Category Archives: Auction Highlights

SEPTEMBER AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS 2018

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Macallan 65-year-old in Lalique

After over 10 years since the first release of the 50-year-old back in 2006, the collaboration with Macallan & Lalique has come a long way. This Macallan 65-year-old is the final release in the series and completes the Six Pillars collection. At the time of its release in 2016, this was one of the oldest and rarest whiskies the distillery had to boast. Drawn from ex-Sherry casks we can only imagine the flavours such whisky has to offer.  Lalique’s contribution was inspired by Rene Lalique’s legacy, Marc Larminaux. The design is based around a single peerless drop of The Macallan. These were limited to 450 Worldwide.

Bowmore 1964 Fino Sherry Cask

Part of a legendary trilogy of different wood matured 1964 Bowmore’s. This, along with pretty much any Bowmore distilled in 1964 is regarded among the best whisky ever bottled. A stunning bottling and an absolutely exquisite whisky.

Cask Held In Bond

We have yet another Tobermory cask up for auction in this sale.  This is a really excellent, characterful Tobermory. Devoid of any of this distillery’s usual problematic cardboard or overly mashy or grainy notes. This is lean, medical, muscular and well-defined. The kind of cask which is. Continue reading »

Managers Drams

We have a haul of Managers Drams in this sale ranging from the Cardhu bottled in 1998  through to the Knockando bottled 2012.

This series is becoming harder and harder to obtain due to the fact they’re highly collectable and particularly very good quality. As more and more realise how good these whiskies are, the prices will only continue to climb as we’ve seen in the last several months.

Ones to look out for that I’ve tried amongst this bunch include the Cardhu bottled at a hefty 63% and quite easily the two Oban’s. Particularly the 16-year-old sherry cask bottled for the distilleries Bicentenary. This one tops the Cardhu with a strength of 64% but does not need interfering with any water whatsoever.

Rare Malts Selection

Joining the Managers Drams is another pinnacle series under the house of Diageo. The Rare Malts Selection. First launched back in 1995 to champion their rare stock – interestingly it was not just to showcase long aged whiskies but instead to display each distilleries best qualities in their natural form. In this sale, you will find a small selection of some of the more desirable examples. Including a 1970 St Magdalene 58.1%, a 1971 Glenury Royal 61.3%, a 1971 Hillside 62.0%, and a 1973 Cardhu 60.5% – this is one of the hardest to find strength variants in the Rare Malts series and hardly ever turns up in auction. And finally a 1975 Brora 54.9% & 1982 58.1%.

First Ever Bottling Of Distillery 111
Scotch Malt Whisky Society

From the Archives. The distillery stands close to the ruins of Dunyvaig castle, once the stronghold of the Lord of the Isles. Here is a great opportunity to see just how different the cask makes in the flavour of mature whisky.

Wetsuits and burnt toast
This whisky is quite different from the next one. It has spent the last 15 years in a first-fill, Spanish oak dry-oloroso butt. Its colour is that of old Madeira (or polished mahogany). The neat nose is redolent of sherry, with some soap flakes and fudge. With water an extraordinary scent of neoprene (the stuff wetsuits are made of) is first noted, then a trace of marzipan, exotic smoke, caramelised sugar heather stalks, sea tangle, burnt toast. Winter smells. Great with smoked salmon, or upon retiring from a walk.

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

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Alex Barclay Miniature Auction Part 2

Auction 2 of 5

It’s time for the next instalment of our auctions dedicated to the Alex Barclay Miniature Collection. A couple of months ago, Wayne, Harrison & Sarah travelled to Birmingham to collect over 5000 miniatures from Alex Barclay, president of the Mini Bottle Club. The collection is so large that we are splitting it into five auctions of around a thousand bottles each. For more information about Alex’s extraordinary collection, check out our exclusive interview on the blog here.

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This month’s selection includes a very large number of miniatures from two of the UK’s best independent bottlers: Gordon & MacPhail and Signatory.  Both of these companies were well ahead of the game and have played important roles in creating the market for single malt whiskies as we know it today, so of course there are some absolutely fantastic bottles up for sale in this auction.

