JULY AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS 2018

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Dalmore 50 Year Old, Crystal Decanter

Highlighting our July auction is the magnificent Dalmore 50 year old.  This whisky is regarded as the best Dalmore ever bottled and probably the best 50 year old in the World. This was distilled during the 1920s and bottled back in 1978. There’s very few whiskies distilled in this period combined with such great age. Dalmore, along with a handful of other distilleries revolutionised the whisky industry and demonstrated how great certain whiskies can be at such an age. Even today there’s distilleries that have never reached this age. Not that all whiskies need to be old to be good! What’s interesting about this whisky is the fact it’s bottled at a hefty 52%, which is very unusual for such an old whisky. All this history is wrapped up in a hand-cut crystal decanter and bespoke wooden presentation box which is accompanied with a certificate of authenticity hand signed by Richard Patterson. Due to the value of this whisky until recently, there’s been plenty of these opened and with only 60 produced makes this one of the hardest official Dalmore’s to find nowadays.
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Macallan 1946, 56 Year Old, Fine & Rare

Joining the Dalmore Fifty at the top of this sale is a 56 year old Macallan distilled just after the War ended, in 1946. This has been bottled under the distilleries Fine & Rare series which displays Macallan at its best. This is one of the oldest bottlings in the Fine & Rare series that was an original, cask strength and fully matured release rather than a re-bottling. This coupled with the fact of the lack of coal due to the post-war years makes this one of the true gems of this fabled series and perhaps one of the most desirable and hardest to obtain.
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Springbank

If you follow us on Facebook you may already know we have a small haul of Springbank in this sale. A few highlights include two official releases bottled by the distillery in the 1990s. A 25 year old Sherry Cask and a 21 year old under the Archibald Mitchell label.

These are joined by two Dumpy Cadenhead bottlings. A 1973 18 year old – this was matured full term in a Rum Butt rather than just a finish as we tend to see in later bottlings. I assume from the information on label this was drawn from a single cask. Topping this is an incredibly rarer and harder to find Springbank Cadenhead bottling. This one was bottled at least before 1977 and therefore will certainly contain whisky distilled in the early/mid 1950s. The vendor bought this bottle from their local ‘wholesalers’ named Foster’s several decades ago and it’s interesting to see the original price tag (£9.45p) is still stuck on the top of the cap. How things have changed, aye!

Equally as rare is the 1964 31 year old bottled under Cadenhead’s Authentic Collection. This is a whisky I’ve been wanting to try for some time now and I missed my opportunity earlier this year at the Old & Rare! I believe this is a very impressive Sherry matured Springbank and is supposed to be up there with the official 1966 Local Barley’s.

Elsewhere from Springbank you will find numerous examples distilled in the sixties such as a 1967 by Duncan Taylor, a 1968 by Chieftain’s and a 1969 by Signatory.

Old Is The New New
1980s

Older whiskies are what we are all about here at Whisky-Online and we pride ourselves on uncovering a good selection each month. In this sale you will find a nice array of official single malts from the 1980s. These include a 1 litre Bowmore 12 year old. This is a fantastic whisky that’s silky smooth, fruity, peaty, flora and fresh. But be careful, you could easily bury a whole bottle in one session. You could say the same for the ‘Unblended’ Laphroaig 10 year old too. These are joined by several other 1980s bottlings such as a Isle Of Jura 8 year old, a Classic 18 year old Balvenie and a dumpy 12 year old Highland Park.

1970s

From the seventies we have a very rare semi-official Pulteney, one of several produced between the 1970s and 1980s for the Caithness Club under the original Pulteney ‘Lion’ label. Heading over to Clynelish with a very beautiful 12 year old. This livery was introduced in 1977 and the liquid itself is from the pre Brora Clynelish Distillery. This period displayed low levels of peat because it was no longer needed for Islay blends as Caol Ila was back in full production. Or if you’re wanting peat, take a look at the 1939 Glenlivet by Gordon & MacPhail. These pre-war single malts were noticeably smokier and peatier but with an equally intense and fruity character.

