Category Archives: Auction

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 RESULTS 2018

Last night’s auction kicked off with a couple of record results. Firstly for the Macallan 1948, which finished up at £15,100. It’s not a bottle we often see anymore so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see it climb to such heights. Similarly, the Bowmore 1955 40 year old is a stunning bottle which we haven’t seen at auction for a while. This bottle spent years hovering around the £4000 mark at auction and I remember speculating about when it would pick up the pace a little. With a record hammer price of £11,100, it seems that time is now. A legendary whisky which was under appreciated for many years.

Back to Macallan and it seems that being official is still what counts. The Speymalt 1945 Macallan finished up at £7600 and the 1955 at £4200. These seem comparatively cheap compared to many official bottlings. The 1945 in particular is a remarkable bottling, being not only the oldest Macallan ever bottled but one of the oldest whiskies ever bottled full stop.

The cask of 1993 Bruichladdich finished at £7100, not quite Macallan territory but natural market value for a mature, naturally low ABV bonded cask. If the strength had been higher I suspect the price for this one would have been quite different.

Some other strong results from Macallan with the Diamond Jubilee bottling hitting £3400, quite bizarre for what is essentially an NAS whisky, but this is the power of Macallan. The 1958 Anniversary Malt at £3500 looks like a good deal in comparison from a liquid quality perspective. It seems many old, official sherry bombs are doing well these days, as evidenced by the Glendronach 1968 25 year old single cask for ANA Nippon Airways which fetched £2600. These bottlings have long possessed a high reputation so it’s no surprise to see them climbing to these heights. I suspect they won’t stop here.

This sale featured a wonderful selection of old SMWS bottlings and it’s no surprise that many of them performed remarkably well. The last time a bottle of the 1966 Ardbeg 33.13 came to auction it was with us in 2016 when it fetched £1600. This time the price was £3100, almost double its previous best. Although, this is no great surprise considering how rare this bottle is. The fact that the 1974 Ardbeg 33.12 also hit £3000 is no great surprise either. These old Ardbegs from the 1970s and 60s are stunning, mythical whiskies, add to that the collectability of the old SMWS bottlings now and you have a recipe for serious value as evidenced here.

Other impressive SMWS results were the Brora 1977 61.3 at £1400, the Ardbeg 1977 33.15 for £1300 – a bottle that could be had for around £400-500 very recently – the Glen Garioch 1968 19.18 and the Clynelish 1976 26.25 for £975. The prices generally for all the SMWS bottlings in this sale were strong. Something which goes to show, if you have a big collection of SMWS rarities, it’s often better to sell them together in one auction and generate a kind of ‘feeding frenzy’ effect.

As we’ve noted in the previous two auctions, Macallan bottlings such as the Exceptional Casks series which were previously around the £300-500 price range have shot into the four figure stratosphere without warning. The same can be said of the Easter Elchies bottlings. Examples such as the 1990 15 year old Easter Elchies edition was still reasonably affordable up until quite recently. Last night the very same bottling fetched £2600, as did several other Easter Elchies bottlings. Once again, that name ‘Macallan’ only seems to be picking up more and more traction at auction.

Other notable examples were the Laphroaig 10 year old from the 1970s which fetched £2350. Even by these bottlings recent standards this is impressive and just goes to show the demand there is out there for this style of whisky which, for some ridiculous reason, no one makes any more. The same could be said of the Bowmore Sherriff’s ship label for £1850. And, while we’re on Laphroaig, it was nice to see the 1976 and 1977 official vintage bottlings back, they’re not seen very often these days and the price of £1550 apiece is understandable and well deserved.

In terms of bargains in this sale there were a few but not many – as is very much the norm these days. A litre of 12 year old Bowmore from the early 1980s was a snip at £235 and there were still some pretty tasty old examples in the First Cask series to be had for quite drinkable prices, key examples being 1970s Caol Ilas and Highland Parks. Although, even this series is starting, inevitably, to climb higher these days. It seems, as knowledge increasingly proliferates, there are fewer and fewer ‘gems’ to be discovered or snapped up for cheap. A sellers market indeed.