The headline minis in this month’s auction include some very rare old vintage malts from highly sought-after distilleries.

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Gordon & Macphail were the de facto official bottlers of Macallan for many years, and the auction has several great examples, including the high strength Macallan 100 Proof, Macallan 15yo 100 Proof and a very rare 4cl version of Macallan 15yo 100 Proof for Italy.  They also bottled what is widely believed to be Macallan as the Pride of Strathspey – there’s a wonderful 1937 Pride of Strathspey 50yo included this month.  Not to be outdone, Signatory, who are also famous for their vintage bottlings, have this cask strength Macallan 1964 bottled early in the company’s history in 1992.

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Staying with blue chip distilleries and there are some fabulous 50 year-olds from Gordon & MacPhail, including three Mortlachs from 1936, 1938 and 1939 and a Glenlivet 1940, all with the Book of Kells-style font.  These are in great condition considering they were bottled thirty years ago in the mid to late 1980s.

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Gordon & MacPhail were also early bottlers of Talisker, and there are a few of their iconic bottlings including this Talisker 100 Proof from the famous black label ‘Eagle’ series and a couple of lovely Talisker 1955 Cask Strength bottlings from 1992 and 1993.

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Both G&M and Signatory have 1967 Laphroaigs in this auction as well, with the G&M Laphroaig 1967 an early brown label Connoisseurs Choice bottling from the early 1980s  and the Signatory bottling a cask strength Laphroaig 1967 bottled in 1995.

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There are hundreds more brilliant single malts available from both these bottlers in this month’s auction, with very rare experimental drams from Mosstowie and Glen Craig, seldom-seen long-dead distilleries including Coleburn, Convalmore, Glen Flagler, Kinclaith and Ben Wyvis and, of course, a slew of highly desirable drams from more familiar ghost distilleries such as Port Ellen, Rosebank, Lochside and Brora.  

The really rare stars of this auction, though are even older. The depth of Alex’s collection never ceases to amaze us and this is illustrated best by the amazing old blends and single malts from the 1950s, ‘40s and even earlier.  

72799-1033-1The headline-grabbers here are a pair of minis blended using whisky from Orkney’s fabled Stromness distillery, which closed in 1928 and was demolished during the 1940s: Old Orkney and Old Orkney Relics Grand 12yo, the latter a truly beautiful bottle that sadly has preserved only a small amount of its original contents.

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These treasures line up alongside more familiar gems including brilliantly-preserved examples of White Horse 1956, King George IV, Black & White, a fantastic, very rare Cardow (Cardhu) bottled late 1950s or early ‘60s, a stunning old Islay Mist in incredible condition and a gorgeous, very old Ainslie & Heilbron’s King’s Liqueur. More esoteric ancient treasures include an antique Strathmohr (not to be confused with the later Strathmore) and the medicinally-themed Special Fortification. We don’t know very much about this one, other than it’s very old and the label is wonderful – many of Alex’s miniatures are real works of art.

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There’s really something for everyone in this month’s auction! Good Luck, and Happy Bidding.

 

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AUGUST AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS 2018

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Mortlach 1938 Crystal Decanter
60-Year-Old

Taking the spotlight in our August auction is a very special and historic whisky that was ahead of its time when bottled in 1999. We’ve not seen this bottle appear in an online auction since we last auctioned it back in 2012.  Continue reading »

Talisker Rare Old Liqueur Whisky

After an anxious 10 months, we’re eager to share with you these two extraordinary bottles of Talisker Whisky. Whenever we quote Old, Rare & Obscure whisky these two bottles define exactly that. This class of whisky turns up once in a lifetime and even after nearly 30 years handling old & rare whisky we’ve never laid our eyes on such interesting and beautiful bottles.

Bottled by Wolverhampton & Dudley Breweries Ltd. Park Brewery, Wolverhampton – we believe these were distilled at Carbost, Isle Of Skye in February 1940 and filled into sherry casks that were left to mature for at least 17 years until they were bottled in March 1957.

