Category Archives: Auction Highlights

The Alex Barclay Miniature Collection: Interview

We’re delighted to announce that we’ll soon be auctioning the largest and most significant collection of whisky miniatures we’ve ever encountered and you could argue in the World.  The collection belongs to the president of the Mini Bottle Club, Alex Barclay, and it’s so large that we’ll be splitting the sale over more than one auction.  Alex was kind enough to take some time to talk to us about his extraordinary collection:

Whisky-Online Auctions: Hi Alex, thanks for speaking to us and congratulations on building up such an amazing collection. How did you get started in the first place? 

Alex Barclay: In 1974, after I had moved to Birmingham, my father sent me a small book by John Wilson on the Malt Whiskies of Scotland. I wanted to taste some of those whiskies, so the next time I was back in North East Scotland I went to the Gordon & MacPhail shop and bought a few minis of single malts to taste. I liked the look of the miniatures, so I decided to buy duplicates – one to drink and one to keep. My original plan was to get one from each distillery but after joining the Mini Bottle Club I expanded my range of collecting. A business trip to Japan in 1984 got me into collecting Japanese Whiskies. I went from there to collecting old blended Scotch, Irish Whiskey and some American and World whisky miniatures.

WOA: How many minis did you collect in the end?

AB: At its peak my collection numbered over 6,000 minis. I have disposed of a few over the years but it is probably still around 6,000 minis.

A snippet of Alex’s collection on display

WOA: Was there a moment when you realised it had changed from being a casual hobby to a full-on passion?

AB: I think moving to it being a passion was a gradual thing, but the Mini Bottle Club put me in contact with UK and overseas collectors, many of whom became friends and the compulsion to collect old and rare stuff and the desire to be first to get a new mini kicked in sometime after that.

The infamous Malt Mill bottled by Alex himself

WOA: The Malt Mill miniature got everyone very excited earlier this year.  Which other of your minis do you think there’ll be most interest in?

AB: I hope that my Malt Mill generates similar interest. I would also like to think that a distillery bottled CARDOW, a MACALLAN 1937 from G&M, a couple of old cork and / or foil-sealed LAPHROAIGS and an ISLAY MIST mini will generate some interest. I also have virtually all the James MacArthur minis ever bottled, plus some rare minis from other independent bottlers and almost every PORT ELLEN mini ever bottled (although I plan to keep a few PE minis).

WOA: Any quirky bottles in there or personal favourites that have special sentimental value? Is there anything you’re hanging on to or are you selling everything?

AB: I am not selling everything. Where possible I am keeping two from each Scotch Malt and Grain distillery, a few old Irish including a pre-1920 Nun’s Island Pot Still (a real personal favourite), a few that I bought in Japan in the 1980s and all my Signatory Silent Stills minis. As far as I know I am the only person with the full set and that took a lot of collecting, so I have decided to keep them for the time being. I will also hang on to a few minis that I bought in the past couple of years as I would probably get less than I paid for them. Other favourites being kept are a White Horse Label Lagavulin and the old brown Distillery label Tamdhu.

WOA: How did you keep track of everything as the collection grew?  Did you ever buy something thinking it was missing from your collection and then discover you already had it?

AB: For years I kept a list but that became too hard so I photographed everything. I stopped photographing new bottles about 4 or 5 years ago and then I lost touch a bit with what I had  – so yes, I did buy stuff that I already had and I still have a few duplicates.

WOA: Did you ever start collecting full-size bottles as well or were you only ever into minis? What is it about miniature bottles that really inspired you?

AB: I started collecting full sized bottles about 30 years ago when distilleries started to close. I had about 450 full sized bottles, including one from each Malt Distillery. I sold some of those privately and auctioned the others two or three years ago. At one point it was cheaper to buy some full-sized bottles than the equivalent mini! Minis take up less space and you can have far greater variety than with a collection of full sized bottles.

WOA: Aside from collecting what was your favourite whisky to drink?

AB: I would never choose one whisky as my favourite. I have always had a preference for peated whisky and, perhaps surprisingly, I have found peated Bunnahabhain to be amongst my favourites. I usually have a bottle of Laphroaig and a bottle of Lagavulin in the house. I have had a couple of superb bottles of Aberlour and Glen Moray, the latter matured in virgin American Oak. I have a preference for an oak vanilla flavour to a heavily sherried flavour but a good Aberlour or Glenfarclas will always tempt me. One of my favourite drinking whiskies isn’t a Scotch Whisky but is Red Breast Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey! I always have a bottle of it in the house! I also usually have a bottle of Glen Deveron as Macduff was my local distillery.

WOA: Over the years you’ve built up an extraordinary collection, but were there any ‘ones that got away’? Anything that you’d definitely still buy if you found it tomorrow?

