Category Archives: Records

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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September Auction Results 2017

Cast your mind back, if you will, to July and recall how we all gawped at two casks of 1993 Macallan upon which the hammer finally fell at £55,900 and £52,600. Madness we cried. Well, last night a similar pair of casks fetched £90,600 and £82,100 a piece (although Cask 2317 would currently yield 65 more bottles than Cask 2316, quality prevailed over quantity). What are we to make of this? Appetite is clearly through the roof, not just for possessing great old bottles, but also for having your own bottling from a legendary distillery – even if it isn’t official. Some will decry it as madness, others will say it is a natural function of supply and demand with ever-dwindling supply. About the only thing we can all agree on, I suspect, is: if you’ve also got a privately owned cask of mature Macallan slumbering away in a bond somewhere, perhaps now might be the time to think about doing something with it…

auction cask resultsAnd all this before we get onto the fact that a barrel of 1990 Littlemill fetched £31,100. This seems a little more manageable in the light of the Macallan results and the fact that this liquid is of significant age from a closed distillery makes this result seems just slightly more realistic. Still, suddenly owning your own cask of whisky suddenly seems like retrospectively a great idea in the 1990s.

Bowmore trilogy 1964Onto the bottles (will this become a regular thing to write in the second or third paragraphs of these reports in future?). A full set of the Bowmore ‘colours’ trilogy hit an impressive £30,100 – or about £10k a piece which is sturdy upper market value. This was followed by the Macallan 1946 – a bottle which was selling for £6000-8000 not so long ago – at £12,100. As we’ve said before in these reports, where will such bottles end up eventually? Is there a peak for such whiskies? Perhaps the most striking results were the Clynelish 1965 Corti Brothers bottling for £8100. A bundle of these turned up in America last year and already this is around double its recent retail price. The power of an immense reputation and legendary distillate still goes an exceptionally long way in today’s market. Similarly, the Glenury Royal 50-year-old selling for £8100 was quite flabbergasting. This was pretty much a retail price for this bottle given that the previous best result was with us in February this year for £4100. This is likely a spike but it does suggest this beautiful and often overlooked bottle will soon be trading at a new high.

The following run of Macallans were all at upper current market value and showed no signs of the thirst for these old sherried beauties diminishing. It was good to see the Caol Ila 15 Manager’s Dram continue its ever skyward trudge finishing at £2800 on this occasion, just a hair under the £3000 we achieved for another in September. Although, considering that almost all the legendary peat/sherry bottlings are now starting to sail past the £6000 mark, does this make the Caol Ila begin to seem a bit cheaper by comparison?

One surprise from Macallan was the Easter Elchies 2008 edition hitting a mighty £2800. While this is a great dram, it isn’t in the same league liquid wise as the old Campbell Hope & King bottlings. It goes to show that with Macallan, so much of it is about the name and about collectability. And its popularity with the deeply pocketed.

A pair of Sherriff’s Bowmore’s finished up at £2150 and £2050 a piece which is the first time these bottlings have gone past the £2000 mark. Demand for these old rarities and examples of legendary liquid seems insatiable at the moment. Although, it’s important to remember this is no doubt helped by a weak pound as well. A good time to sell if you’re in the UK and have these kinds of bottles no doubt.

There were further healthy results for a Glenfiddich 1976 Concorde edition at £1800 and a single cask 1954 Mortlach by Gordon & MacPhail for £1750. The Lagavulin 38-year-old Syndicate bottlings look reasonable around the £1500 mark for now, but I bet you anything they won’t stay at that level for long. The Ainslie’s King’s Legend 1940s bottling showed it isn’t just malts that can fetch crazy prices these days, legendary blends are attracting serious attention as well with this beautifully preserved example all the way up at £1400.

Dalmore got a look in as well with a 1981 Amoroso Sherry Finish ending up at an impressive £1300 – it seems Dalmore still has plenty of admirers out there. The Springbank 12-year-old 1990s 100 proof edition is another bottle which only seems to go from strength to strength off the back of its legendary liquid with this one hitting £1250.

Around the £1000 mark, there were a number of notable results. Including the Brora 1972 Connoisseur’s Choice which hit £1000 for the first time. The Glenfiddich 1978 34-year-old also hit the four-figure threshold. As did the Laphroaig Cairdeas 30-year-old, a bottling which has kind of crept up under the radar over the past couple of years and is now seemingly outflanking the original 30-year-old. One of the more curious bottles at the £1000 mark was the Jameson 7 year old from the 1930s, it seems appetite for Irish Whiskey is still going strong.