These two identical bottles were given to the vendor by their father over 30 years ago. They have been stored in what we assume could be their original wooden crate ever since. The vendor believes that their father purchased a whole case of 12 back in the 1950s and consumed most of them over the years.

These aren’t official bottlings but it was very common back in the day for breweries to own casks of whisky and bottle Scotch & other spirits under their own label. These sort of whiskies rarely made it out of the town where they were supplied. They often found their way into local pubs, groceries and private households where they were consumed.

I imagine a local artist designed the very quirky and original label which states it’s a ”RARE OLD LIQUEUR 70 PROOF and interestingly quotes ”IT’S A FINE SPEERIT THE TALISKER; THERE’S NO A PETTER MADE”. The label design itself is nothing like you see today; even the top of the cap is branded with FIDE DE FORTITUDINE meaning Fath & Fortitude.

The liquid itself we can only imagine will be remarkable; Talisker from this period is virtually non-existent and those who have ever tasted any of the G&M bottlings distilled in the 1940s will agree these should be equally as stunning if not better. These are whiskies even the diehard malt maniacs dream about. A once in a lifetime opportunity!

Cardow 100% Pot Still

Another incredibly rare old bottle that has never seen the light of auction is a 100% Pot Still Cardow Highland Malt Scotch Whisky. Cardow is the former name of Cardhu and was used between the 1950s to approximately 1965. Cardow/dhu bottled during this period is almost impossible to find. The nearest example I can think of is a run of official 8-year-olds that first appeared in 1965 and even those turn up once in a blue moon.

Macallan-Glenlivet Liqueur Whisky

We don’t post a great deal about Macallan in these posts but this one is well worth a mention as it’s somewhat significant compared to the variations we commonly seeAnd it’s not only because it’s bottled at 100 proof but instead because it specifies Liqueur Whisky prominently across the label. Liqueur was a term used to identify a whisky as being high quality and was used from around the 1920s to the 1970s.

This is one of the earliest examples of Macallan with an age statement and although bottled by Gordon & MacPhail is deemed an official bottling. This example is specifically from a parcel of stock that was circulating in 1971 and is most likely from a significant supply of Macallan distilled in 1958. These hardly ever turn up in auction, especially in such crisp condition as this one.

Casks Held In Bond

This months auction features three casks that are currently maturing in bond. Highlighting the lot has to be the 1989 Macallan: This is a whisky that is ready for bottling now. More textbook on the palate but the nose is really terrific. Overall an excellent Macallan that shows the distillery character up front and in a lighter profile than usual. The emphasis on fruits is extremely interesting.

Then we have for the first time two 1994 Tobermory’s. Cask #5105 is an excellent mid-aged Tobermory. Good sweetness and texture. Lacking some of the more ‘unlikely’ characteristics this distillery could be prone to in this era. The cask has had a clear voice with these sweeter aspects, although I expect this could easily improve further over another five years of maturation.  Whereas cask #39 is quieter and the distillate louder. It should comfortably mature well for a further 5-10 years. It still retains a lovely freshness and fragrant quality. A very interesting and rather good example of Tobermory.

What Else To Look Out For…

The early noughties appears to be a period where so many quality whiskies were being released.  The following are a handful you will find in this sale – starting with a rather rare 1962 41-year-old Auchentoshan. We’ve never seen this variation until now; and with just a mere 112 bottles produced, there’s no surprise why!

Next, we have a particularly appetising 1965 Springbank Local Barley bottled in 2001. There was a run of these from numerous sister casks and must be from one of the last parcels of stock from 1965 that was bottled by the distillery. An epic era for Springbank that’s sadly long lost.

Then we have the fabled 1968 Bunnahabhain Auld Acquaintance bottled in 2002; that unsurprisingly due to its sheer excellence has not appeared in one of our auctions since February 2017.

Another rarity that hardly sees the light of auction is the first official release of Brora 30-year-old bottled in 2002. This consists of whiskies distilled in the greatest vintage for Brora, the early 1970s.