AB: There were many that got away! I always set price limits, so I missed out at times: on an old 1930’s Glendronach and an old Tomatin amongst others, when the price went too high. Perhaps my biggest frustration was in not managing to get a MacKinlays and Birnie Glen Mhor that I could be absolutely sure was genuine. I have two Glen Mhor minis with the appropriate label but I have significant doubts about one and questions about the other. I will still buy minis if any of the new Scottish distilleries like Wolfburn, Daftmill etc ever produce them, as I would still like to have at least one mini from each distillery.

WOA: What advice would you give to anyone just starting a mini collection?

AB: Decide what you want to collect, start with a small range then expand it in a direction that interests you, keep your eyes open for fakes and set a price limit and stick to it. Try to trade with overseas collectors, although that has been largely ruined by our ridiculous postage restrictions in shipping minis. The latter point was a big factor in slowing down and finally virtually ending my collecting drive!

WOA: It’s probably fair to assume you’re going to have rather more free time (and room in the house!) after this sale, so what’s next? Any plans to treat yourself or are you going to start collecting anything else?!

AB: I was always into photography, so when I retired I started bird watching and bird photography. That gets me out and about regularly and I have seen bits of Britain that I never expected to visit. I will be treating my wife and myself to a couple of birding holidays in exotic locations with some of the auction proceeds and will hopefully buy a new camera in due course. With grandchildren now the emptying of my whisky room will generate another spare bedroom when needed!

WOA: Many thanks for talking to us and letting us in on your tips and stories, Alex – Good luck in the sale and your future adventures!

We’ve got a big job on our hands to collate and organise this very exciting collection and get it ready for sale – watch this space for more details on what is sure to be the mini auction to ever hit the market!

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April Auction: SMWS Collection

Our April auction is upon us and we’ve got a very special group of lots – a remarkable collection of over seventy rare old bottlings from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society sourced from a private collector in Macclesfield. Most of these bottles were bought in the 1990s and there are some very rare editions from highly-sought after distilleries.

If you’re not very familiar with The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, here’s a few facts to get you going and to explain why we’re so excited about this collection.

  • The Society was founded in Edinburgh in 1983 and is therefore celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. In those 35 years the Society has grown enormously and is now represented, at last count, in 21 countries outside the UK.
  • The Society began as a private club led by Pip Hills, who had been cycling around Scotland visiting distilleries for some years. Hills clubbed together with some friends to buy a cask of Glenfarclas which they would share and drink together. The remainder of that cask became the first Society bottling when the club was formally established in 1983.
  • The Society’s original premises are at The Vaults in Leith, Edinburgh. A London bar and tasting venue was purchased in 1996 with the proceeds of a share scheme for members, while a second Edinburgh venue was established in 2004 at 28 Queen Street, in the same year that the Society was purchased by Glenmorangie.  The Society was sold in 2015 to a consortium of private investors.
  • SMWS single malts have always been bottled at full strength from single casks, without dilution, chill-filtration or additional colouring.  These practices were very unusual in 1983 but are now common among independent bottlers.
  • Distillery names are never mentioned on Society bottlings.  Instead, each whisky is identified by a two number code and occasional clues in Society publications. The first number represents the distillery, and the second identifies the cask. Therefore, the first bottling from the first distillery was 1.1, while 43.10 is the tenth bottling from the 43rd distillery. Lists of which numbers represent which distilleries are widely available on the internet but have never been confirmed by the Society.
  • Casks are chosen by the Society’s Tasting Panel, who approve each bottling and compose concise tasting notes to be published on the label and in the Society’s in-house magazine. As each bottling is from a single cask, expressions from the most popular distilleries sell out very quickly.

Now you’re up to speed on the key facts, here’s a small selection of the highlights from our auction this month. There’s a few areas of interest as follows:

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Old vintages: Highlights here include a pair of Bruichladdichs from 1968 and 1969, a Glen Garioch 1968, a Glenturret 1969, and one of the absolute standout lots, a 26 year old Ardbeg 1966 – the last bottle of this we had sold for £1600 over two years ago, so who knows what this will end up going for.

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Low Cask Numbers: These are always highly sought-after and are hard to come by as many were bottled long before collecting whisky became popular. There are a lot of these in this fantastic collection, including the first ever SMWS bottlings of Glen Scotia, Craigellachie and the incredibly rare Glencraig (distilled on a Lomond still at Glenburgie). There’s also the second bottlings from Clynelish, Glen Ord, Miltonduff, Glenturret, and the closed distilleries Imperial and Glenugie. Bidding on all of these lots will be absolutely fierce.