Talisker auction results

The rare pair of Talisker 8-year-olds from the late 1960s were two of the more interesting bottles this auction. The clear glass one hit an unsurprising £925 – being the rarer of the two variants – while the green glass one hit £700 – both solid results for beautiful bottles. Another interesting result at this level was the Lagavulin 15-year-old White Horse ceramic at £875. These have long been around the £300-400 mark and represented great value considering how stunning the whisky is. Speaking of White Horse, there was a great spread of these bottles in this auction with the 1940s example hitting the high of £925 while other examples followed at £825 and £775. Again these old legendary blends build around famous distilleries such as Lagavulin are understandably becoming more and more desirable.

There were literally too many bottles in this auction to talk about. So a few more highlights is all we really have space and time for. A 1990s Macallan As We Get It for £625 shows any sherried Macallan seems to be guaranteed a high price these days. £525 for an Edradour 30-year-old shows that even lesser regarded distilleries still have gems which can be keenly fought over. And even brand new distilleries can drive people a little crazy with the Wolfburn first release hitting £380.

I always like to try and highlight a few bargains in these sales and there were one or two. The Jura 1966 Signatory for £650 seems a fair price considering this liquid’s reputation. The Stuart’s Rare Old 27-year-old from the 1960s at £350 seems a bargain. But then, in a sale often dominated by amazing old blends, it seems unsurprising that one or two might slip through. The same could be said of the two 1930s Hanky Bannisters for £230 and £145. And the Talisker 30-year-old 2006 edition for £240 is an utter bargain. But really there were slim pickings on this front. By and large, this was a sale which on confirmed and cemented the stratospheric prices which whiskies – and other great spirits – are achieving across the board just now. Will it last? That remains to be seen. For now though, you could do a lot worse than be a seller in this market.

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Next Auction Starts Wednesday 25th October

If you are looking to sell your whisky and would like to take advantage of our  5% sellers commission, record hammer prices and fast payouts then contact us today to get your FREE valuation, Expert Advice and take part in our next auction.

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August 2017 Auction Results

August whisky auction results

An interesting set of lessons, trends and results from last night’s impressive auction. It’s been a while since a Cadenhead Dumpy topped the auction but it’s unsurprising in this case as that bottle was the extremely rare Laphroaig 1967 15-year-old sherry cask. From sibling stock to the fabled Samaroli 1967 the hammer finally fell at £7100. An impressive price but somewhat unsurprising given the almost hallowed status these whiskies are now afforded.

Elsewhere the Clynelish Royal Marine Hotel bottling fetched a record equalling £5100, the appetite for these bottles is understandably quite immense given the legendary quality of the liquid. However, the likes of old Clynelish is not as ‘obvious’ as certain Islay or Speyside distilleries and says a lot about the very specific tastes of serious whisky aficionados these days.

It’s unusual to see a Cognac so close to the top of the sale but Frapin’s ancient Cuvee Francois Rabelais commanded an impressive final price of £5100. Followed on the heels by a bonded cask of Tullibardine 2007 at £3700. Given the prices paid for other casks recently at WOA this might seem small fry but given that these kinds of casks can be picked up privately for around half this price if you know where to look then it looks increasingly like auction is the place to sell your casks.

 

Johnnie Walker 30 Year Old - Sir Alexander Walker - Master Blender Collection

Johnnie Walker once again proved its brand power with its 30-year-old Sir Alexander Walker edition hitting £3300. While the Caol Ila Manager’s Dram spiralled yet higher to £3000. How long before this one follows the other dark sherry / heavy peat legends past the £5000 mark? Not long I suspect.

Perhaps one of the more curious results was the bottle of 1802 Reserve Terrantez Madeira. This bottle is almost certainly a 1802 solera rather than a vintage and, although a remarkable wine no doubt, £2600 is still a pretty hefty price for such a bottle. Just goes to show what can happen when two people really want something.

The rest of the upper end of the sale was full of consistent higher market value results and few surprises. The Gordon & MacPhail Silver Jubilee series could be picked up for around £300-400 each not so long ago and a full set performed exceptionally well in last night’s sale. However, that the Macallan fetched £1750 says a lot about the continuing power of this distillery amongst a new generation of buyers. That this kind of buying willpower is starting to incorporate the independent bottlings as well as the official ones now suggests the ‘Macallan madness’ is far from over.

There were further strong results from Laphroaig with the 1967 First Cask and the 1976 official vintage both hitting £1450. Other impressive results around this level included the SMWS Music, Food, Friends, Words set at £1150, the Glengoyne 1968 single cask 4615 at a mighty £1100 and Glenfiddich 8-year-old for NAAFI stores at £925. Another rarely seen bottle was the official Glentauchers 5-year-old bottled for France in the 1980s which finished up at £825 – not surprising given the rarity of this bottling.

Bruichladdich had a strong showing with three of its Legacy bottlings – editions 1, 3 and 6 – finishing up at £750 and £725 a piece respectively. It seems word is starting to get around about aged Bruichladdich, shouldn’t be long before these sorts of bottlings start to crack the four-figure threshold.