Finally one of my favourite drams. The Ord 30-year-old bottled in 2005 by Diageo for their annual Special Releases. Ord seems to be one of those distilleries that gets overlooked and I don’t understand why. Even their old 12-year-old bottlings are fantastic.

Old Blended Whisky

As always we have managed to unearth several interesting old blends. You will find another Benmore, but this time a slightly more interesting example given it prominently states Dallas Dhu Distillery on the label.

Dallas Dhu distillery was owned by Benmore Distillers from 1921 until 1930. It was mothballed in 1929 and sporadically until it finally closed in 1983. Rumour has it that the distillery is going to be revived but only time will tell. This will certainly contain a proportion of whisky distilled at the Dallas Dhu distillery. Anyone interesting in Dallas Dhu or old whisky for that matter should definitely give this one a whirl.

My pick of the bunch has to be the Duffs Liqueur Scotch Whisky. We collected this bottle from the vendor’s house in Kirkintilloch – northeast of central Glasgow. If you’re thinking you have seen this label before, you’re right. It is pretty much identical to a ‘Black Bottle’ we auctioned in 2017. When we uplifted this, there was an old hanging tag around the neck of the bottle where the vendor’s Grandfather had written the following note…

”Given to my grandfather
First World War 1914-1918
DO NOT OPEN

Although we would love this to be a First World War whisky, we’d be more comfortable indicating c.1930. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful looking old bottle and I can only imagine the whisky would be a memorable one.

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

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Mortlach 1938 60 Year Old Gordon & MacPhail

 

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Rare pre-war Mortlach goes under the hammer
29th August – 5th September

We’re very excited to present this extremely rare bottling of Mortlach 60 year old.  Distilled on 20th October 1938, the spirit was matured in Cask 2657 – which had previously held a high-quality sherry – by Gordon & MacPhail before being bottled in 1999 at the grand old age of 60 years old.

Gordon & MacPhail have a spectacular track record with Mortlach 1938 (not to mention 1936 and 1939!).  Bottlings from the 1938 vintage have been released from the Elgin-based bottler since the early 1980s, originally under the old white label and Connoisseurs Choice brands. In 1988, the first special presentation G&M Mortlach 1938 appeared as a 50yo bottled under the iconic ‘Book of Kells’ label.

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Everyone knows about the incredible Mortlach 1938 70 year old Gordon & MacPhail ‘Generations’ series that was the world’s oldest whisky at the time of release in 2008, but a lot of people aren’t quite so familiar with this particular Mortlach 1938 – a sister cask to the Generations – that was released at the turn of the century.

There are a few possible reasons for this. Firstly, the whisky appeared in 1999, when every distillery and bottler in Scotland was churning out Millennium special editions, and every week saw unprecedented numbers of new releases on the market. Secondly, there were just 100 of these beautiful bottles released, and speaking of the bottle, many of you will have seen the elegant crystal decanter and noticed that it’s the same as the Dalmore 50 year old we auctioned last month!

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The beautiful copper presentation case, meanwhile was designed and made by Forsyth’s of Rothes, the distillery coppersmiths, in the style of a windowed wash still front using only burnished copper, wood and brass, as a tribute to the craftsmanship of the coppersmiths and the coopers. The brass lock, meanwhile, ‘recalls bygone times when glass-encased spirit safes were sealed and checked daily by excisemen’. The handmade nature of the case is reflected in the visible dimple marks from the coppersmith’s hammers.

The case has a special drawer containing a crystal stopper and a separate miniature bottle of the same spirit with the more familiar Book of Kells-inspired label that many people will associate with previous bottlings of Mortlach 1938 and other Gordon & MacPhail prestige bottlings from the likes of Clynelish, Strathisla and Glen Grant. The miniature itself is highly prized, and has gone for as much as £260 at previous auctions.

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We’re looking forward to seeing what this 60 year old Mortlach achieves – a measure of the rarity of this bottle is that we’ve only ever had it on sale once before, way back in December 2012, when it made £4200. We believe that 2012 auction is the only time that this bottle has ever been auctioned online anywhere in the UK until now.