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Closed or Rare Distilleries: We’ve got single-digit casks from closed distilleries including Dallas Dhu, Millburn, North Port and another standout lot: SMWS 61.3, distilled in 1977 at Brora. There are also several bottles from distilleries that are rarely bottled independently, including Dalmore, Talisker, Isle of Jura, Scapa, Glenlossie, Royal Brackla and Lagavulin.

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Popular Distilleries: Clearly our collector had very good taste, as there are some mouth-watering lots from great distilleries.  We particularly like the look of long-aged Clynelish 1983 and 1976, and the Ardbeg 1977 and 1974 – these classic vintages will be fought over, as will Brora 1981, Highland Park 1976, Laphroaig 1978, Caol Ila 1983, heavily sherried expressions from Ben Nevis and Glenglassaugh (both from the 1984 vintage) and the special edition society bottlings: Longrow 1990 – the first release from Longrow, bottled for the Millennium, another Longrow 1990 bottled for the opening of the Queen Street venue and last, but certainly not least, the famous Glen Grant 1972 bottled in 2001 for the Society’s 18th anniversary.

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We’ve only really scratched the surface here – there are dozens more fantastic SMWS single malts available from this amazing collection in our auction this month. Check them out now, there really is something for everyone. Good Luck and Happy Bidding!

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April Auction Highlights 2018

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Highlighting our April auction is an impressive haul of over 70 Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings. This collection was acquired over many years by the vendor, mainly from the mid 1990s through to the early 2000s  – he purchased them directly from the SMWS and enjoyed just as many bottlings that’s currently up for auction. You will find numerous interesting and unusual examples, many of which have quirky tasting notes which we have highlighted on each lot from the stack of original SMWS newsletters that were issued to members at the time of release. A few of our favourites include this 1966 Ardbeg 33.13; described as Sweet, sour and Phenolic and originally cost a mere £48 in 1992. A 1968 Glen Garioch 19.18, this one is described as an explosion of spice with bitter coffee. Hot on the heels of this is a 1969 Bruichladdich 23.9 that appears to be from a sherry cask.

From the 1970s casks there’s a whole host of brilliant releases, starting with a hot and fiery 1976 Clynelish 26.25 quickly followed by a 1977 Brora 61.3 which has been quoted ”Lagavulin by another name?”. And my personal favourite a 1978 Laphroaig 29.7 which was highlighted as a (Best Buy) in the 1995 Autumn Bottlings costing at the time a trivial £47. This was summed up as ”Sweet sherry and light fruitiness over smoke”. Sounds like a classic old Laphroaig that will be as brilliant as with the 1976 & 1977 further down.

Onto the 1980s and there’s a few nice sherried expressions such as this 1984 Ben Nevis 78.14; highlighted in the 1998 Christmas issue quoted with ”Fruit soaked in alcohol”. Another 1984, this time a Glenglassaugh 21.18 – It’s a Sherry cask; released in early summer 2001 under (Closed Distillery) Staff Shorts: ”Rum and raisin ice cream with fruit flan; if you like sherried whiskies, you’ll love this”. and finally a 1987 Highland Park 4.71; from a first-fill sherry butt. This was released for the 2001 New Year Bottlings and has been highlighted as the (Chairmans Choice). This is just a small slice of the collection, so head over to our site to view the full catalogue.

We’re pleased to auction yet another full cask held in bond. The cask available is a 1993 Hogshead of Bruichladdich which would currently yield approximately 110 x 70cl bottles of whisky at 42.6% currently at 25 years old. This is an extremely fresh and drinkable Bruichladdich. Very much an afternoon kind of whisky. The lower strength does not hinder the texture or overtly enhance the tannin, rather it helps elevate the softer cereal and citrus fruit tones throughout the whisky. A cask that demands to be bottled imminently due to the strength, but will yield a highly enjoyable and approachable dram.

Featuring for the first time this year is the magnificent 1955 40-year-old Bowmore – In cask this has seen seven different distillery managers. It started life in a Bourbon Hogshead, 20 years later it was transferred to a carefully selected Sherry Butt, it was then left to mature for a further 20 years. The outcome is a pinnacle of it’s kind. The decanter and wooden presentation both reflect similar care and attention to detail as the liquid itself. Using traditional skills each decanter has been individually blown, hand cut and engraved by the artists of Caithness Glass. Each decanter is individually numbered and has been created to reflect images of the traditional Bowmore bottle. The individual oak presentation case has been handmade by the Master Cabinet Makers of Charles Kirkby & sons. These skills combined are the result of a pure pedigree.

Up next is the 1948 51-year-old is one of the all time great Macallans and considered in the same league as the 1949 Millennium 50 year old and many of the greatest Fine & Rare releases; this is one of the most sublime whiskies ever released by this distillery. This along with the 1946 don’t seem to get the recognition they deserve and like for like seem like a bargain in the current market.