The mid-range of the sale is usually where we see the most consistency and the fewest surprises and this was very much the case again last night with almost all bottles selling for their upper market value. Some notable results include the Highland Park Thor at £440 showing this series now comfortably resurged after a dip. The Bowmore 12-year-old litre 1970s bottling for £360 shows these bottlings creeping up incrementally. Although, given the quality of the liquid, these are arguably still fair value.

Scanning through the rest of the auction for bargains is – once again – hard work with slim pickings. The fact that this has become kind of a mantra in these posts speaks volumes about the way knowledge about older whiskies has proliferated. What remains to be seen is just how many of these bottles are being snapped up under the guise of investment, or by people with deep pockets and a taste for exquisite whisky. Time will tell but for now, prices remain high and – barring a smattering of unusual and interesting bottles beneath the £100 mark – it remains a tough market for people looking to buy serious whisky for drinking. If you’re a seller on the other hand… well, the sky is by no means the limit. Until next time…

August Whisky Auction Highlights


 

Next Auction Starts Wednesday 27th September

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April 2017 – Auction Results

After the Macallan bonanza which was last month’s sale, it was good to see the upper end of our latest auction populated by a wider variety of rarities and legendary bottlings. Certainly, legendary, is a word that applies to the front-runner: the Dalmore 50-year-old which finished up at a whopping £18,600, closely followed by the Candela 50-year-old at £17,700. Releases like this go to show that Dalmore is still a hot contender at auction when the right bottlings come into play.

50-Year-Old Whisky Auction Highlights

The official Glenfiddich 50-year-old rounded out the triumvirate of 50-year-old official releases with a hammer price of £13,200. Another bottle that could be scooped up for well under half that price not so long ago. Interestingly the official 1937 50-year-old Balvenie finished at £7300 some way beneath it, given this bottle had a rather significant loss of level it goes to show the importance of condition, storage history and filling level for these kinds of top end bottles.

Auction Highlight-results

The Springbank Millennium set is yet another of these releases which could be swiped for £4000-5000 until relatively recently. This latest set achieved £11,800 which goes to show just how much the market is waking up to the remarkable nature of many of these older official releases from years gone by. Speaking of waking up, the Brora 40 year old hit £8700 which is some way above its original retail price. This one is almost certainly set to climb towards the five figure mark now that it is totally sold out in travel retail.

Elsewhere in the top end of the sale, we saw the Laphroaig 1960 holding steady at £5200. Various Macallans all performing solidly at their new trading level, which for anything from the 1960s and earlier now seems to be at least £2000+. £1750 and £1600 secured a pair of very scarce 1937 Rosebank’s by Robert Stewart & Son, a price which almost seems a bit cheap when you think about just how historic and unique that liquid is. For those that say there are never any ‘bargains’ in the upper ends of a sale I would point them to these kinds of bottlings.

Perhaps one of the most impressive and telling results was the SMWS 1965 Glen Grant 32-year-old 9.24 which achieved £1550. This sort of bottling would normally have fetched around £300-400 until very recently. This price is a striking example of just how much interest there is – not only in older sherry cask single malts – but in older SMWS bottlings as well. It’s an upward trend we see time and again with older SMWS bottlings of all ages and distilleries.

Some other notable upper-end results were the Glen Garioch 1972 for Oddbins at £1300, the Laphroaig 1976 for £1100 and the Strathisla Gordon & MacPhail 1954 – 2003 for £1050. These old G&M bottlings are slowly but surely climbing ever upwards as stocks of these incredible whiskies dwindle and appreciation of just how special these bottlings were gradually solidifies. Gone are the days when they could be scooped up for £100. The same effect can be seen in the Glenlivet 1955-2001 for £800 and the Glen Grant 1952 – 1996 for £925.

Similar to, but not quite as extreme as, the SMWS Glen Grant 1965 was the Glenfarclas 1966 1.100 bottling which finished up on £800. Another sturdy result that further illustrates the serious desire there is for these old, blue-chip SMWS releases. Another series which has seen a notable increase in value in recent moths is the old Midleton releases, the 1984 hit a solid £725 showing desire is still strong for these earlier editions in the series.

The 2011 Lagavulin Jazz festival bottling shows that it is still very much the king of this series with a hammer price of £525. Unsurprising given how much scarcer this edition is. The Laphroaig 7-year-old Dr Jekyll was also impressive with a hammer price of £490 while the Octomore 1.1 edition also showed well finishing up at £490.

Further down the sale the SMWS rise is further evidenced by a 1991 13-year-old Laphroaig, 29.40, hitting what looks like a remarkable £230 for a 13-year-old single cask Laphroaig. It will be interesting if these sorts of prices can be sustained for these sorts of bottlings. With further SMWS bottlings such as a 1989 15-year-old Springbank, a 1978 19-year-old Glenlossie and a 1979 18-year-old Glenburgie all hitting £205, it would seem like these prices are here to stay for a while.