Even below the £200 mark there were some eye-popping prices. SMWS bottlings like the Springbank 1993 7 year old 27.45 for £180 or the Laphroaig 1990 8 year old 29.11 for £195 are in many ways even more illustrative of the power and collectability of SMWS whiskies these days. These seem crazy prices for what are good, but ultimately very young whiskies. A North Port 1981 and Tomatin 1976 can be had for the same price. These kinds of results demonstrate the polarisation of the secondary market for whisky and illustrate just how complex it is compared even to a few years ago. It’s not a bubble anymore, it’s bubbles within bubbles. How the market will continue to evolve over time remains to be seen. But, on the evidence of this auction, desire remains as strong as ever for all manner of whiskies and for all kinds of reasons. Healthy in other words.

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Whisky Evaluation Day in Elgin, 23rd May

Wayne and Harrison from Whisky-Online Auctions will soon be travelling north of the border to offer free evaluations and auction advice, so if you live anywhere near Elgin and have some whiskies you’d like us to value, listen up!

Whisky-Online Auctions will be holding a Free Evaluation Open Day in Elgin from 10am-2pm on Wednesday 23rd May.  The boys will be setting up in the delightful surroundings of the Laichmoray Hotel on Maisondieu Road in Elgin and anyone can come along with their whiskies (or photos of their bottles) to take advantage of their comprehensive valuation skills.

We also have a great record of auctioning casks of whisky, so if you’d like us to value those as well just let us know the details of your cask and we can advise you.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve got one bottle you found in your attic or a vast collection amassed over decades – Wayne and Harrison will give you honest, confidential advice on the likely prices your liquid gold could achieve at auction.

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Whisky-Online Auctions is a family company with a long history in the business and the highest standards of professional integrity. All advice is given freely with absolutely no obligation on your part.

If you decide to auction your bottles we’ll be happy to organise that for you, and if you don’t, no problem – at least you’ll know how much your whisky is worth.

So if you’ve got some whisky and you’re not sure how much to insure it for, or you’re thinking of cashing in and treating yourself with the proceeds, come along to the Laichmoray Hotel on 23rd May and let us take the doubt and hard work out of the auction process for you.

If you want to come along, let us know on 01253 620 376 or auctions@whisky-online.com. Appointments aren’t strictly necessary, but might save you time if there’s an Antiques Roadshow-style queue!

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The Best Way To Get Your Bottle(s) To Us

So, you’re most likely here because you’ve received your free valuation and now wish to proceed. You have four options to choose from to get your bottle(s) to us – deciding which is  the best option for you will depend on what you’re auctioning.

Here are your options with a brief overview of how each one works.

1. Courier Collection (UK Only)

With a cost of only £12, our courier collection is the most popular option for sellers based in the UK who have a single bottle, a small number of bottles or low-valued bottles. At the moment we’re using DHL to conduct these collections. Each parcel can weigh up to 10kg – if your parcel weighs more please let us know and we’ll advise if this will incur additional costs. It is your responsibility to wrap & pack your bottle(s) securely.

How to prepare your parcel

We recommend wrapping each bottle in several layers of bubble wrap – if you have any bottles with presentation boxes, make sure you fill the space inside ensuring the bottle does not rattle around. All bottles should be stood upright in a strong cardboard box; again ensuring all spaces are filled.  Please include your personal details inside the box: Full Name, Telephone Number, Address & Email.

How to book in your collection

We’ve made booking in your collection as easy as possible. Simply call our office on 01253 620376 and one of our lovely girls will organise all this for you. You will have to select a day when someone will be in all day to hand over your parcel. We will send you a tracking number so you can keep an eye on its status.

The good thing about this service is that once DHL have collected, we receive your parcel the following day; so we recommend Monday – Thursday to ensure your parcel is not held in the hub over the weekend.

Once your parcel has landed with us we will notify you by email. We will also create you an account on our website so you can track your bottles once our auction has gone live. Details for this will be attached to the email.