An increasingly hard to find bottling of stunning 1968 sherry matured Glendronach that was sold exclusively through All Nippon Airways (ANA). This one is cask number 06 which we have never auctioned before. This example is in excellent condition with a perfectly preserved filling level.

Two highly desirable official Laphroaig’s from the mid 1990s. The rumour is the casks for these two bottlings were purchased back by the distillery from a private cask owner. Renowned for their intense fruity and peaty profile. Very much like you find in old Bowmore’s. These don’t turn up in auction much, so this is a great opportunity to acquire both vintages and if you’re brave enough, you could do an epic head to head.

 

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

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March Auction Highlights 2018

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Back in the glory days not many distilleries had the facilities to bottle their own liquid and the likes of Macallan in particular would appoint independent companies such as Gordon & MacPhail with a licence to undertake what occasionally would be a laborious task. The perfect example can be seen with these two handwritten labels which were bottled in the early 1980s. These whiskies may appear the same but they tell two totally different stories. We have one example distilled before the War and another distilled some years after the War. However, what they do have in common is that they were both distilled when the distillery was still running with just two stills. The 1938 is considered one of the finest expressions from this time for its often unique peat flavours. Where the 1950 is equally impressive with more delicately oily and softer fruit complexities and metallic notes in place of the earlier phenolic styles. These older Macallan are not been produced anymore and as the years go by they seem to be getting thinner and thinner in auction.

Fast forward several decades and not only are Gordon & MacPhail still bottling Macallan, they’re also maturing their own stock. Over the years G&M have bottled some mind-blowing whiskies including examples under their Speymalt series which is solely dedicated for Macallan. This series has seriously been underestimated over the years. If you dig deep you will realise the majority of these whiskies are from single casks and are bottled at a significant age. In this sale you will find example from 1950 to 1991.

This months auction features two beautiful and remarkably crisp Bowmore’s. Both of them were distilled on 16th June 1973. The casks selected between both bottles are a run of continuous sherry casks (5173 & 51745175 & 5176) which are said to be the last remaining butts of the 1973 vintage. 1973 was the very start of a historical change in the style of Bowmore. Whisky produced was still of a high standard but was characterised by a noticeable taming of its previous qualities. As with all distilleries modernisation played a part but, crucially at Bowmore, it was the dramatic increase in production levels that would contribute to what some might argue was a compromise between quality and quantity. If you desire that pure immense tropical fruit character 1960s Bowmore has to offer, we have a rather tasty Sherriff’s.

A Highland Park that certainly doesn’t appear in auction regularly. A 1968 single cask bottled at 35 years of age. This is an official bottling produced for World Duty Free in 2003. Only 546 bottles were bottled at 51.2%. And a 1973 Dalmore finished in what they call the ”King of Grapes” Cabernet Sauvignon from the Chateau Haut-Marbuzet of Saint Estephe. This is a limited release of 1000 bottles.

The 1972 Brora has become a bit of a phenomena in the world of whisky and these examples under the Rare Malt’s label seem to rule them all. Like most whiskies today these are slowly drying up for two reasons. One is down to the fact many of these were consumed in the early days due to their crazy low retail prices and secondly both drinkers and collectors are becoming much more educated. This calibre of whisky deserves the status it has attained over the last 20+ years whereas the same can’t be said about many of the new hyped up releases we see being produced today.

We don’t generally mention modern releases such as this Glenmorangie, however, we’re partial to a bit of golf. And what’s more fitting than Glenmorangie & Dornoch. The whisky is a 16 year old from an ex Oloroso cask that has been specially commissioned by the distillery to celebrate 400 years of golf in Dornoch. Glenmorangie rarely produce single casks anymore so regardless of the occasion this is a great release.

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

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January Auction Highlights 2018

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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.

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December Auction Highlights 2017

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Old Oban Whisky Circa 1900

One of, if not the greatest and most fascinating bottles of whisky we’ve ever had the pleasure of auctioning. We collected this bottle from an elderly lady in West Brom. This bottle along with a 1940s Blair Athol was part of an estate the vendor inherited many years ago. Both bottles have been sat in a side cabinet ever since.
Established in 1793 Oban is the only surviving distillery in the Oban area. Today Oban is renowned for being part of the Classic Malt Selection whilst older bottlings are few and far between with the distinct diamond shaped 12 year old from the 1970s springing to mind. Reminiscing and the only other bottle remotely close to this era is the Old Mull Blend from 1917 we auctioned in December 2016. The reason why I mention this example is because Oban is known as one of the main malt contributors for Old Mull.
The hotel mentioned on the label is located in the heart of Oban and is approximately half a mile from the distillery. The hotel now trades under the name Kelvin Hotel. The hotel is a grade B listed building and is one of the oldest and most original in the 19th century planned town. From our research the Scottish architect who made alterations to the hotel in 1896 was James Begg. This relates to when we believe the whisky was bottled.
The bottle itself is so original with its beautiful imperfections. To say this bottle is over a century old and the fact it’s survived two World Wars is incredible and unbelievable. Whoever wins this bottle will certainly be sat on a serious piece of Scottish liquid history. Truthfully it deserves spotlight in a museum. One of a kind and once in a lifetime.

