January Auction Results 2018

Every time you think these bonded casks can’t surprise you, they go right ahead and surprise you. The 1989 hogshead of Macallan in our latest auction finished up at an eye-watering £242,200. That’s the equivalent of £942 per bottle, and that’s without duty and bottling costs added on. This is the kind of price that independent bottlers and brokers just aren’t able (or willing) to pay, going to show that, if you have these sorts of casks, auction is the place for them. Looking at the constancy of the results for these bonded casks it seems the level of demand is only solidifying. Never mind investing in bottles, it looks like the smart money was on casks…


Back to reality (sort of) and it seems like Macallan once again dominated the other top spots in this auction. The 1946 and the 40 year old for Duty Free both performed impressively at £13,200 and £12,600 respectively. Although, for my money, the 1945 Speymalt by Gordon & MacPhail is a better buy at £11,100 from a liquid perspective. This 70 year old, and its 68 year old sibling, were sold for what seems like a remarkably cheap £4000 back when they were released. Considering this bottling is the oldest Macallan ever released and is, reportedly, a extremely find dram to boot, this looks like a good buy.

The other top end bottles seemed to be broadly consistent this sale. Ardbeg Manager’s Choice at £2900, Talisker 1957 £2600 and Michter’s 25 year old Rye for £2900 were all solid results. The appetite for old Laphroaig continued unabated with the 10 year old from the late 1970s fetching an impressive £1450. These kinds of tropical old style Islay whiskies are clearly attracting serious and broader interest, someone should really make this style of whisky again.

Also interesting, and impressive, was the Dailuaine 1966 31 year old Cadenhead bottling at £1250. This is a terrific whisky, however it’s a high price for this bottling. It may be a spike or, equally likely, we might be about to see all these older Cadenhead releases begin trading at this level. Other strong and notable results around the four figure region were the Berry Brother’s 1968 Talisker – a deliciously dark and inviting dram – hitting a nice round £1000. The Macallan Special Reserve at £825 was also an impressive result for a bottling which tended to lag behind other limited official Macallans for quite some time.

The Highland Park 1967 Duncan Taylor at £625, Glendronach 1975 Ian MacLeod at £625, Springbank 21 year old at £600 and the Glen Grant Moray Bonding 10 year old at £575 all represented bottlings which were trading around the £300 mark not so long ago. All perfect examples of how quality liquid is getting more desirable and increasing in value across the board irrespective of distillery.


The two Bruichladdich 1970 Valinches at £500 and £525 respectively further display an increasing interest in aged Bruichladdich in the market more generally. Nice to see these terrific and rather unique old drams getting a bit more attention. Conversely the Lagavulin Syndicate 11 and 13 year old bottlings seemed to settle down to the £500 range this sale, perhaps going to show that as supply of these rarities continues the price is starting to soften accordingly.

Another trend that I’ve noticed in recent months is that bottlings which used to be relatively unknown, or could be considered safe bargains in most sales, are now broadly known about and tend to perform well in any auction. Examples would be bottlings such as the Springbank 8 year old under the Glen’s label for £320 and the Alex Ferguson 1940s blend for £360. Both fair prices for these whiskies but far more representative of their quality than recent results were. A sad time for those of use who like to hunt out lesser known delicious old drams. Good times for anyone selling.

There were, however, a few good bargains for keen eyed buyers this sale. Which in some ways is a refreshing buck of the trend from most recent sales. The Ardbeg 1974 – 1996 Connoisseur’s Choice was something of a steal at £290. As was the Glenlochy 1974 Connoisseur’s Choice for £280. The Mortlach 21 year old from the 1980s also still looks like good value considering the quality of the liquid at £250. While a Laphroaig 10 year old from the late 1980s for £235 is about the best price you’ll pay for old style tropical Laphroaig these days. Similarly the Lagavulin 16 year old White Horse 75cl for £185 was a very good price considering the recent heat around these bottlings.

By and large though, this was another sale full of consistent and top end prices with bargains few and far between. Oh to be in the 1990s again as a buyer! Anyway, a buoyant market means more whisky being brought up for sale and more interesting bottles being discovered. Happy days! Until next time…


Macallan 1989 Cask Sells For £242,200


After an epic bidding battle that lasted over four hours past the scheduled finish, a cask of Macallan single malt whisky distilled in 1989 sold for an astounding £242,200 ($336,512) in our February auction. We reckon this is a world record for a cask of 1989 whisky!

As you’ll know if you’ve been following our previous blogposts, Cask 1248 is a refill sherry hogshead that has been maturing in one of the distillery’s official bonded warehouses since being filled in January 1989.  It’s the ninth Macallan cask we’ve auctioned and the oldest one we’ve had so far.