Once again looking around for bargains in this sale is tough. A 1979 Springbank for Quaich Society at £140 looks like a very drinkable price. As does a 12-year-old ceramic Springbank for £110. An early 1990s pre-Royal Warrant Laphroaig 10 for £87.50 is still terrific value drinking whisky considering the quality of the liquid and, if you’re a port drinker, the Ferreira 1963 for £77.50 goes to show that whisky auctions are often very good for wine lovers to find tasty obscurities.

 

April Whisky Auction Banner

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March Auction Results 2017

If last night’s sale proved anything it is that, for the right bottles, Macallan is still the unassailable king at auction. The first edition Lalique 50-year-old finished up at a whopping £65,210. There’s been a lot of chatter about the charity sale of the full Lalique set in Hong Kong recently, but this record result is more impressive for the fact this was not a charity sale which makes this not only the most expensive Macallan auctioned in the UK to date but also the most expensive non-charity bottle sold at any UK auction thus far. How long that record will stand is anyone’s guess in today’s constantly surprising market. But this remarkable and telling result must surely be causing collectors to think long and hard about top end bottles they might have stashed away. What would top the Lalique? Possibly certain Japanese bottles and definitely the Peter Blake 60-year-old Macallan – if one ever surfaces again – and the 1926 Fine & Rare would certainly be the other strong contender.

March Auction Records

You know it’s a pretty special auction when the Macallan 1928 50-year-old is second on your list of bottles to talk about. The fact that this legendary bottle finished up at – again a new record price – £25,100, even without a box and not in tip top condition speaks volumes about the desirability and potency of this famous bottling. On the flip side, however, the fact it sold for less than half the price of the Lalique also says something about the unique power of Macallan’s modern day iconic series. How long before we see another one of these bottlings? Who knows, but one in perfect condition can’t be far off the £30,000 mark next time around…

Karuizawa 1964 - 48 Year Old

Looking through the other highlights in the upper ends of the sale there’s a number of bottles which would ordinarily be auction standouts, however, in this sale they feel understandably overshadowed. The Karuizawa 1964 48-year-old for Wealth Solutions finished up at a healthy £16,300 – down a little from its initial forays into auction but still impressive. The Macallan 1948 continues to hold at its new five figure trading level with a hammer price of £12,300. The beautiful Macallan 1949 50-year-old in Baccarat crystal for Japan – a stunning and remarkably hard to find bottle – finished up at £10,200. This really was a sale that belonged to Macallan.

Elsewhere the Black Bowmore 42-year-old held strong at £10,100, repeating the previous result. Interestingly the 1st edition Black Bowmore only fetched £4800, a good price but one which no doubt reflected the lower filling level in this example. This will likely become more and more of a problem in the coming years as these bottles – notorious for their poor quality corks – begin to the suffer the effects of evaporation more and more. Further strong results for Macallan with the 1938 handwritten label fetching a cool £6100, the 40-year-old Pinerolo at £3100 – not long ago these were around the £1200 mark – and the 1950 handwritten at £3500. All showing consistent strong demand. Likewise, the 25-year-old crystal decanter and the 1962 25-year-old Anniversary Malt Macallans settled on £2900 and £2600 respectively – further demonstrating the huge increase in demand there’s been lately for these classic era official Macallan bottlings. Much of this upper section of the sale was a slew of Macallans, most of which were above the £2000 mark, it seems likely that this is set to become the new trading boundary for these older releases.

The Ardbeg 1967 Signatory hit £2150 and the Talisker 1955 £2000, showing that amazing old peat and sherry big beast drams are going nowhere but upwards in value and desirability. Bowmore 30-year-old Sea Dragon showed an impressive leap with a hammer price of £1850 and a second example for £1200, these were very recently around £800-1000 so it will be interesting to see if this represents a new trading level for this bottling. With the high-level Macallans you kind of expect crazy prices now, but the 1990 Exceptional cask selling for £1300 and it’s sibling 1981 bottling for £1250 looks somewhat bewildering, perhaps this is a spike or this often overlooked little series is going to suddenly spring from the shadows.

Other surprises were the Glenlivet Vintages 20cl box set hitting £1100 – especially considering the filling levels. The Clynelish 1972 Rare Malts 57.1% inched past the four figure mark to £1050. It’s hardly surprising these 72 Clynelish Rare Malts are starting to creep up – the liquid inside quite remarkable. Another name that has surprised a few times in recent sales is Midleton; the 1991 bottling fetched an impressive £1050, is this series about to take shift upwards in value?