Old Blended Scotch Whisky

We always love to mention the old blends we have avalible each month. and standing out in this sale is a White Horse bottled in 1947. This will contain a high proportion of whisky distilled at the Lagavulin distillery in the 1940s. These early dated examples hardly ever turn up in auction and it’s great to see this one in such great condition with a well preserved filling level. A more obscure brand and one that you’d be lucky to find is a Benmore Liqueur Scotch Whisky. Blended & bottled by Benmore Distilleries Ltd. BDL have a long background in the whisky industry dating back to as far as 1920. This is when they purchased a now long lost Distillery named Benmore. – Benmore is one of thirty four lost distilleries in the Campbeltown area which closed in 1936. The company also owned the Dallas Dhu distillery from 1921 which was later mothballed in 1929 and sporadically until it finally closed in 1983. The distillery is now a museum and attracts thousands of visitors from around the World each year. Interestingly in 1921 the company also purchased the Lochindall distillery on Islay. This was a fairly short affair as it was sold off in 1929 to DCL who were starting to dominated the distilling industry. All old blends from before the 1950s are becoming very hard to find nowadays and as more and more enthusiasts realise how different this style of whiskies is, they’re only going to continue to become rarer and even more valuable.

 

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

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Berry Bros & Rudd Tasting Notes

We’ve always rated Berry Bros & Rudd as excellent independent bottlers, so we were delighted recently to receive samples of some of their recent bottlings covering a spread of ages and vintages ranging from 1983 to 2002. Without further ado, here’s Tim’s tasting notes for five of the crop.  You can check out all the BBR bottlings we’re currently stocking here.

6547-92819281craigellachie2007-20179yearoldberrybros900640

Craigellachie 2007 9 Year Old, Cask 900640 (Hogshead), 46%, £51

Nose: Immediately recognisable youth, with fresh grass, hay and raw cereal aromas. Lurking lemons, sour green apple, faint notes of sweetpea and pine resin.

Palate: Light-medium in weight with a fresh, crisp texture. The grassy aromas are the strongest, though mid-palate some very fresh lemon juice creeps in, giving racy acidity. There’s also a nice little hazelnut backnote adding some depth. Water mellows the acidity and draws out a pleasing creamy, biscuity flavour.

Finish: Decent length, drying. The green apples return with a hint of unripe pears.

Comment: A textbook, straightforward young Speyside, very reminiscent of a youthful Glenlivet. Obviously at this young age you don’t expect a huge amount of complexity, but this is a refreshing, summery dram that likes a small drop of water.

 

6543-9291glenkeith1995-201721yearoldberrybros171273Glen Keith 1995 21 Year Old Cask 171273 (Hogshead), 49.8%, £98.50

Nose: Very fresh despite the age, even a little nervous, with enticing meadowy aromas on a bed of dried driftwood, with faint vanilla, cinnamon cream, sugared almonds, very faint orange zest, bon-bons and hard icing sugar. Becomes more grassy with time in the glass. In short: classical bourbon-matured Speyside.

Palate: Mediumweight. Clean and lively mouthfeel. Initial acacia honey sweetness, then some old wooden bookshelves as the oak asserts itself. The palate closely follows the nose, with perhaps more emphasis on nutty characteristics: almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts; plus hay and green apple flavours. Water lifts the grassiness from the nose with hints of sweetpea.

Finish: Good length, drying, lemony, a little papery oak towards the end.

Comment: At its best, Glen Keith produces very clean, light, yet powerful distillate perfect for refill hogshead maturation. It needs a long time in such a cask, but the best examples are worth the wait. This is another summery dram that rewards a small drop of water.

 

6538-9297teaninich1983-201733yearoldberrybros6739Teaninich 1983 33 Year Old Cask 6739 (Hogshead), 46%, £246.95

Nose: Lovely intense grassy / honey combination to start, then polished mahogany, vanilla custard, raspberry jam spongecake. Develops more on old bookcases, aromatic woods (cedar, sandalwood). The grassiness remains at the top with a hint of honeysuckle and sweetpea. Just the kind of top class nose that immediately lets you know you have a serious whisky in the glass.

Palate: Mediumweight, with a fresh, tingly mouthfeel.  A sweet honeyed hit first, then tingling acidity, lemon sherberts, really exquisite polished oak, sugared almonds, the spongecake from the nose, then dry leaves, resin, cocoa powder and furniture polish as the oak muscles in. Develops more patisserie aromas – brioche, pain au raisin, icing sugar etc – then becomes quite spicy. Nice interplay of spirit and wood, with the oak inevitably winning out. A tiny drop of water soothes the wood and renders the palate pretty much flawless.

Finish: Very good length, warming, becoming dry and spicy. In a word: moreish. In two words: Very moreish.

