So, it seems we have passed (temporarily?) peak Largiemeanoch. The immense prices this bottle has been fetching recently (£10,300 in last month’s auction!) have helped bring further bottles to market. This latest example finished at a slightly lower £9600, although that is still a remarkable price for a bottling that is purely about quality of liquid over any kind of brand association. Will there be other Largiemeanochs in future, well we weren’t expecting this one so we’ll have to wait and see. It would be lovely to see the even rarer 10 year old 1969 version turn up at some point.
Other notable results from the upper echelons of this latest sale were obviously the Dalmore Candela 50 year old. This is the third time we’ve sold this bottling. In 2014 the price was £10,600, in September this year £14,600 and last night £15,200. It’s an impressive upward trajectory and further indication that the weakening pound is having an impressive upward effect on prices just now, even in the last couple of months.
Three of the top Macallan all hit very impressive highs with the 1950 finishing at £3800, up from its previous results so far this year. The rarely seen 1961 G&M 100 proof bottling fetched a muscular £3500, showing just how much people chase these higher strength variants when they do turn up. It’s easy to forget a lot of these older Macallans are still being opened and enjoyed by the people that buy them. And the first edition of the Anniversary Malt series the 1957 performed exceptionally well with a hammer price of £3400, well up from where it was trading earlier this year.
Glenfarclas continues to become a bigger name on the secondary market, with two examples from its beautiful Family Cask series, a 1957 and 1958, fetching £3100 and £2500 respectively. This is again well up from where these releases were at even six months ago.
Other prices across the top end of the sale were almost universally impressive. The likes of the Springbank 1964 Cadenheads Sherrywood bottling fetched a new high of £2150. The 1964 and 1958 vintage Macallans all stretched comfortably past the £2000 mark – again, until very recently these were in the £1000-1500 bracket for quite some time. And a stunning 12 year old sherry matured Springbank from the early 1980s fetched an impressive – but not entirely unpredictable – £1900. This is an extremely rare bottling and given the bottling era, the colour and the distillery, it was always destined for an impressive price.
Again Macallan keeps on impressing this auction. The 18 year olds have rocketed in price recently, we now expect a price of £1550 for a 1968 18 year old – even without its box and a slightly worn label – £1500 for the 1981 however? That’s impressive, and seems to be the direction in which all vintage version of this series are heading.
Moving down below the £1000 mark, there were some other very strong results from bottlings not normally seen at this level – or not for a while in the case of the Ardbeg Mor at £950. The Glenmorangie 1963 hit an impressive £1000, as did the 7th Release Port Ellen, while the Lagavulin 1985 21 year old hit £950 and the Ardbeg Lord Of The Isles £925. While the Bunnahabhain Auld Acquaintance is to be expected around the £1000 mark these days, it was good to see the other Islay Festival vintage bottlings not far behind it with the 1966 on £775 and the 1965 on £800.
Vintage Longmorns are getting more and more desirable these days as well. As evidenced by the two 1968 vintages, one from the SMWS and one for Whisky Magazine, both alighting on £700. As did the Glenmorangie 1981 Sauternes Finish, I remember not so long ago when these were fetching £300-400 and we thought that was impressive – how naive we were.
The Port Ellen 10 year old Scottish Wildlife is one of those bottlings that could be picked up for £200-300 for so long and is now climbing into the high hundreds with a final price last night of £600. It seems Port Ellen is possibly on the move again. The same could be said of other bottlings such as the Ardbeg 1977 at £600 and the Laphroaig Cask Strength litre at £600. Both are bottlings you could get for around half that price a few months ago. Whether this is all to do with a weak pound post brexit remains to be seen. When/if the pound regains some ground it will be interesting to see if these kinds of prices are maintained.
Other notable results in the lower parts of the auction were a rare UK version of the old Aberlour 8 year old from the 1970s which finished up at £360 – well beyond the more common 50% abv versions for Italy. A rare Balvenie 1972 – the very first bottling from the First Cask series – fetched an impressive £350. At the same sort of levels there were also a few bargains to be had. The 1970 Highland Park from Gordon & MacPhail’s Centenary series still seems like a good buy at £250, as does a litre of the old 8 year old Balvenie from around 1980 for £155.
In terms of other ‘bargains’ though, once again this was a sale where such things were thin on the ground. A mid-1990s 75cl 43% Laphroaig 10 year old for £47.50 is about the best I can find. Not much considering the wealth of lovely bottles that were in this sale. For now the market seems to be beating at its sturdiest in as long as we can recall. From a seller’s perspective it seems like a no-brainer to capitalise on this before the pound resurges…