Please note parcels are not insured as you’re wrapping them yourself. However, insurance does not prevent breakages, taking your time to ensure your parcel is wrapped securely will. If you need further advice on how to wrap & pack your bottles, please feel free to contact us.

2. Use Your Own Courier

You’re more than welcome to source your own courier. This option is generally used by those who may have their own contract with a courier. If you’re going to use your own courier or the Post Office, please enquire if you’re allowed to post alcohol. And of course, if it’s going to cost you more than £12 you’ll be best using our service. Again, please include your personal details inside the box: Full Name, Telephone Number, Address & Email.

3. Visit Us In Blackpool

Our warehouse is situated in the sunny seaside town of Blackpool and you’re more than welcome to drop your bottles off in person. Generally, those who choose this option will wander Blackpool before or after their visit with us. Being a tourist town, there’s a whole host of things to do if you want to make a day of it. If you’d like to stay the night or even the weekend you’ll have thousands of hotels to choose from.

The main route is Junction 32 off the M6 onto the M55. We’re a stones throw from Blackpool Tower & The Winter Gardens. Our showroom is an Aladdin’s cave of whisky and boasts a large collection we’ve accumulated over 25 years. We have free parking on the front and a loading bay at the side, and we’re happy to assist with any lifting.  So, if you want to drop your bottles off personally, contact us today to make an appointment.

Contact Details

Tel: 01253 620376
Email: auctions@whisky-online.com
Address: Units 1-3 Concorde House,
Charnley Road,
Blackpool,
FY1 4PP (sat nav use)

Opening Times
Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm
Excluding Bank Holidays

4. Personal Home Collection

We offer free personal home collections for large collections and high valued items. These are conducted by our directors and whisky specialists Wayne & Harrison Ormerod. Each month they travel down South and up North.

Their main route is the M6 and surrounding areas to London. This is usually on the Wednesday two weeks before our auctions go live. The following Wednesday they go up the M6 covering Glasgow, Falkirk, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen & Elgin. If you’re not in these locations or you’re unsure whether we cover your area please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Please note, we do not offer home valuations. If you require valuations please get in touch with us beforehand.  Home collections are subject to consignment. This means once you have arranged for a collection, you’re happy to proceed. When the lads arrive they will talk you through the auction process and answer any questions you may have. They will write out all the bottles they take away and issue you with a receipt. Your bottles will be fully insured whilst in transit and of course when they arrive at our premises.

Please appreciate that we have to consider whether it is going to be economical to offer a personal collection. If you are unsure whether you are eligible please do not hesitate to get in touch.

To enquire about a free personal collection please contact Harrison on 01253 620376.

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APRIL AUCTION – FULL CASKS HELD IN BOND – TASTING NOTES

Whisky Online Auctions Tasting Notes: Bruichladdich cask 1641

Colour: White wine

Nose: As is common with lower natural cask strength malts, this has a superb freshness about it. A light green fruitiness, some notes of crushed nettle, bath salts, minerals and wet pebbles. Underneath, with a little breathing time, there are notes of pine needle, light cereals and parsley butter. Touches of citrus throughout.

Palate: Surprisingly creamy. Vanilla foam with banana syrup, cocoanut milk, pink candy floss and strawberry wine. The greener fruit qualities you’d expect from Bruichladdich emerge with a little time. Notes of gooseberry wine, elderflower jam and some drying salty notes such as sandalwood and tea tree oil at the back.

Finish: Good length. Full of lighter cereals, lemon oil, barley water and some notes of green olive and turmeric adding an earthy element in the aftertaste.

Comments: 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.

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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

Whisky-Online Auctions April 2018 Auction Is Now Live!
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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

Whisky-Online Auctions Third Auction Of 2018 Is Now Live!
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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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Macallan 1989 Cask Sells For £242,200

Macallan-1989-Cask-1248

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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January Auction Highlights 2018

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

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

Johnnie Walker 1805 Celebration Blend

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

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

Old Malt Whiskies

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

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

Old Pulteney 40 Year Old

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

Old Pulteney 35 Year Old

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

Macallan 40 Year Old

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

Macallan 1946 – 52 Year Old

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

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

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

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