Similarly £925 looks like a remarkable price for the Bruichladdich 1970 I Was There valinch bottling. These can often be picked up for less than half this price. A 1980s Lagavulin 12-year-old White Horse bottling for £800 suggests this rarity is taking a further rung on the ladder towards the £1000 mark, where it will probably be before too long. Speaking of White Horse a 1940s spring cap example, a 1940s 8-year-old and a 1955 bottling fetched £725 a piece and £700 respectfully. It’s nice to see these older, legendary blends being so appreciated but it’s also curious as White Horse bottlings have been somewhat inconsistent as of late with some older examples selling for a lot less.

The SMWS got a look in with a rare early example of their Ledaig 42.3 selling for £625. From this point in the sale onwards, prices seem to settle back down a bit too consistent levels with most bottlings hitting their upper market values quite consistently. It’s a story of few surprises and even fewer bargains. Although, a Peter Dawson spring cap from around 1950 for £160 and a Laphroaig 10-year-old circa 1990 for the same price both look decidedly drinkable. A Johnnie Walker Black Label from the 1960s for £90 also looks like a no-brainer.

But overall the trends this year seem to be prices rising and bargains getting fewer and further between. Good news for sellers as ever so if you do have a stash of old bottles somewhere, well, you’ll be quids in with today’s market the way it is should you decide to sell.

 

March Auction Highlights

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November Auction Results

Another month and yet again the prices are still flying high.

A weak pound is good for UK sellers but frustrating for those of us trying to buy. Whether this current upward trend will continue or maintain itself is yet to be seen. But if there is a re-balancing against the Euro (as seems likely) and the Dollar in the coming months then it seems likely that prices may soften again. In short, it’s still a good time to sell for UK buyers. Anyway, on with the results…

The demand for Black Bowmore continues unabated as ever, no doubt helped by the recent announcement of the new 50 year old expression, the 42 year old 4th release hit a healthy £8200. The newly released Macallan 40 year olds both fetched a notch above their initial retail price with a hammer of £6000 and £5900 respectively. Elsewhere in the upper levels of the sale there were similarly hefty results for Macallan with a pair of 1958 Anniversary Malts hitting £2700 each and – perhaps even more impressively – a 1970 and 1966 Anniversary Malt at £2250 a piece. Not so long ago these were £800-1000 bottles. Likewise multiple early 18 year old vintage bottlings finished up around the £1700-1800 mark showing this series well and truly cementing itself at this new trading level.

screen-shot-2016-12-09-at-09-33-39

One of the real highlights for Macallan lovers this sale, however, was the full case of 1958 80 proof bottled early 1970s by Gordon & MacPhail. Beautiful whisky in beautifully classical bottles. Naturally the ones that held their filling levels performed the best at around £2000 each.

Moving away from Macallan though, perhaps the biggest surprise of this sale was the 1972 Brorageddon bottling which finished up at a whopping £5300. This is legendary whisky and further evidences the immense appetite there is for whiskies from this distillery and this vintage in particular. Being one of the only dark sherried expressions of Brora 1972 it is understandable how fiercely these bottles are now fought for. Still, one sold a couple of weeks ago for £3900 and to see it outstrip that price so quickly was quite remarkable.

Moving further down the sale there was no shortage of other impressive, and often left field, results. A Midleton 1988 fetched bang on £1000. There are of course collectors for this series but this is a remarkable result nonetheless. Goes to show that when a bottle is missing from more than one collection then competition can be ruthless.

auction

Other strong results were the Glenmorangie 1963 at £1000, the Glenlochy 1969 25 year old Rare Malts at £975 and the new Lagavulin 25 year old already up at £925, no doubt this bottle has a strong future at auction. A very rare 1988 Caol Ila ‘Manager’s Challenge’ of which only 35 bottles were produced fetched an impressive £725 and a Highland Park Thor was back up around £525 showing that this series is likely on the rebound.

Other impressive results were £525 for a Macallan Cask Strength bottled around 2000, £430 for a Ledaig 1972 Connoisseur’s Choice and £400 for the Kilchoman 100% Islay Cask Strength. Nice to see Islay’s newest (for now) distillery getting some solid auction results.

The majority of results in the mid-range of the auction – like most recent sales – were otherwise consistent and solid with few apparent bargains to be had. One or two bottlings such as the 1965 Duncan Taylor 40 year old Tomatin seem like a good price at £280 but it’s really grasping at straws trying to find glaring bargains amongst this lot.

Below the £120 mark there was still a solid amount of excellent drinking whisky for fair prices but again the overall story is one of consistency and generally upper market value. Next month is the big Christmas auction so we’ll have to wait and see what that brings in terms of prices, at the moment it looks like the current levels will hold for a while longer. How long is anyone’s guess but if you’re thinking of selling though, now seems like a good time to do it.

 

Auction Highlights

 


 

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March Whisky Auction Results

 

The March whisky auction results further demonstrated the current market appetite for the right bottles.

