Last night saw the end of our big, annual Christmas auction. A special two-week extended auction that usually features some of the best bottles and prices of the year. Last night was no exception with strong results across the board.
Immediate highlights were bottles such as the 1959 Bruichladdich Cadenhead Dumpy. This series just goes from strength to strength these days but this is probably one of the rarest bottlings in the whole series and one of only two known examples of Bruichladdich distilled before they stopped peating in 1960. That it finished up at £4900 is little surprise when you consider these factors and the sheer rarity of this bottling.
Elsewhere at the top end of the sale the Macallan 1946 finished up at a very healthy £5600 and the Bowmore 1964 Fino Cask an equally healthy £4600.The Laphroaigs were on form as well with the 40 year old hitting £3300 and the 12 year old 1960s Cadenhead bottling reaching £2800. The two Brora Rare Malts bottlings finished up at £2200 and £2150 respectively, these were both the 58.7% 1972 editions, both were without boxes and had levels at the base the neck. The fact the prices on these bottlings continues to climb to the point that even examples such as these ones in middling condition will hit new highs says a lot about the continued power of rare and highly regarded whisky to command serious interest.
The same can be said of the Springbank Local Barley cask 443, another legendary bottling that is now very scarce at auction, this one finished at £2700 despite the level around the top shoulder, once again going to show just how much demand there still is for legendary liquid. One can only imagine what one with a level still in the neck would achieve…
The Karuizawas were all strong and consistent in performance if a little softer than where they were a few months ago, although the prices achieved are still far in excess of their original retail prices so they continue to be easy money for those lucky enough to have bought them at the time.
It was good to see the 1958 Glen Garioch achieve a new record of £1550, well deserved for this great and often overlooked bottling.
One of the big surprises of the night was the Bowmore Save The Children Decanter, a bespoke release for this charity from way back in 1994. The final price of £1650 goes to show the power of the completist mentality in some collectors when it comes to those ‘1 of 1’ bottlings.
Another trend apparent in this auction was the continued stagnation of Ardbeg prices, all the single casks and older bottlings performed well and consistently but perhaps the fact that there is so little of any real interest being released by Ardbeg anymore is preventing the older bottlings from doing anything other than treading water, price-wise, at auction these days. For the purely novelty versions such as the Auriverdes Gold edition, the prices are simply going down.
Other more curious results were bottlings such as the 12 year old, 100 proof Springbank from the 1990s, this bottling was without a box or even a label and yet still finished up at a remarkable £825. Another example of how desire for great whisky can drive prices a bit nuts. Next to it in the sale the Glengoyne 1972 by Malts Of Scotland hit a new high of £800, we’ve sold a few of these recently and the price just seem to go from strength to strength, once again, great whisky seems to be the key.
Another noticeable aspect of this sale was the continued strong performance of the SMWS bottlings. The 1978 Brora 61.22 achieved a very impressive £625 and the Rosebank 25.4 hit £600, this series of Rosebanks were around the £200-300 mark last year which goes to show just how far the interest in these closed Lowland distilleries has come in the space of a year.
Of the bargains in this sale the Croziet 1914 Cognac seems to stick out like a sore thumb at £250, there is a remarkable amount of great old Armagnac and Cognac out there – particularly at auction – at the moment, how long it will stay cheap is anyone’s guess but it’s probably something worth exploring if you find yourself frustrated with the increasing prices of quality drinking whisky.
Although, speaking of quality drinking whisky, there were still many very tasty bottlings around the £50-150 range that look almost like bargains when you consider their likely quality. The First Cask series is interesting in its prevalence at auction these days despite its continued cheapness. When you think of the quality of something like a 1975 Balblair and look at the price of £82.50, it seems like there are still some great drams to be had for good prices.
All in all, though this was one of the strongest auctions we’ve had in quite some time and it looks as though prices for great quality, highly desirable whiskies are going nowhere but up. We’ve always prided ourselves on the fact that our strength as an auction lies on older and rarer bottlings, so if your sitting on these sorts of bottles and would like to discuss selling, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
For now though, happy new year and happy hunting in 2016…
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