Comment: Seriously impressive whisky from an overlooked Diageo workhorse. A great distillate in a really great cask, aged pretty close to perfection. You can see why so little Teaninich makes it to the independents, there’s nothing not to like here. Sadly, quality like this doesn’t come cheap these days, but this is one long-aged dram that’s worth every penny.

 

6548-9289orkneyislands1999-201816yearoldberrybros281Orkney 1999 16 Year Old Sherry Butt, Cask 28, 53.6%, £85.50

Nose: Oof! A pure blast of very rich, clean, aged sherry. Lots of cake: dark fruit cake, chocolate sponge and homemade gingerbread, burnt raisins, balanced with faint woodsmoke, dry leaves and a very faint hint of bitumen. Enticing stuff.

Palate: Medium-full. Nice rich yet lively texture.  Golden syrup, then the gingerbread and fruitcake from the nose, a little woodsmoke again and then hot chocolate, toasted scones and cooked raisins. The smoke becomes a little more prominent with time in the glass. Big and assertive without the faintest suggestion of hotness or harshness even at full strength.

Water’s not really necessary here. I was worried about spoiling the balance, but it actually worked pretty well, in a superfluous way. Stick with full strength.

Finish: Long, warming, dry, sweet and spicy. In a nutshell, it’s lovely.

Comment: It’s immensely encouraging to think that there were still sherry casks of this quality around less than twenty years ago and that there is whisky in many of them that’s just reaching its peak.  Delicious now but would certainly have kept for at least for another five or ten years, probably longer.

6536-9286orkneyislands2002-201814yearoldberrybros1Orkney 2002 14 Year Old Sherry Butt, Cask 1, 56.8%, £75.95

Nose: A similar profile to the ‘99 – very clean, rich, intense sherry, lots of dark cake aromas, raisin syrup, cooked raisins, some treacly aromas, mulch, wet turf, chocolate syrup and faint rye bread hints.

Palate: Medium-full, quite lively without becoming too hot. Rich and sweet but well-balanced. Quite pruney from the outset, also dates, marinated dark fruit, dark muscovado, damson jam, molasses, all accompanied and balanced by some racy acidity.

Finish: Very good length, juicy, tannic, metallic, warming, very slowly fading sweetness.

Comment: It’s fascinating to taste unofficial bottlings from this distillery, unencumbered as they are by any tenuous back stories, OTT packaging or outlandish price tags. This is very good distillate from a very active sherry cask. It’s a bold, in-your-face dram – not exactly subtle, but it makes the most of its obvious charms, and fans of the style will not be disappointed.

That’s all for now, folks – many thanks again to BBR for the samples of their fine drams and don’t forget you can check out all the Berry Bros & Rudd bottlings we’re currently stocking here.

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JOIN US ON OUR FIRST GIN TASTING

We’re excited to announce we will be teaming up with Halewood International to host our first ever Gin tasting.

Halewood boast a quality selection of Gins with the following featuring on the evening.

  • Whitley Neill Gin
  • Whitley Neill Rhubarb and Ginger Gin
  • Whitley Neill Raspberry Gin
  • Liverpool Rose Petal Gin
  • Aberfalls Sweet Violet Gin Liqueur
  • Aberfalls Orange Marmalade Gin

The tasting will be held on Friday 10th August 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 offered a Mystery Gin & Tonic and a selection of Canapés.

Our host Jenny from Halewood will be delighted to educate everyone throughout the evening and will be keen to talk you through their 6 different gins on offer. Jenny will also be keen to guide you on the perfect serves for each Gin.

All Gins tasted on the evening will be avalible to purchase with a 10% discount. please note discount is only avalible at the event. 

Tickets are £30.00 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.

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The Alex Barclay Dedicated Miniature Auction 2018

Auction 1 of 5

So, a few weeks ago Wayne, Harrison and Sarah traveled to Birmingham to pick up Alex Barclay’s miniature collection. With the help of Alex it took the four of them a solid 5 hours to carefully pick over 5,000 bottles off the shelves and pack them in to forty five, 45 litre tubs. Over the next several months we will be auctioning approximately 1000 bottles per sale. So for example in this sale you will find just under 500 different examples from James MacArthur, numerous Japanese and Taiwanese miniatures along with distillery bottlings from A-B.

