight.

The Lagavulin 38-year-old Syndicate bottlings all held strong at £1600 a piece. Exactly the same result as the Dalmore 1981 Matusalem Sherry Finesse bottling. I know which one I’d rather drink, but that just goes to show how varied the secondary market is these days in terms of a buyer profile. And how the effects of that spending is creating multiple bubbles and effects. Speaking of Lagavulin, it was notable that the 1985 Special Releases 21-year-old hit a muscular £1400, further confirming this bottling is comfortably on its way to the £2000 mark.

In terms of milestones though, perhaps the most notable was the Oban Bicentenary Manager’s Dram. Two bottles of which finished up at £1100, comfortably across the four-figure line. This bottling has been going from strength to strength lately, it will be interesting if it settles down now or continues it’s almost month by month march up the price range.

Laphroaig 1969 Connoisseur’s Choice performed well at £1000 and the Ardbeg Mor 1st release held strong at £950. While other examples of the Manager’s Dram series also continued to perform well, the Clynelish, Aberfeldy and Cardhu bottlings hitting £750, £725  and £675 respectively. While a 1980s 15-year-old Springbank knocked the ball out of the park at £700. These older official standard range Springbanks are good indicator that it is wise to never underestimate Springbank. Even today it’s probably worth putting aside a case of the current 10-year-old every so often. You never know how things will be in 10 – 20 years… 

One long underrated bottling it was good to see doing a little better was the Glen Calder 40 year old at £550. Technically a blend, this beautiful old dram really just tastes like a late 1940s single malt. Nice to see it getting a bit more recognition. Impressive in a different way was the Compass Box Hedonism hitting £525. Exactly the same price as the Dunvilles rotation 1948 half bottle. Another juxtaposed pair that illustrates the wildly different spending habits and buyer profiles which are converging to create today’s secondary market.

It’s interesting to see how a large proportion of Port Ellen bottlings are sitting around the £400-500 mark rather consistently these days – especially numerous independent examples from the likes of Douglas Laing. I think these bottles are still worth buying at this price. Sooner or later there will be a market shift upwards to the £600-800 range and not long after that four figures will loom on the horizon. On a 3-5 year investment, these look like good buys. Not to mention if you’re a drinker looking for a slightly more reasonable Port Ellen – most are terrific drams!

Back to the Manager’s Drams and the Talisker 17-year-old landed on £400. Unsurprising as this terrific bottling was never going to sit around the £200 mark forever. In all likelihood, this one will continue to rise steadily for the foreseeable.

In terms of bargains then, once again and rather predictably, there weren’t many. The I W Harper 1946 – 1952 looked interesting for old Bourbon fans at £260. Just as the Johnnie Walker Liqueur looked totally bewildering at £235 – the contemporary power of a brand name! The Balblair 1986 CASK bottling by Gordon & MacPhail was a good buy at £195, as was the Glenfarclas 1990 Family Cask 9246 at the same hammer price. Both exceptional drams.

Another soon to shift bottling, I suspect, will be all these 1980s Highland Park 12-year-olds in the old screen print dumpy presentation. Most contain wonderful, old school, subtly peaty, sherried Highland Park. They’ve sat, across almost all auctions, around the £160-200 mark for quite some time and represent pretty great drinking value at that price. I suspect it won’t be long before they move into the £250-300 range – then beyond. Might be worth snapping one up before they do. A 1952 – 1977 Hine Cognac also looks highly quaffable, and something of an anomaly at £140.

Generally though, it was slim pickings for bargain hunters in this sale. As ever the market remains powerful and a weak pound hits UK buyers but helps sellers. The fever of whisky is far from diminishing. Let’s see what next month brings… 

 

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SEPTEMBER AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS 2018

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Macallan 65-year-old in Lalique

After over 10 years since the first release of the 50-year-old back in 2006, the collaboration with Macallan & Lalique has come a long way. This Macallan 65-year-old is the final release in the series and completes the Six Pillars collection. At the time of its release in 2016, this was one of the oldest and rarest whiskies the distillery had to boast. Drawn from ex-Sherry casks we can only imagine the flavours such whisky has to offer.  Lalique’s contribution was inspired by Rene Lalique’s legacy, Marc Larminaux. The design is based around a single peerless drop of The Macallan. These were limited to 450 Worldwide.

Bowmore 1964 Fino Sherry Cask

Part of a legendary trilogy of different wood matured 1964 Bowmore’s. This, along with pretty much any Bowmore distilled in 1964 is regarded among the best whisky ever bottled. A stunning bottling and an absolutely exquisite whisky.