The regauging done in December on this cask showed that it now holds approximately 257 standard 70cl bottles of whisky at a strength of 52.75% abv, with the hammer price equating to over £942 per bottle before commission, duty and bottling costs are added. The incredible price comfortably beats our previous records from last month when a 1990 Macallan of the same cask type fetched £135,100 at an equivalent bottle price of around £560. A larger cask of Macallan 1996 sold in the same auction for £168,300 (around £320 per bottle).

The price achieved by the Macallan 1989 represents a remarkable surge in value for casks from the distillery. A similar hogshead cask from the 1995 vintage sold for £52,100 only three months ago in November 2017. The sale is an astonishing return on investment for the previous owner of Cask 1248, who paid £2,700 for the cask in 1994 when the whisky was just five years old.

Our own Wayne Ormerod, founder of Whisky-Online Auctions, commented: “This was a superb sale. Macallan is a blue chip distillery known for its sherry casks, so it’s ideal for auctions like ours that specialise in the best quality older whiskies. It is great to see this level of demand for bonded casks of single malt from serious auction buyers. There were multiple bidders who were determined to secure Cask 1248, which is why the auction kept extending and the cask ended up going for such a fantastic price.

“We’ve been auctioning rare bottles of whisky for several years, so when the opportunity to start auctioning casks came along it seemed like a natural progression. It’s fair to say we’ve been very pleasantly surprised by just how successful it’s been.”

It’s amazing how quickly the prices of these casks has escalated – we only began selling bonded casks last July but the opportunity to own and bottle a ‘private’ cask has clearly been a big hit with our buyers. As well as the high-profile Macallan casks, we’ve also seen plenty of interest in casks of maturing whisky from distilleries including Isle of Jura, Tullibardine, Arran and even a 1990 vintage cask from Littlemill, a distillery which was closed and dismantled over twenty years ago.

“A cask of aged Macallan is an increasingly historic and valuable asset and will always fetch high prices, particularly as the old Macallan distillery will be closing later this year after production is switched to the new facility. That makes these casks representing the distillery’s golden era even more special,” said Wayne.

“The whisky is a great example of 1980s Macallan and the good news is that although it’s drinking very well now, it’ll definitely keep until its thirtieth birthday next year – if the buyer can wait that long to bottle it.

“This is a new and rapidly-growing part of our business and we expect these extraordinary prices will attract many other cask-owners keen to find out how much their own liquid gold could achieve at auction.”


January Auction – Full Cask Held in Bond – Tasting Notes

As another cask of Macallan in bond arrives for auction, it is worth remembering that this year the new Macallan distillery will open to the public. As full production commences at this new distillery the original Macallan distillery – where this very cask was distilled back in 1989 – will cease production. Leaving aside the arguments about the implications of this decision, the fact remains that this is a scarce opportunity to acquire a cask of Macallan from the original distillery – a liquid that some may come to consider increasingly historic and valuable in light of these aforementioned forthcoming developments. On top of this, this particular cask has spent its entire life maturing on site at the distillery. Something which adds that extra layer of history and romance to what is, most importantly, an excellent whisky in its own right.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes:

Colour: Gold

Nose: This is a classical, aged Speyside profile with a forward note of honey, buttered toast, sweet and savoury patisserie, yellow flowers, pollen and various notes of toasted sunflower seeds, cereals, hay and, with a little opening up time, a rather beautiful and fragrant aroma of orange peel and citrus cake. Develops with white and green fruits and more citrus aspects.

Palate: Surprisingly spicy. Spice cake, cinnamon buns, pumpernickel and rye breads, olive oil, a light mineral aspect and subtle earthiness. Develops towards quince, turmeric and this orangey note again, manifesting here as orange bitters and mulling spices.

Finish: Long with drying earthiness, light waxes and more cereal and hay loft notes. Still slightly buttery in texture with some background green fruits.

Comments: A perfect example of well-aged Macallan that displays the distillate weight and character extremely well without any undue or excess influence from the cask. This could be bottled now but it seems a shame not to allow it to reach 30 years. The freshness and the flavour profile are still perfectly vibrant and I see no reason why the cask could not be allowed to mature for anything up to a further five years.


January Auction Highlights 2018

Whisky-Online Auctions First Auction Of 2018 Is Now Live!
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First of all we would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and trust you had a relaxing festive period. We hope you enjoyed all of our auctions we put together in 2017 and we will strive to keep bringing you a fresh selection of interesting whiskies throughout 2018!