This month’s auction features a collection of 24 Murray McDavid bottlings. The majority of the collection consists of whiskies distilled in the late 1960s and 1970s with the exception of one or two from the early 1980s. You will find obscurity such as the 1969 Islay Trilogy; a 36 year old marriage of selected Islay malts matured in both bourbon and sherry casks. There’s some unusual cask types such as a 1967 Strathisla from Bourbon, Grenachie Banyuls casks to a 1969 Macallan from Bourbon, Marsanne, Roussanne Casks! And sought after distilleries such as Glendronach that you rarely see bottled by independents.

We’ve got another great selection of casks that are held in bond, in Scotland. There’s a 1990 Sherry Hogshead Macallan that would currently yield approximately 240 bottles at 27 years of age and a 1996 Sherry Butt that would currently yield approximately 526 bottles at 21 years of age. It’s a bold and well-structured mid-age Macallan. This one has a clear and clean sherry influence which should really start to hit perfect within the next decade. Another one that is well worth hanging onto and being patient for. Even if it is already excellent. Then we have a run of 1992 Isle of Jura. Cask 5486 would currently yield approximately 172 bottles at 47.1%. This is a solid and expressive example of Jura. Ideal for bottling within the next year given the strength. Interestingly, cask 5487 would yield approximately 64 at 32.8%. On its own this is too weak to legally be called whisky, but as a component to vat with a younger or higher abv whisky it could work extremely well. Especially with one of the other, higher abv, sister casks of Jura. Cask 5488 would currently yield approximately 197 bottled at 49.6%. Probably the best of the four Jura casks. And also the one with the most future staying power. Although, my feeling is it would not really take more than a further two years maturation and that it could quite easily be bottled now or in the next few months. Finally cask 5490 would currently yield approximately 172 at 47.4%. This is another solid mid-aged Jura. Again ideal for bottling now or in the next 12 months.

The only official vintage Ardbeg distilled in the 1960s. A vatting of two casks from 1965 left at the distillery when LVMH took over. Casks 3678 and 3679 made up a yield of a mere 261 bottles at just short of 40 years old. Surprisingly this appearance in our Special Extended Christmas sale is the first time we’ve had the pleasure of auctioning this showpiece.

The very first Macallan Lalique makes a welcome return for our highlight auction of the year. First released in 2006 with an outturn of only 470 bottles; a large proportion of the stock in this bottling was substantially older than 50 years. Another often overlooked fact about the first Lalique edition is that many of them were opened and consumed, as a result the true number that remains is now far lower than many actually realise making this the hardest in the Lalique series to acquire now. A truly remarkable feat of design, cask selection, blending and execution by Lalique and Macallan, and one of the great modern masterpieces of single malt scotch whisky. This starting block for the other entries in the Lalique series that followed remains the ultimate in prestige and one of the best Macallans ever bottled.

Blair Althol is one of two surviving distilleries in the Pitlochry area and is often overlooked as a single malt with its association to Bell’s. Available official bottlings generally date back to the late 1960s and 1970s but believe it or not, these don’t appear as often as you may think, nevermind a 1940s. The distillery was mothballed between 1932 – 1949 and rebuilt in 1949. It went with the times in the late 1950s where it was modernised. In 1973 two more stills were added and in 1975 the dark grains plant was built.

What makes this bottling so rare is the fact it’s composed of whisky from the original distillery before it was mothballed in 1932. This is the first time we’ve laid eyes on such an old bottle from this distillery and the likelihood of us coming across another would be a miracle. So, if you’re looking to add this to your collection or you’re simply as curious as us to see what it tastes like, you won’t be disappointed either way.

Finally we will end with this simple crock that holds possibly the greatest whisky we’ll ever live to see. A 1955 Bowmore bottled for the opening of the visitors center in 1974. This was passed down to the vendor by their grandfather who worked at the distillery at the time. Great provenance and surprisingly this one is rammed to the top.

Don’t stop here as there’s so much more to see. Click through to our site and browse the entire selection of unique whiskies we’ve put together for our final auction of 2017.
As always all bottles will start off at £10 with no set reserves meaning every bid is a potential winning bid.