We expect bidding to be particularly fierce for this beautiful bottle of Mortlach and a price far in excess of the previous record – who knows when it will come up again?

1280 x 720 FB SlideShow Mortlach 60yo

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AUGUST AUCTION – MORE CASKS HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

Two Tobermory Whisky Casks For Sale

Joining the 1989 Macallan in our August whisky sale are two 1994 Tobermory casks.

Cask #39 was originally filled on the 14/12/1994 into a First Fill Hogshead. This cask would currently yield approximately 244 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 24 years old.

Whilst cask #5015 was originally filled on the 20/06/1994  into aFirst Fill Butt. This cask would currently yield approximately 461 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 24 years old.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Tobermory 1993. Cask #39

Colour: Pale Gold

Nose: A more straightforward, lemony and briny example. Lots of soot, yeasty notes, chalk, limestone, minerals and sea air. Impressively fragrant and floral, with more of these notes of linen, bath salts and fabric softener. Background hints of lemon peel, gravel and menthol cigarettes. Quite a lot of cereal qualities as well.

Palate: Very taught, chiselled and pure in style. Brittle minerality, toasted cereals and seeds, some brake fluid, light medicines and more chalky notes. A more typical, perhaps ‘classical Tobermory’ example but in a good way. Perhaps more idiosyncratic and characterful than cask 5015. More lemony and yeasty notes. Lots of hay and grasses as well.

Finish: Long, ashy, mineral, brittle, flinty and slightly saline. A slightly chemical aspect as well but in a good, characterful way.

Comments: The cask here is quieter and the distillate louder. It should comfortably mature well for a further 5-10 years. It still retains a lovely freshness and fragrant quality. A very interesting and rather good example of Tobermory.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Tobermory 1993. Cask #5015

Colour: Gold

Nose: A good and pleasingly textured sweetness. Notes of lemon cake, poppy seed, some beach sand and sandalwood. Fresh, clean and elegantly coastal. Develops further tertiary notes of bread, sourdough, fabric softeners and lemon barley water. The underlying maltier tones get more pronounced with time.

Palate: Many toasted cereal notes, butterscotch, cream soda and hints of grass and olive oil. Again it’s quite clean and with a kind of porridge-like stodgy texture. Some brittle, concrete and chalky notes along with some soot and mustard seed. Surprisingly powerful and still possessing some hints of sea air and beach minerals.

Finish: Medium-long. Some wood ash, butter, more taught minerality and a few white floral aspects. Good.

Comments: An excellent mid-aged Tobermory. Good sweetness and texture. Lacking some of the more ‘unlikely’ characteristics this distillery could be prone to in this era. The cask has had a clear voice with these sweeter aspects, although I expect this could easily improve further over another five years of maturation.

If you are interested in buying this cask, you can register to bid on our auction here: https://www.whisky-onlineauctions.com/create-account/

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AUGUST AUCTION – FULL CASK HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

Macallan Whisky Cask For Sale

Coming up in our August auction is a selection of casks held in bond. Highlighting the bunch is this 1989 Macallan. Originally filled on 06/03/1989 into a refill Hogshead with 249 bulk Litres. 

This cask is held at Macallan Distillery, Easter Elchies House, Scotland. It was regauged on 04/06/2018. The new regauged litres were found to be approximately 132 Bulk litres at a strength of 42.4%. This would currently yield approximately 188 x 70cl bottles of whisky currently at 29 years old.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Macallan 1989. Cask # 3480

Colour: White wine

Nose: surprisingly, and rather thrillingly, quite fruity. There are these distinctly tropical aspects which nod towards these old Irish single malts from similar vintages. Lots of lemon, melon, ripe apple, gooseberry, banana and guava. An even mix of ripe green and tropical fruits that gives an abundance of freshness. There’s also raw malt, buttery cereals and barley water. A wonderful example of a naked and distillery character forward old Macallan. 