The Macallan 1946 editions both returned healthy and consistent results while the Black Bowmore 1st edition was up against recent results for this bottling. Even with a slightly lower fill level this bottle can still command a hammer price of £5500 – another signifier of just how highly regarded this great whisky actually is.

Macallan 1946 and Bowmore 1st edition

The Springbank 1966 Local Barley cask 443 seems to just fetch a new record price every time one comes to auction. This rare US import version – even without a box – still topped a new record price of £2800. It won’t be long before these are nudging past the £3000 mark quite comfortably. And once again: proof that incredible liquid is pretty much still the hold grail at whisky auctions.

Throughout the top end of the sale the rest of the old vintage Macallans all performed solidly with many trading towards their upper market values. It seems when we have a strong selection of these old Macallans in one sale then they all help each other perform well. Something worth bearing in mind if you have a stash of them yourself which you are considering how best to bring to market.

Another perfect example of how incredible liquid is skyrocketing these days is in the 1967 Signatory Laphroaig. This extremely scarce bottling finished up at a whopping £2200. Impressive considering the late 1960s Laphroaig single casks by Signatory have fetched around the £1200 mark over the past year. Given their increasing scarcity and the fact these are considered amongst some of the greatest whiskies ever bottled, this upward trend in price looks like it is here to stay.

Other healthy results at the upper end of the sale were the Glenlochy 1969 Rare Malts 62.2% version which fetched £1400, these are becoming increasingly scarce at auction and, as one of the earliest releases in this great series, it’s a must for collectors and an incredible dram to boot. Speaking of collectors and rarities, it’s unsurprising that the Boutiquey Whisky Co Brora – of which only 24 bottles were produced – finally settled on £1350. This is a good example of an instance where sheer rarity and collectors completist instincts take hold and deliver quite remarkable results.

1967 Signatory Laphroaig, Glenlochy 1969 Rare Malts and the Boutiquey Whisky Co Brora

Two other interesting but not altogether surprising results were the 6 year old Old Fitzgerald, an old bottling distilled at the Stitzel Weller distillery and the Black Bottle circa 1930s which finished at £1100 and £950 respectively. These were both in excellent condition and showed just what a great appetite there is today for beautiful and historic bottles from great brands or lost distilleries at auction today. The fact they are probably both incredible to drink as well was also probably a big factor. But it goes to show, well preserved and historic examples of big names make big prices.

The continued march of Macallan 18 year olds was evidenced yet again by the 1967 and 1974 which hit £775 and £800 respectively. Neither of these bottlings was in terrific condition or had tubes, but it goes to show the potency of this series and its reputation. On a totally different note a collection of SMWS newsletters and old outturns hit a remarkable £750. This says a lot about the power of information and historical artefacts to modern day collectors. This is a fascinating treasure trove of materials to anyone interested in the history of one of the greatest and most important independent bottlers, something keenly reflected in the price it fetched.

At the lower end of the sale the fact that the newly released Ardbeg Dark Cove bottles in this sale didn’t go as high as previous releases in past auctions may be an indicator that the market – and buyers in particular – have cottoned on to some extent about the predictable patterns these bottles follow. Why pay several hundred for a bottle you can pick up in a couple of months for near its original retail price. Maybe this is a sign of a market maturing and finding its feet? Time will tell…

As ever much of the rest of the lower end of the sale was quite typical of today’s secondary market, although interestingly in this auction there were few real bargains, almost everything seemed to hit its proven market value. What’s for certain is that the secondary market shows no sign of strain at the moment with buoyant prices and ample opportunity for buyers. Perhaps it really is destined to inherit a large chunk of retail’s crown…

The Whisky-Online Auctions Team

 


 

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Annual Extended Christmas Auction – Results

Last night saw the end of our big, annual Christmas auction. A special two-week extended auction that usually features some of the best bottles and prices of the year. Last night was no exception with strong results across the board.

Immediate highlights were bottles such as the 1959 Bruichladdich Cadenhead Dumpy. This series just goes from strength to strength these days but this is probably one of the rarest bottlings in the whole series and one of only two known examples of Bruichladdich distilled before they stopped peating in 1960. That it finished up at £4900 is little surprise when you consider these factors and the sheer rarity of this bottling.

Elsewhere at the top end of the sale the Macallan 1946 finished up at a very healthy £5600 and the Bowmore 1964 Fino Cask an equally healthy £4600.The Laphroaigs were on form as well with the 40 year old hitting £3300 and the 12 year old 1960s Cadenhead bottling reaching £2800. The two Brora Rare Malts bottlings finished up at £2200 and £2150 respectively, these were both the 58.7% 1972 editions, both were without boxes and had levels at the base the neck. The fact the prices on these bottlings continues to climb to the point that even examples such as these ones in middling condition will hit new highs says a lot about the continued power of rare and highly regarded whisky to command serious interest.