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November Auction Highlights 2017

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If anyone is looking to have their own bottling, we have a very solid and very drinkable 20-year-old Arran in our November sale. It shows the delights of whiskies which reach naturally low cask strengths at often surprising speeds. Obviously the buyer of this cask should seek to have it bottled within a year, as this is really at its peak and any prolonged ageing could run the risk of dipping below 40%. However, as things stand, this is a very easy and delicious Arran. • Follow for full tasting notes •

This month’s auction features an impressive collection of over 50 Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings. The collection was acquired by a Society member from 1990 – 1995 and includes many fine examples we’ve never auctioned before, along with those we may not of seen for some time. Ones to look out for include a 1972 Lomond: Lomond sat on the Dumbarton complex from 1956 – 1985 where it produced only to contribute to blends such as Ballantine’s and almost 0% for single malt bottlings. The only two casks of Lomond ever bottled as a single malt are by the SMWS. Making 98.1 not only one of the rarest SMWS bottlings but one of the rarest Scottish single malt distillates in existence. Other eye-catching examples are a 1979 Rosebank matured in a first-fill Oloroso cask, which is quite unusual for a Lowland whisky. Neighbouring distilleries Balvenie & Glenfiddich make a very rare appearance with a 1979 40.4 and an immensely intriguing 1978 15.6. Not directly part of the collection but avalible in this sale are Yoichi point 1,2,3 & 4 and last but no means least a 1979 Glenlochy Distributed by: Eurodivins S.A Guests Paris that almost seems not to exist.

Bona-fided highlights have to be the Macallan 50-year-old Millennium & the Springbank Millennium set. We’ve not seen the Macallan Millennium since early 2015 and there’s no surprise why as it’s amongst a handful of bottlings that standout as not only one of the greatest Macallans ever bottled but amongst the greatest whiskies ever bottled. A real crowning glory of a whisky. The Springbank Millennium set is just a masterclass of whiskies that will take you through a wonderful era of distillation. The set consists of six whiskies bottled between 1998 & 2001 and range from 25-year-old to 50-year-old.

If there’s any PLOWED nutters out there you will be pleased to see we have the 1972 Brorageddon & its younger sibling Ardbeggeddon. These were bottled as single casks by Douglas Laing where the majority were sold through The Whisky Shop. These exceptional casks were selected by a bunch of American connoisseurs and whisky nuts called the ‘PLOWED’ society and for good reason have garnered a reputation not only for the quirky names but for the sheer quality of the liquid inside. These rarely see the light of auction due to the amount of bottles released and the fact many have now been consumed

Then we have three magical 1964 Bowmore – The Black is a second release bottled for the US market whilst the White & Gold are UK bottlings. These will be Lotted up as single items. Among all these incredible whiskies you will also find multiple 40-year-olds from distilleries such as Dalmore & Bruichladdich. Bags full of Macallan as far back as the 1950s. All sorts of official bottlings from the 1970s1980s & 1990s. The usual raft from the Syndicate that are slowly drying up and a plethora of well aged independent bottlings. Those into their old blends will be pleased with the excellent selection avalible dating back to the early 20th century that make for memorable drinking experiences. If you’re looking for presents or drinking stock for Christmas this auction is going to be your last opportunity as the cut off date for shipping is going to be early/mid December; please bear in mind once the auction has closed, parcels will be shipped out in order of payment received.

As always all bottles will start off at £10 with no set reserves meaning every bid is a potential winning bid.

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October Auction Highlights 2017

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Following on from the past couple of sales we have managed to secure a few more casks held in bond. It has been quite remarkable seeing the results that these bonded casks of mature whisky – in particular Macallan – have achieved over the past few sales. So, we’re pleased to be able to offer the final two ex-sherry hogsheads of Macallan from this parcel of stock in our latest auction. The character of the whisky in both is of exemplary quality and both casks exhibit great maturation with at least a further decade of ageing potential ahead of them. Similarly, they are joined by an unusually characterful barrel of 2006 Tullibardine which shows a remarkably complex sweetness. This will no doubt be a more affordable cask for anyone looking for something interesting as a future bottle share with friends or something special as a bit of fun or an investment for themselves. Like the Macallans, it already exhibits good maturity and should continue to improve for at least another five years.

Featuring for the first time since 2015 is the extremely peaty Provenance. A 1974 Ardbeg released as a four part series for numerous different markets from 1997 through to 2000. In this sale you will find the 3rd edition imported to the US by American spirits & wine merchant Brown-Forman. These releases have now become an iconic figure for Ardbeg so definitely one not to miss if you’re a big fan. Following the Provenance is cask 2398, a Sherry Butt laid down in 1976. It’s amazing how not so long ago this caliber of whisky was being bottled for the Islay Festival. Apart from all the NAS, Ardbeg seem to be getting back into the swing of things with the 21 year old released last year and the 23 year old being released this November. But, at £430 I’d soon rather spend a touch more and go for one of the 1977s from the early 2000s.