Kicking off our first auction of the year we have yet another Cask Held In Bond. Our oldest cask to date; a Macallan 1989 refill Sherry Hogshead that will currently yield approximately 257 70cl bottles. It is worth remembering that this year the new Macallan distillery will open to the public. As full production commences at this new distillery, the original Macallan distillery – where this very cask was distilled back in 1989 – will cease production. Leaving aside the arguments about the implications of this decision, the fact remains that this is a scarce opportunity to acquire a cask of Macallan from the original distillery – a liquid that some may come to consider increasingly historic and valuable in light of these aforementioned forthcoming developments. On top of this, this particular cask has spent its entire life maturing on site at the distillery. Something which adds that extra layer of history and romance to what is, most importantly, an excellent whisky in its own right.

Johnnie Walker 1805 Celebration Blend

On to bottled liquid. The Johnnie Walker Celebration Blend makes a warm welcome. This whisky was created by Johnnie Walker Master Blender Jim Beveridge in 2005 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of John Walker’s birth. The blend was created from 9 component whiskies aged from 45 to 70 years. These bottles were never sold publically and were instead gifted by Diageo to people deemed to have made a ‘significant contribution to modern life’. As a result almost all remain in private hands or have been consumed. This rather spectacular bottling remains the holy grail for Johnnie Walker collectors and an exquisite rarity for any whisky lover in its own right.

We have a great selection of whiskies from Gordon & MacPhail’s portfolio. Many of which are from years gone by where you will find all their best stock. Gordon & MacPhail are one of the oldest and most well known independent bottlers and offer some spectacular whiskies that you will only find in the likes of auction. In this sale you will find a mind boggling 70 year old Macallan distilled in 1945 from their Speymalt series, along with a 55 year old distilled in 1950. These are both single casks. We also have a 1967 & 1973 from the same series. Their Connoisseurs Choice range is represented by a 1965 Ben Nevis, 1966 Kinclaith, 1967 Glenglassaugh & a 1968 Glenburgie. From the 1970s there’s a 1970 North Port-Brechin, 1971 Port Ellen, 1972 Dallas Dhu, 1974 Ardbeg & a 1975 Caol Ila. Finally from the 1980s you will find a 1980 Macduff, 1981 St Magdalene & a 1982 Brora. We also have the very scarce Royal Marriage series which were distilled in 1959 & 1960 to commemorate the marriage of Prince Andrew to Miss Sarah Ferguson in 1986. We’ve never seen this set in one single sale before, so, if you’re missing one or two don’t miss this opportunity. Other G&M bottlings to look out for in this sale are a pre-war Glen Grant distilled in 1936, another 1957 Talisker from their CASK series; this is the last bottle from this particular vendor. And finally a very rare 1966 Scapa.

Old Malt Whiskies

On the left we have a rather rare and well preserved Glenturret bottled in the late 1960s. Official bottlings from this period are few and far between these days so if you’re looking for one in mint condition, this is a perfect opportunity.
On the right and from the same vendor we have a very beautiful and pristine 10 year old Glen Grant bottled by Moray Bonding in the 1950s. Moray Bonding was a private limited company established in 1947 and like Gordon & MacPhail they held a license to bottle Glen Grant as a single malt on behalf of the Distillery.

Featuring for the first time in one of our auctions is a bottle of Glens Extra from around 1970. The label reads ”Pure West Highland Malt Whisky Distilled & Bottled By The Springbank Distillery”. This is quite a rare variation of Glens Extra bottled by Robert Watson of Aberdeen. The vendor has an identical bottle open and mentioned it’s a very nice old Springbank. Lastly we have a Cardhu from roughly the same period. These older Cardhu’s are generally very waxy, mineraly and flowery with all kinds of old style complexities. All these older whiskies are well worth the experience if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on them.

Old Pulteney 40 Year Old

Released in 2012, the Old Pulteney 40 year old is the oldest official release to date. The whisky was drawn from a Spanish ex-sherry & American ex-bourbon at healthy 51.3%. The liquid sit’s in a unique hand blown decanter where a skilled craftsman has blown silver waves into the glass while the metal was still molten.

Old Pulteney 35 Year Old

Alongside the 40 Year Old you will find the 35 Year Old. Released in 2014 this one spent its life maturing in American Ex Bourbon & Spanish Ex Sherry Casks. Only 1350 bottles yielded at 42.5%. The bottle is presented in a wooden box with a latch lock and porthole to represent the distilleries maritime connections.

Macallan 40 Year Old

This is a particularly special bottle of Macallan and up until 2018, it was the only official age statement 40 year old released by the distillery. With only 450 bottles ever produced – many of which were opened and consumed – makes this an extremely scarce opportunity to acquire this rather legendary bottling.

Macallan 1946 – 52 Year Old

A stunning sherry matured 1946 Macallan that, due to the lack of coal in the post-war years, is remarkably peaty. An exquisite dram and increasingly hard to find.

Don’t forget to have a look through all the wonderful old blends. We have examples from Black & White, Haig, Old Parr, White Horse and a very obscure over 7 year old Famous Grouse along with the run of the mill you can pick up for a great price.

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