Bowmore Fino Cask
Bowmore 1964 Fino Cask , Bottle Performance (July 2014 – January 2016)

The same can be said of the Springbank Local Barley cask 443, another legendary bottling that is now very scarce at auction, this one finished at £2700 despite the level around the top shoulder, once again going to show just how much demand there still is for legendary liquid. One can only imagine what one with a level still in the neck would achieve…

The Karuizawas were all strong and consistent in performance if a little softer than where they were a few months ago, although the prices achieved are still far in excess of their original retail prices so they continue to be easy money for those lucky enough to have bought them at the time.
It was good to see the 1958 Glen Garioch achieve a new record of £1550, well deserved for this great and often overlooked bottling.

One of the big surprises of the night was the Bowmore Save The Children Decanter, a bespoke release for this charity from way back in 1994. The final price of £1650 goes to show the power of the completist mentality in some collectors when it comes to those ‘1 of 1’ bottlings.

Bowmore - 75th Birthday Appeal Of Save The Children Decanter
Bowmore – 75th Birthday Appeal Of Save The Children Decanter

Another trend apparent in this auction was the continued stagnation of Ardbeg prices, all the single casks and older bottlings performed well and consistently but perhaps the fact that there is so little of any real interest being released by Ardbeg anymore is preventing the older bottlings from doing anything other than treading water, price-wise, at auction these days. For the purely novelty versions such as the Auriverdes Gold edition, the prices are simply going down.

Other more curious results were bottlings such as the 12 year old, 100 proof Springbank from the 1990s, this bottling was without a box or even a label and yet still finished up at a remarkable £825. Another example of how desire for great whisky can drive prices a bit nuts. Next to it in the sale the Glengoyne 1972 by Malts Of Scotland hit a new high of £800, we’ve sold a few of these recently and the price just seem to go from strength to strength, once again, great whisky seems to be the key.

Glengoyne 1972-2012 - Malts Of Scotland
Glengoyne 1972-2012 – Malts Of Scotland, Bottle Performance (March 2015 – January 2016)

Another noticeable aspect of this sale was the continued strong performance of the SMWS bottlings. The 1978 Brora 61.22 achieved a very impressive £625 and the Rosebank 25.4 hit £600, this series of Rosebanks were around the £200-300 mark last year which goes to show just how far the interest in these closed Lowland distilleries has come in the space of a year.

Of the bargains in this sale the Croziet 1914 Cognac seems to stick out like a sore thumb at £250, there is a remarkable amount of great old Armagnac and Cognac out there – particularly at auction – at the moment, how long it will stay cheap is anyone’s guess but it’s probably something worth exploring if you find yourself frustrated with the increasing prices of quality drinking whisky.

Although, speaking of quality drinking whisky, there were still many very tasty bottlings around the £50-150 range that look almost like bargains when you consider their likely quality. The First Cask series is interesting in its prevalence at auction these days despite its continued cheapness. When you think of the quality of something like a 1975 Balblair and look at the price of £82.50, it seems like there are still some great drams to be had for good prices.

All in all, though this was one of the strongest auctions we’ve had in quite some time and it looks as though prices for great quality, highly desirable whiskies are going nowhere but up. We’ve always prided ourselves on the fact that our strength as an auction lies on older and rarer bottlings, so if your sitting on these sorts of bottles and would like to discuss selling, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

For now though, happy new year and happy hunting in 2016…

Christmas auction Highlights


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October Auction Results

Our recent auction which finished this past Wednesday saw a broad selection of interesting bottles go under the hammer.

Most of the high-end bottles showed consistency in their performance which suggests the market at this level is holding fairly steady for now. Where there was a strong upward performance was for some of the very rarely seen bottles. The Springbank Samaroli 12 year old is a bottle we’ve sold on three occasions now. Each sale has seen a gradual upwards movement but this sale saw it climb up to £3300 which is a significant boost and quite clearly indicates the appetite there is for these kinds of extremely highly regarded classic bottlings.

Another real rarity was the Glenugie 12 year old bottled in the 1980s by Robert Watson. This is one of these kinds of bottles that is so rarely seen that most people don’t even know it exists. The fact that such a basic – originally quite cheap – bottling finished up at £1100 is clear indication of how well these kinds of bottlings perform on the open market. This is the sort of bottle that whisky auctioneering is all about for us.

Frame - oct 1

Other strong auction results were for Islay bottlings such as the Laphroaig 1980 which finished up at a very healthy £1850 and the Port Ellen Feis Cask which fetched £3200. Demand for these sorts of official Islay bottlings shows no signs of slowing down.

Another strong performer was the Benromach 1969 40 year old, with only 40 bottles released the demand is understandable but it went to £925, some way north of its previous result with us last year of £625. The Littlemill 1950 was another of these rarely seen and little known bottlings that also shot to a new high in this sale. A 30 year old, cask strength single cask with just 216 bottles, this new record of £775 shows clear demand for these older, rarer bottlings and also how interest in Littlemill has really risen over the past years with the numerous excellent bottlings that have been released by the independents.