Whilst Wayne & Harrison were on their travels up North they managed to procure another collection of Manager’s Drams. This set originates from an ex-distillery worker who acquired one bottle of every release from 1988 through to 2001. Despite one or two having suffered evaporation the majority of the collection is in excellent condition. Scotch Malt Whisky Society fans will be pleased to see a full set of the remarkable and beautiful 26 Malts up for auction. This set was created by matching 26 individual single casks with a unique individual pairing of visual artist and writers. These creative teams produced unique and dazzling labels for each of the 26 bottlings. A set of each is displayed in the Edinburgh and London shop so therefore only 18 of the 20 sets were sold to society members in 2005; with the surplus bottlings being sold individually. The full set rarely appears at auction, so if you’re after a set in immaculate condition, this is the perfect opportunity. for those who missed out on any First Casks – we’ve got another batch for you to explore. Ones to look out for are a 1982 Bowmore, a very dark 1980 Inchgower and with all the hype why not a 1982 Brora.

Elsewhere where in this sale you will find the very appetising 1971 34 year old Bowmore – this one will be perfect to crack open in front of the fire over the festive period along with a 1966 Springbank or even this 1979 by Cadenhead. For those looking to bag a RosebankBrora or Port Ellen look no further as there’s plenty to choose from. Macallan is flourishing as well; from the early 1980s there’s a 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966. A pristine Charles & Diana Royal Marriage, a beautiful Special Reserve for Easter Elchies House and a whole host of 18 year olds running from the early 1970s through to the 1990s – not forgetting the various Gran Reserves & Anniversary Malts in between; some of which Wayne & Harrison collected from an ex-distillery worker who began working at Macallan in 1963!

As always all bottles will start off at £10 with no set reserves meaning every bid is a potential winning bid.

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September Auction Highlights 2017

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It seems that the impressive recent results for casks of whisky still held in bond in our previous sales have unearthed some more tantalising examples for auction. Another pair of Macallan 1994 ex-sherry hogsheads and – intriguingly – a 1990 barrel of Littlemill. To see a name as sought after as Macallan come up for sale is always exciting, but a cask of whisky from a closed distillery adds an extra layer of intrigue to the sale.
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Featuring for the first time in one of our auctions is the exquisite Clynelish Corti Brothers that we’ve been after for a while now; this hails from the original pre-Brora distillery and is highly regarded as one of the best whiskies in the world; The 1965 21-year-old was bottled in 1986 by R.W Duthie & Co especially for Corti Brothers of Sacramento. This example is in terrific condition and this appearance is the perfect opportunity to acquire this magnificent whisky.

The legendary 1964 Bowmore Trilogy makes a welcome return; this time we see them going under the hammer as a single Lot.
Bowmore 1964 Trilogy - Black White Gold

If you’re looking for something with a bit of age behind it then how about a 1954 58-year-old Mortlach or 1955 57-year-old Glen Grant by Gordon & MacPhail, this series is massively underestimated for such old whiskies. More incredibly aged whiskies included examples from Jim McEwan’s Celtic Heartlands series; you’ll find a 1962 42-year-old Glen Moray, 1967 35-year-old Highland Park, 1968 35-year-old Bowmore, 1968 34-year-old & 1969 35-year-old Macallan. Whilst Adelphi offers us a 1953 50-year-old “Glenfarclas”, 1968 41-year-old Bunnahabhain and a 1970 38-year-old Caperdonich. Alternatively, if you’re wanting to delve a little deeper how about a 52-year-old Macallan distilled in 1946 a 50-year-old Glenury Royal distilled in 1953 or a 40-year-old Laphroaigdistilled in 1960.

Old blends seem to be represented well in this sale, we’ve got iconic examples dating back to the 1930s which include Johnnie Walker, Hankey Bannister, White Horse, Ballantines, Ambassador, Black & White, Dewars, Haig & Kings Legend. Blends from this period have a much higher malt content; if you think about it single malt whisky is relatively young and often or not the only way to experience anything close to a distilleries profile from this period is blended whisky. These will often knock the socks off modern single malts so if you’re looking to expand your palate look no further. You’ll also find an ancient John Jameson bottled in the late 1930s by New York Dock Company, Brooklyn. This is one we’d love to try so bear us in mind when you open it.

