Our latest auction was very much one of market consistency and the firming up of current price trends for certain whiskies. The highest achieving bottle – the Bowmore 1955 40 year old – however was an interesting one in that it was a comfortable and impressive new record for this particular bottling with a hammer price of £6200. A remarkable and extraordinarily brilliant whisky; it has long been suspected that this bottling would start to climb into higher four figure prices one day. Is this result a spike or the start of a new trading level? Time will tell.
It’s not often the upper end of an auction features quite so many Glenfarclas. This auction saw the 1955 John Grant 50 year old, the Millennium 40 year old
and the 1956 Family Casks 2007 edition all achieve comfortable and consistent prices of £4000, £1900 and £1950 respectively. Similarly, the Caol Ila Manager’s Dram hit a consistent £2150; proof again of just how in demand the liquid inside this legendary bottling is.
It was good to see the Old Pulteney 40 year old hit a new record of £2050 at auction. This is a beautiful bottling in terms of both aesthetics and liquid, perhaps a little overlooked upon release but now certainly gaining more appreciation from collectors and drinkers alike. In terms of bottlings that are in the midst of upwards realignment in terms of their secondary market values, the results of £1750 and £1250 for the Macallan 1965 17 year old and the Bowmore Bicentenary show these bottlings are now comfortably trading at these new price levels and look set to stay at this mark for near future.
Speaking of Macallan the Diamond Jubilee and Private Eyes all performed towards the top of their price range in this sale in the £1150-1250 bracket. Interestingly enough the Coronations were down in this sale around a somewhat depressed £500-525. On the opposite end of the spectrum from pure ‘collectables’. The old rarities had another solid auction with an early example of the Springbank 30 year old hitting a healthy £1050 – good considering the level. And the 1940s John Locke providing further evidence of the strength of older Irish Whiskey bottlings at auction these days. Another good example was the Glen Grant Moray Bonding 10 year old from the 1950s which hit £575, the last time we had one of these in it sold for around half that price. The demand for old single malts such as this goes nowhere but up these days.
Also in spiralling demand is Brora which delivered another healthy crop of results with the SMWS 61.9 1981 Brora fetching £675 and the 1975 Rare Malts finishing at £700. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get any cask strength Brora from any of the short eras of its production for under £500 nowadays and it looks set to continue to climb in value.
There were plenty of other strong results in this sale around the mid-range of the auction. £575 for the Cadenhead’s Warehouse Tasting 1977 39 year old Littlemill, £600 for the 1964 Blackadder Glenfarclas and £235 for the Springbank 1997 19 year old Cadenhead’s Warehouse Tasting bottling – this is a series that is seemingly from strength to strength at auction thanks to great liquid and fair retail prices. Although I hope this doesn’t stop because – as drinker – this series is a Godsend, thank you Cadenhead!
Prices throughout this sale were generally strong and consistent, but this sale was notable for a series of excellent bargains around the £40-100 range. If you were looking for good value drinkers for home or your bar, this was potentially a great sale from a buyer’s perspective. Bottlings such as a 1985 21 year old Ardmore SMWS 66.22 for £67.50, or a dark sherried 1987 Macallan from Cadenheads for £82.50 were good prices from a drinking perspective. Similarly, quite a number of other SMWS, old Signatory and Cadenhead bottlings around this price range were also great wee bargains. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you are patient, careful and observant, there is no shortage of great bottlings to be had at auctions for fair prices.
Overall a well-balanced, mid-year kind of sale that clearly emphasised that the secondary market is very much a seller’s market at the upper and middle levels and a drinker’s treat at the lower ends. The watchword for this sale was very much consistency above all else. Plenty to give confidence to anyone thinking about cashing in on a few juicy bottles. Until next time…