Palate: cornflour, buttered toast and earthier, sootier qualities as well. Some hints of peppery watercress, ointment, sack cloth and lemon balm. Milk bottle sweeties, cornflakes and drier notes of crushed aspirin and menthol gum. Some dried herbs as well, bouquet garni, olive oil and a hint of angelic root. Light in texture but there’s still a firmness about it overall which is quite satisfying.

Finish: Good length. Rather oily, buttery, cereal and lemony. Moving more towards a classical style Speyside. 

Comments: Ready for bottling now. More textbook on the palate but the nose is really terrific. Overall an excellent Macallan that shows the distillery character up front and in a lighter profile than usual. The emphasis on fruits is extremely interesting. 

If you are interested in buying this cask, you can register to bid on our auction here: https://www.whisky-onlineauctions.com/create-account/

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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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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 HIGHLIGHTS 2018

Baillie’s T.Y.O Scotch Whisky
Ainslie, Baillie & Co Ltd.

Highlighting our June auction is without a doubt this amazing bottle of Baillie’s T.Y.O. Scotch Whisky. It’s sure to be over 100 years old and not something we’ve ever come across before. We’re excited to offer this to our audience and to see what interest it stirs up – particularly with those who are mad about anything remotely close to the Original Clynelish. We’ve done some digging on the history of this bottle, so if you’re interest, head over to our blog and learn all about this incredible bottle of liquid history.
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Rosebank Celebrated –
Pure Malt 1960s

Two rather sexy official Rosebank’s bottled during the nineteen sixties. We collected these from the vendors house in Wimbledon. He acquired them many years ago from his uncle. In fact these were once apart of a full case of 12 before he drank them. I like how it states on the label ‘Celebrated Pure Malt’. You don’t see other distilleries mention this so it must be unique for Rosebank. We’ve never come across an official bottle of Rosebank from as early as this before so it will be interesting to see what level of interest they reach.
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Macallan 1957
Anniversary Malt

The Macallan 1957 bottled in 1983 is the first release in the 25 year old Anniversary Malt series. It is also one of the best whiskies out of them all – It displays everything that is old sherried Macallan. View product »

Bowmore 1956
Sherry Cask

The 1956 Bowmore is also the first in a series of vintage labels which depict the famous seagulls flying over the distillery. This series is also concentrated around whiskies matured in selected sherry casks. View product »

Casks Held In Bond

Those looking to purchase maturing stock, we have two sister casks of 1996 Ben Nevis in this sale. Both casks are currently at 22 years old and are suitable to bottle now or if you wanted to leave them longer they would happily sit and mature comfortably for many more years. Read our tasting notes »

Ben Nevis 1996 #1458

An excellent example of Ben Nevis at its peak. The sort of cask you could easily bottle now but should also continue to hold its quality or improve for a further 3-6 years. The kind of exemplary, distinctive and characterful Scottish single malt it is increasingly hard to find in this day and age.
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Ben Nevis 1996 #1459

The same conclusion can be reached about cask 1459: this is a cask which is in top condition now but should maintain this quality – or even surpass it – over the next 3-6 years. The kind of characterful, distinctive – and valuable – malt whisky that very few distilleries are producing these days.
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Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Apart from the epic Baillie’s we’ve already highlighted, you will find a few more old blends such as several Black & White’s from the 1950s. An unusual variation of King George VI & another Victoria Vat from the 1940s. The most obscure of the lot is a Weston’s Choicest Liqueur Blended Scotch Whisky. It was blended & bottled by a company called Duncan Weston & Co, Ltd and imported to the US by The Caledonian Corporation, Rockefeller Centre New York in the 1940s. Whether you’re a collector or drinker, these old blends are getting harder and harder to find nowadays. View all blends »

What else to look out for…

There’s plenty to keep your eye on in this sale; for example there’s a 1966 Banff & Tamdhu by Douglas Laing for their Old Malt Cask series. The Banff is one of the very first bottlings ever released by Douglas Laing in 1998 and is a particularly hard example to find with only 181 bottles being produced. You will find numerous examples by Signatory’s, including a few gems from their Silent Stills. In my opinion this is the best series out there to collect. Not only are they all from closed distilleries, they have everything going for them in terms of attributes. They’re arguably one of the hardest series to complete due to the fact many sets have now been split up for their miniatures.