From the older officials, there’s a couple of impossibly hard to find Talisker’s bottled in the late 1960s, as well as several from the early 1970s that surfaced with their original shipping carton. Two beautiful old Sherriff’s Bowmore under the ships label followed by the legendary Bicentenary. The 15-year-old Lagavulin ceramic from the 1980s that were laboriously hand bottled on the Island. The Caol Ila Managers Dram is back again along with a varied selection of other Managers Drams. All the way from Spain is a classic 12-year-old Cragganmore from around the early 1980s when D&J McCallum owned the distillery. This is about the oldest official bottling we can think of from Cragganmore and only the second time we’ve come across one.

Through the decades we have a 1938 Mortlach, 1946 Macallan, 1950 Glen Grant, 1954 Glenburgie, 1955 Talisker, 1959 Macallan, 1960 Glen Moray, 1961 Highland Park, 1968 Glenglassaugh, 1969 Glen Mhor, 1971 Glenrothes, 1973 Linlithgow, 1976 Glenfiddich bottled exclusively for the legendary Concorde, 1981 Dalmore, 1984 Isle Of Jura, 1985 Springbank and the list goes on…

As always all bottles will start off at £10 with no set reserves meaning every bid is a potential winning bid.

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August Auction Highlights 2017

Wayne & Harrison have been travelling the length and breadth of the UK again and have picked up another unique variety of whiskies for our August auction. One we’re particularly excited about is a 1967 Laphroaig from Cadenhead’s increasingly sought after ‘dumpy’ series from the 1980s. When peat meets Sherry you know you’re in for a treat. Joined by this is the now notorious ‘Fine Old Brora’ for the Royal Marine Hotel; These were hand bottled and often labelled up in different fashions at the hotel, hence that prominent skewiff label. You could argue that a few of these have surfaced recently but nevertheless, this is still an incredibly scares whisky that will eventually dry up.

Another treasure we’re proud to of discovered is an official Glentauchers. Bottled before 1987 when James Buchanan & Co Ltd owned the distillery. Like many imports of this period, it was bottled at just 5 years old. What makes this bottle so rare is that almost 0% of spirit was set aside for single malts, instead, it contributed to big branded blends such as Ballantine’s, Black & White and Teachers. These official Glentauchers are virtually non-existent and this appearance here at Whisky-Online Auctions is the first time one has appeared in an online auction.

Moving on and we’ve got a rather interesting collection of First Casks – The First Casks is a range of whiskies bottled by Signatory exclusively for a company called Direct Wines. To acquire these whiskies you would simply sign-up to their mail order and every so often you’d receive their latest batch. Similar to how the SMWS works. The majority of their bottlings are single casks of significant age and tend not to number in the high hundreds. There’s a number of great drams in this series many of which you’ll find in this sale. A handful of highlights include the likes of a 1965 31-year-old Glen Grant, 1965 29-year-old Macallan and an extremely dark 1968 26-year-old Glenrothes, not forgetting the 1967 28-year-old Laphroaig! Examples we’ve never had before include a 1975 23-year-old Glendronach and a very intriguing 1973 21-year-old Longmorn. The great thing about this series is not much is known about it so often or not you can uncover a gem or two.

The Caol Ila Managers Dram is back, despite its level this one’s in clean condition and comes from an ex-distillery worker. Giving the Managers Dram a run for its money is a much harder to find 1968 Caol Ila bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for their CASK series. This bottle was purchased on Islay by the vendor in the late 1980s and has been in their possession ever since. Other notable Islayers include the famous 1976 Ardbeg from cask 2390 a 1976 Laphroaig and a selection of Bruichladdich Legacy from series one through to six.

Over the last year or so we’ve been auctioning a series of whiskies from ’The Syndicate’s’ – there’s not much known about The Syndicate’s but from what we’ve gathered they were buying casks from Islay since the late 1970s. Mainly Lagavulin, many of which from 1979; although you’ll find expressions from Laphroaig & Caol Ila running through to the 1990s. The Syndicate’s made a huge impact with their investment to an extent you could say they saved “Lagavulin” from shutting down and today The Syndicate’s are reaping the rewards with stunning examples such as their latest offering – A 1979 38-year-old Lagavulin from a single cask. To hold old stock such as this is incredible, even the distillery themselves have not bottled whisky this old. It’s going to be interesting to see what the future holds for these Syndicate bottlings and we’re looking forward to see if any new expressions pop up – Until then take a look at we have on offer in this sale.

Elsewhere in our August sale, you’ll find many official releases from all regions of Scotland to pre-war vintages from G&M – old blends from White Horse and an ancient wine from 1802. We’ve even got another full cask for those looking to bottle their own whisky or that die-hard drinker who’s brazen enough to challenge their wife. Regardless this is a very diverse sale and we’re sure there’s something for you.

As always all bottles will start off at £10 with no set reserves meaning every bid is a potential winning bid.

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