The Tamdhu 1970 by Signatory – a dram with a hefty reputation – shows that desire for the liquid itself is still a powerful factor in people’s bidding patterns. This one hit an impressive new high of £675. Likewise the Caol Ila 1982 by Queen Of The Moorlands – another dram with a serious reputation – hit an impressive new high of £575.

There were also some notable results at the lower-mid end of the sale as well. Some of the older blends such as the MacKenzie 20 year old and the Hudsons’s Bay 15 year old achieved impressive prices: £150 each. This shows that perhaps awareness of just how great these old blends can be is starting to show in their performance at auction.

All in all it was a successful sale which showed consistency in the top end. A continued stagnation of prices in many of the modern releases which just tend to traded rather than opened. A strengthening for the rarities and scarcely seen bottlings and an upward trend in prices for great quality drinking drams.

Our next sale beginning this Sunday is the final miniature auction of the year, this sale comes from part of a huge and impressive collection of minis put together over several decades. There are numerous highlights such as several Macallan Fine & Rare mins and numerous closed distillery examples to get your teeth into. If you’re looking for fun gifts or stocking fillers for whisky loving chums this Christmas these can make the perfect gifts. Likewise if you’re after a few special drams for yourself over the festive season then minis are a perfect way to try these elusive legendary drams without breaking the bank on a full size bottle.

0415 Auction 2000

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September Auction Results

Last night ended one of the more interesting auctions we’ve had for a while which highlighted a few notable trends on the current secondary market.

Firstly at the top end of the sale Karuizawa prices seem to be settling a little – still undoubtedly crazy – but settling. The Macallan 40 year old is evidently still very hard to find that even one without its original box will still fetch £5500 – an impressive new record eclipsing the one in our previous auction at the start of this year of £5100, and that one had a box! This is a pretty rare bottling and an important one as it represents the only official, non-vintage, age-stated 40 year old Macallan have ever released – which is quite an oddity when you consider their stock of high end expressions over the years.

Auction Highlights

Those initial observations aside though the really interesting bottles in this sale however were undoubtedly the Laphroaig 14 year olds. Several months ago a vendor in America contacted us with images of these bottles, the long and short of it is that he had discovered a full, sealed wooden case of them in the crawl space of his grandfather’s attic. Obviously we were pretty excited, official Islay single malts bottled in the 1950s come along very rarely, how often do you get a chance to taste Laphroaig distilled in the 1930s?

Laphroaig 14 Year Old

The only really disappointing aspect of these bottles was the filling levels, after storage for so many decades lying down in a horizontal packing crate they had all suffered a degree of evaporation. However, the liquids were still perfectly clear and the original bottling strengths were good – 45.7% in today’s money. Once they arrived we thought long and hard about the best way to sell them – we decided it might be a better approach to have a kind of ‘event’ sale where all ten bottles were sold at once. The result – quite satisfyingly – was a king of ‘feeding frenzy’ of bidding. This goes to show that despite low levels there are some whiskies people just crave to possess and will bid for accordingly. Also, a larger parcel of bottles seems to bring all the bidders to the yard and makes for quite an impressive resulting fight. Thirdly, imagine what the prices would have been like if the levels had all still been in the neck… ?

Aside from these beautiful Laphroaigs there were other interesting results. Johnnie Walker Director’s Blends – which seem to have been showing up more frequently across the secondary market recently, which I believe is probably little more than co-incidence – and aged official Bowmores continue to perform well. Even certain old independent releases from Bowmore can be surprising, the 1971 Sestante 18 year old hit an impressive £1450. Another rather curious result was the 1977 Highland Park from the Hart Brother’s Legends series, it sold for £1250 which was unexpected to say the least.

Auction Results

Overall though what struck most about this sale was that there were few surprises. Almost everything traded at a healthy and consistent level in keeping with the current secondary market trends. Of the lesser prices in this sale it was the newer releases that seemed to retract further, the Highland Park Freya sold for just £160 and the new Ardbeg Supernovas all finished up around the £150 mark. This is probably indicative of the fact that more and more buyers are realising there is just no point paying over the top prices for these new Ardbeg releases when the market will be flooded with them in due course and the prices will inevitably retract to near original retail price.

Elsewhere in the sale someone paid £155 for a bundle of old Malt Project DVDs – we didn’t see that one coming. People are apparently still willing to pay £60 for a bottle of Loch Dhu and Tony Blair’s signature has a market value of £62.50. The mysteries of whisky auctioneering continue unabated. Overall this was a fun, interesting and generally consistent sale with some terrific bottles, very good returns for seller’s in general and a few real steals for buyers.

 

The Whisky-Online Auctions Team

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