Cask Held In Bond

We have yet another Tobermory cask up for auction in this sale.  This is a really excellent, characterful Tobermory. Devoid of any of this distillery’s usual problematic cardboard or overly mashy or grainy notes. This is lean, medical, muscular and well-defined. The kind of cask which is. Continue reading »

Managers Drams

We have a haul of Managers Drams in this sale ranging from the Cardhu bottled in 1998  through to the Knockando bottled 2012.

This series is becoming harder and harder to obtain due to the fact they’re highly collectable and particularly very good quality. As more and more realise how good these whiskies are, the prices will only continue to climb as we’ve seen in the last several months.

Ones to look out for that I’ve tried amongst this bunch include the Cardhu bottled at a hefty 63% and quite easily the two Oban’s. Particularly the 16-year-old sherry cask bottled for the distilleries Bicentenary. This one tops the Cardhu with a strength of 64% but does not need interfering with any water whatsoever.

Rare Malts Selection

Joining the Managers Drams is another pinnacle series under the house of Diageo. The Rare Malts Selection. First launched back in 1995 to champion their rare stock – interestingly it was not just to showcase long aged whiskies but instead to display each distilleries best qualities in their natural form. In this sale, you will find a small selection of some of the more desirable examples. Including a 1970 St Magdalene 58.1%, a 1971 Glenury Royal 61.3%, a 1971 Hillside 62.0%, and a 1973 Cardhu 60.5% – this is one of the hardest to find strength variants in the Rare Malts series and hardly ever turns up in auction. And finally a 1975 Brora 54.9% & 1982 58.1%.

First Ever Bottling Of Distillery 111
Scotch Malt Whisky Society

From the Archives. The distillery stands close to the ruins of Dunyvaig castle, once the stronghold of the Lord of the Isles. Here is a great opportunity to see just how different the cask makes in the flavour of mature whisky.

Wetsuits and burnt toast
This whisky is quite different from the next one. It has spent the last 15 years in a first-fill, Spanish oak dry-oloroso butt. Its colour is that of old Madeira (or polished mahogany). The neat nose is redolent of sherry, with some soap flakes and fudge. With water an extraordinary scent of neoprene (the stuff wetsuits are made of) is first noted, then a trace of marzipan, exotic smoke, caramelised sugar heather stalks, sea tangle, burnt toast. Winter smells. Great with smoked salmon, or upon retiring from a walk.

All the best from all of us here at Whisky Online Auctions.

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SEPTEMBER AUCTION – CASK HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

Tobermory Whisky Cask For Sale

Following last months duo of 1994 Tobermory casks, we’re delighted to offer this equally impressive 1996.

Cask #428: originally filled on the 21/06/1996  into a First Fill Hogshead. This cask would currently yield approximately 252 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 22 years of age.

Colour: White Wine

Nose: A fresh and surprisingly medicinal Tobermory. Lots of bandages, oatmeal, linen, ointments, sourdough and a rather taught salinity. Leans towards a mineral profile with time. Some notes of hessian, lamp oil and coal smoke emerge. Surprisingly clean and characterful. Some salty porridge notes along with lemon peel and baking soda. Very good!

Palate: chalky minerals, white stone fruits and lemon oils at first. A rather even texture and notes of olive oil, rice crackers, oatcakes, lime zest and lychee syrup. This medicinal side comes through again in the form of throat sweets and cough medicine. A soothing, mentholated quality emerges. Some hints of mouthwash, soda bread and herbal ointments.

Finish: Long, lemony, yeasty, earthy and slightly brittle with these mineral notes of beach pebbles, crushed sea shells, sand and mustard powder. Rather powerful in fact, with a sustained, herbal aftertaste.

Conclusions: A really excellent, characterful Tobermory. Devoid of any of this distillery’s usual problematic cardboard or overly mashy or grainy notes. This is lean, medical, muscular and well-defined. The kind of cask which is ready to bottle now and should prove a delightful and surprising dram to most drinkers.

If you are interested in buying this cask, you can register to bid on our auction here: https://www.whisky-onlineauctions.com/create-account/

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Whisky Tasting – Friday 19th October 2018

Whisky Online – Distell Tasting 2018

We’re delighted to announce we will be teaming up with Distell International to host a malt whisky tasting.

Our hosts Brian Houston (Deanston Head Tour Guide) and Stevie Clarkson (Brand Ambassador for Whisky) will educate us all and take us on an amazing tasting tour journey from the Highland distillery of Deanston and onto the Isles of Islay and Mull with Bunnahabain and Ledaig.

We will be tasting the below on the evening:

* Deanston 10 Year Old
* Deanston 18 Year Old
* Bunnahabhain 12 Year Old
* Bunnahabhain 18 Year Old
* Bunnahabhain 25 Year Old
* Ledaig 10 Year Old
* Ledaig 18 Year Old

The tasting will be held on Friday 19th October 2018 at Blackpool Football Club in The Directors Box.