To learn a little more about Alex’s collection head over to our blog Learn more »

History of James MacArthur miniatures

The company James MacArthur has been bottling scotch whisky since the 1980s and it wasn’t until the early 1990s did they start producing miniatures to accompany their full size counterparts. I assume the idea was to give enthusiasts the opportunity to try whiskies without forking out big money for a full sized bottle. Similar to the modern craze of samples.

As Alex didn’t want to risk not been able to get each release, he decided to contact MacArthurs direct. He was put in touch with a chap called Arthur Winning. Arthur agreed to provide a number of each of his minis to the Mini Bottle Club.

It is worth mentioning and interesting to know some MacArthur miniatures were produced for the Mini Bottle Club and commercially with the same label. But if this was ever the case, green bottles were used for the commercial bottlings and clear bottles for the MBC issues. You will therefore find a few minis with the same labels but different coloured bottles.

Some minis were produced in sets of up to 240 of each malt, while others were produced in numbers as low as 60.

Arthur also agreed to set aside one mini of each produced for Alex. Although he still had to buy them at normal commercial prices but at least he didn’t have to hunt for them.

Following some discussions, Arthur agreed to re-bottle full sized bottles as miniatures for the club, as several of these had never been bottled in miniature form.

This was an expensive operation and some of the malts were only available in small quantities so the number of minis produced varied from as few as 14 up to around 60.

Eventually his stocks were exhausted but there was still a demand for MacArthur minis from some club members. So Arthur started to re-bottle some other malts as minis. Most of them were produced from full sized bottles such as examples from the SMWS. The miniatures produced varied from 14 to 30 bottles.

These were often numbered and Alex was generally able to get bottle no.1 of each one produced.

This process eventually came to an end in the late 1990s but MacArthurs continued to produce some commercial minis often with the 500 Years of Scotch label. As far as Alex is aware they stopped producing minis in the early 2000s.

Malt Mill 1959

Without a doubt the rarest miniature of them all. There’s probably a lot of doubt in certain people regarding this miniature. However, the provenance of this miniature lies with Alex and his friend who sourced a sample bottle from an ex-distillery worker in the 1990s. With their ongoing relationship with the bottler MacArthurs, it was decided they were the guys to bottle the sample into 4 5cl miniatures which were issued to members of the UK mini bottle club.
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Just under 500 different James MacArthur bottlings

Alex said:
”I think that the story of Malt Mill is well known but some other rare minis produced include two Lomond minis (the only Lomond minis that I know of) from SMWS bottles, a few Ladyburn minis from re-bottled Wm Grant bottles, a Kininvie from a sample that was obtained from a distillery worker and a Port Ellen 12 year Old with the Tall Still label (only TWO of these minis exist as all others had the original MacArthurs label).”

”As far as I know there were only three MacArthur minis that I failed to get all with the 500 Years of Scotch label – Teaninich 21yo 57.2%, Teaninich 1974 58.4% and Imperial 1979 43%. These were amongst the last MacArthur minis to be produced.”

”I have kept 8 MacArthur minis in my collection – Dailuaine Millennium edition distilled in 1962, Glenlossie 12yo gold label, Lomond 19yo tall still label, Mosstowie 13yo tall still label, Ladyburn 12yo tall still label, Lochside Grain, Ben Nevis Grain, and Cambus Grain. All of the others are available in auction!

Japanese Whiskies

Joining all the James MacArthur’s are a ridiculous selection of Japanese whiskies. Alex acquired many of these miniatures during business trips to Japan in the 1980s. He was also fortunate enough to meet up with the late Taizo Shiratsuchi while in Osaka. Taizo and Alex traded for many years prior to his sad passing. He was able to get several Japanese minis for Alex which were either trade or tasting samples which were very hard to get.

What else to look out for…

From the proprietors you will find examples from Arran, Auchentoshan, Ardbeg, Aberlour, Aberfeldy, AnCnoc, Aultmore, Bowmore, Balvenie, Bruichladdich, Balblair, Bunnahabhain, Blair Athol, Benriach and Bladnoch.

As always there’s a whole host of interesting miniatures to choose from whether you’re a collector or drinker. If you’re not already registered, you can do so here.

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

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JUNE AUCTION RESULTS 2018

In our latest auction we saw what could be described as a curious mixture of solid consistency and the usual July quiet spell. Once again we had a couple of bonded casks of whisky at the top of the sale, this time a pair of delicious 1996 Ben Nevis butts. At £13,000 a piece this seems a more sensible, traditional market value result than some previous casks have fetched. Although still well above what you’d have paid from a broker until recently, this perhaps represents the big difference in cultural perception between Ben Nevis and the likes of Macallan or a closed distillery such as Littlemill.