Amongst the many Gordon & MacPhail bottlings, the most impressive in this sale is a ridiculously dark 1969 Miltonduff. You don’t see many Miltonduff on the market so this example is a treat. Equally aesthetically pleasing is a 1988 Littlemill from a lesser know Gordon & Company. If you’re ever going to judge a whisky with your eyes, surely its going to be one of these. If you’re looking for certain quality then take a look at the 1965 Springbank for Milroy’s. This was bottled in 1992 for their Anniversary – we’ve never come across this example, but if it is remotely like any Springbank from the 1960s you’re in for a treat. Or why not try the offering by Blackadder, a 1965 40 year old Blairfindy. This is well thought of as Glenfarclas, although there’s no mention of this on the label.

Older official bottlings look pretty tasty with two old official Highland Parks produced for the Italian market. A 1956 18 year old and a 19 year old from what appears like a sherry cask. Amongst all the Macallan there’s a 1963 & 1964 Special Selection. The beautiful 1964 Aberlour matured in Sherry casks along with 1966 Glen Moray & 1967 Glenlivet. Another 1968 single cask Glen Garioch appears – this one is from cask 9 which I believe we’ve never had in before.

As always there’s a whole host of Old, Rare & Obscure whiskies for you to discover over on our web-site. 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 – FULL CASKS HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Ben Nevis 1996 cask #1458

Colour: Gold.

Nose: As with many of these mid-late 1990s Ben Nevis which are currently reaching the market, this one possesses a typical richness. At first it is dominated by honey and freshly baked bread aromas. Indeed, there is a pronounced autolytic character. The profile develops with further notes of mead and some gentle background fruitiness; white stone fruits; mirabelle; pear eau de vie. Some gingerbread is also present. Globally it is fresh, rich and with a sense of elegance and complexity.

Palate: Here the Ben Nevis personality really strikes deep. Dense exotic and green fruits which are both syrupy and oily in texture. Barley sugar, quince, lemon curd and a turmeric/earthy quality. This really is excellent whisky. It is reminiscent of some of these late 1980s aged Irish single malts which have been bottled extensively these past few years. Underneath there are various tertiary complexities such as toasted seeds, yellow flowers and lanolin. An excellent Ben Nevis.

Finish: Long, heathery, spicy, lightly fruity, oily and with a sense of fragrant, herbal waxiness.

Comments: An excellent example of Ben Nevis at its peak. The sort of cask you could easily bottle now but should also continue to hold its quality or improve for a further 3-6 years. The kind of exemplary, distinctive and characterful Scottish single malt it is increasingly hard to find in this day and age.

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Ben Nevis 1996 cask #1459

Colour: Gold

Nose: Aromatically similar to its sister cask although 1459 moves more in the direction of syrupy sweetness; golden syrup, icing sugar, treacle, coconut – even a touch of rancio. There is a more plain, straightforward earthiness as well, and some denser, darker fruits such as sultanas and prunes. Globally though this is a similarly fat, characterful and aromatically rich style.

Palate: Heather ale, fragrant waxes, soot, green banana, ripe melon, guava and dried mango. Some pineapple chunks, toasted sunflower seeds, trail mix, damp earthen floored cellars, aged sweet wines. Again the profile is similar to the sister cask – the differences lie in the subtle, tertiary deviations in flavour. The quality overall is equal and the texture is similarly oily, syrupy and fat with these rather glistening fruit aspects.

Finish: Long, more spice driven, slightly dryer, coal dust, a mineral aspect and some notes of meat and leather in the aftertaste.

Comments: The same conclusion can be reached about cask 1459: this is a cask which is in top condition now but should maintain this quality – or even surpass it – over the next 3-6 years. The kind of characterful, distinctive – and valuable – malt whisky that very few distilleries are producing these days.

Both of these cask are avalible to bid on in our June auction which ends on the 4th July 2018. Start Bidding » from the 27th June, 8pm.

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