All attendees should arrive at 19:30 for 20:00 start.
On arrival, you will be greeted by a member of the Whisky-Online team and our hosts from Distell.
Brian and Stevie from Distell will be delighted to educate everyone throughout the evening and will be keen to taste and talk you through the 7 different whiskies on offer.

We will also be holding a charity auction on the evening for Trinity Hospice who are based in Blackpool http://www.trinityhospice.co.uk/

All whisky tasted on the evening will be available to purchase with a 10% discount. Please note discount is only available at the event.
Tickets are £15.00 per person and can be purchased by contacting Debbie or Tim on 01253 620376 or tim@whisky-online.com

Book now to avoid disappointment as tickets are limited.

https://www.whisky-online.com/distel-whisky-tasting-evening.html

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Alex Barclay Miniature Auction Part 2

Auction 2 of 5

It’s time for the next instalment of our auctions dedicated to the Alex Barclay Miniature Collection. A couple of months ago, Wayne, Harrison & Sarah travelled to Birmingham to collect over 5000 miniatures from Alex Barclay, president of the Mini Bottle Club. The collection is so large that we are splitting it into five auctions of around a thousand bottles each. For more information about Alex’s extraordinary collection, check out our exclusive interview on the blog here.

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This month’s selection includes a very large number of miniatures from two of the UK’s best independent bottlers: Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory.  Both of these companies were well ahead of the game and have played important roles in creating the market for single malt whiskies as we know it today, so of course there are some absolutely fantastic bottles up for sale in this auction.

The headline minis in this month’s auction include some very rare old vintage malts from highly sought-after distilleries.

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Gordon & Macphail were the de facto official bottlers of Macallan for many years, and the auction has several great examples, including the high strength Macallan 100 Proof, Macallan 15yo 100 Proof and a very rare 4cl version of Macallan 15yo 100 Proof for Italy.  They also bottled what is widely believed to be Macallan as the Pride of Strathspey – there’s a wonderful 1937 Pride of Strathspey 50yo included this month.  Not to be outdone, Signatory, who are also famous for their vintage bottlings, have this cask strength Macallan 1964 bottled early in the company’s history in 1992.

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Staying with blue chip distilleries and there are some fabulous 50 year-olds from Gordon & MacPhail, including three Mortlachs from 1936, 1938 and 1939 and a Glenlivet 1940, all with the Book of Kells-style font.  These are in great condition considering they were bottled thirty years ago in the mid to late 1980s.

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Gordon & MacPhail were also early bottlers of Talisker, and there are a few of their iconic bottlings including this Talisker 100 Proof from the famous black label ‘Eagle’ series and a couple of lovely Talisker 1955 Cask Strength bottlings from 1992 and 1993.

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Both G&M and Signatory have 1967 Laphroaigs in this auction as well, with the G&M Laphroaig 1967 an early brown label Connoisseurs Choice bottling from the early 1980s  and the Signatory bottling a cask strength Laphroaig 1967 bottled in 1995.

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There are hundreds more brilliant single malts available from both these bottlers in this month’s auction, with very rare experimental drams from Mosstowie and Glen Craig, seldom-seen long-dead distilleries including Coleburn, Convalmore, Glen Flagler, Kinclaith and Ben Wyvis and, of course, a slew of highly desirable drams from more familiar ghost distilleries such as Port Ellen, Rosebank, Lochside and Brora.  

The really rare stars of this auction, though are even older. The depth of Alex’s collection never ceases to amaze us and this is illustrated best by the amazing old blends and single malts from the 1950s, ‘40s and even earlier.  

72799-1033-1The headline-grabbers here are a pair of minis blended using whisky from Orkney’s fabled Stromness distillery, which closed in 1928 and was demolished during the 1940s: Old Orkney and Old Orkney Relics Grand 12yo, the latter a truly beautiful bottle that sadly has preserved only a small amount of its original contents.

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These treasures line up alongside more familiar gems including brilliantly-preserved examples of White Horse 1956, King George IV, Black & White, a fantastic, very rare Cardow (Cardhu) bottled late 1950s or early ‘60s, a stunning old Islay Mist in incredible condition and a gorgeous, very old Ainslie & Heilbron’s King’s Liqueur. More esoteric ancient treasures include an antique Strathmohr (not to be confused with the later Strathmore) and the medicinally-themed Special Fortification. We don’t know very much about this one, other than it’s very old and the label is wonderful – many of Alex’s miniatures are real works of art.

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There’s really something for everyone in this month’s auction! Good Luck, and Happy Bidding.

 

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