Moving to the bottles and Macallan predictably had another good turn out with £4200 for the 1957 Anniversary Malt and £3900 for the 40 year old Gordon & MacPhail bottling for Italy from the 1970s. While impressive it seems as though it won’t be long until these early Anniversary Malts will be spiralling even higher towards a five figure sum. Let’s see what’s happening a year from now, in today’s market it’s getting harder and harder to be surprised by anything. We used to baulk at the likes of the Macallan Diamond Jubilee fetching north of £1200, and yet, here we are with last night’s example fetching £3600. Interesting times…

Other solidly performing Macallans were a pair of Private Eyes for £3300 apiece and a 1970 Anniversary Malt for £3000. It seems, despite constant supply, the market still has appetite for these kinds of bottlings.

It was good to see the Bowmore 1956 official distillery bottling return. Unsurprisingly it ended up at £4100, even at this price it seems good for such an incredible whisky. Interestingly the Brora 1972 Rare Malts 58.7% fetched £2800, down a little on previous results. Could this be the lower filling level, over-supply, or just summer doldrums? Time will tell, but I suspect whoever bought it nabbed themselves a wee bargain.

 

 

Other stunning whiskies in the upper ends of the sale included the Bowmore Bicentenary at £1750. This is another bottling that, despite ubiquity at auction, is going nowhere but up in price. When everyone wants to a bottling, for both collecting and drinking then value is pretty much bullet proof these days. Similarly, it was good to see the Highland Park Rebus 20 year old fetching £1650. This is a lesser known bottling, but those who have been lucky enough to taste it will understand the desirability.

Undeniably our favourite bottle this sale was the Ainslie Baillie & Co from the early 20th century. It’s so rare to find old genuine bottles like this in such stunning condition. This would have contained a significant proportion of Clynelish and I can only imagine what it must taste like. £1500 is a solid price.

 

Another interesting result was for the Lagavulin 12 year old White Horse 1970s bottling. This is a bottle that I’ve often mentioned in these reports, however, the fact it jumped right up to £1200 last night shows that it is likely entering a new trading level. It’s understandable when the quality of the whisky in these bottles has been lauded for years now and desirability is only going up and up.

Similarly the two old vintage dumpy Highland Park bottlings at £1150 a piece is also understandable, these bottlings are becoming more and more popular these days as knowledge about just how beautiful the whisky contained within is proliferates. Again, it will be very interesting to see where these bottlings are sitting at a year from now.

Other solid results were the Macallan Travel series for £1050, the Springbank 25 year old dumpy official bottling for £1050 and rather beautiful old official 1960s Rosebank for £975. Interestingly, an identical bottle sold for £575 as well. The only difference? Some splitting to the seal. It’s interesting to see how these kinds of wee details can make a different to collectors.

Midleton whiskies have long been collectable, however, in recent months we’ve noticed how prices across the board for their official releases have started to really skyrocket. For years you could pick up the 1990 Midleton release for around £160-220. Last night one fetched £825 and a 1997 release hit £650. With earlier releases in the series now consistently at four figures, how long before the 1990s releases all go the same way?

Another bottling which, conversely, seems like it’s taking its time to get above four figures is the Rare Malts Port Ellen releases. These bottlings have long sat around the £500-700 mark. Last night one fetched £825 which is a solid result. I suspect that one day these will jump above the £1000 mark and then it’ll be impossible to get one for less. Now might be a good time to snap one up if you’ve ever eyed one…

In terms of bargains this month there were perhaps one or two more than usual, although by old standards they are still thin on the ground and today’s definition of ‘bargain’ on the secondary market perhaps needs updating from what it meant in 2012-14. A 1968 Dalmore bottled in 1983 by Avery’s of Bristol seems like decent value at £575 for such a rare bottling. The Highland Park Ice at £105 also looks good compared to other recent sales.

Beyond that though, it’s rather slim pickings. As usual almost everything at the lower ends of the sale is really starting to hit or outstrip what might be considered its regular market value. Although, given the rapid and volatile nature of today’s secondary market, is there still really such a thing as ‘market value’? Probably not for an increasing number of whiskies I’d say…

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