Tag Archives: Black Bowmore

AUGUST AUCTION RESULTS 2018

Our latest auction closed with more than a few surprises. Not least around the upper end of the sale where the top lot was, unsurprisingly, a hogshead of 1989 Macallan. However, with a hammer price of £70,200, it suggests that prices are beginning to cool off a little for bonded stocks of whisky, certainly in comparison to other recent results we’ve achieved for Macallan casks. Although, it’s worth remembering with this cask that the ABV was rather critically low, which no doubt was reflected in the price.  Putting this in perspective, £70,200 is still way above what would have been, until very recently, considered standard market value for such a cask in bond.

On the flip side, £25,600 for a cask of 1994 Tobermory seems surprisingly expensive, even in today’s market, for a less widely lauded make such as Tobermory. Somewhat understandably cask 5015 was a butt and cask 39, which fetched £17,100 a hogshead, even though, that’s still a hefty price for 1994 Tobermory. Further evidence that no matter what cask you’re sitting on, if it’s got a bit of age to it, you could be in for a pretty nice surprise at auction. It’s certainly an easy way to capitalise without the hassle and cost of bottling. 

On to the bottles and it was good to see Bowmore back at the top of the sale. The ‘coulours’ trilogy of Black, Gold and White seem rather unstoppable these days with respective prices of £18,700, £11,900 and £14,100. All of them outstripping even the Macallan 1946 at £11,100. If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to taste one of these bottlings of Bowmore, it’s not hard to see where such intense prices come from. These are some of the best and most distinctive spirits ever made by human hand in these bottles. 

One of the biggest surprises of this auction, at first glance, is the Springbank 1965 SMWS 27.7 which fetched a rather staggering £6100. Even for a 60s Springbank, this is eye-catching stuff. However, look a bit closer and do a bit of digging and it becomes a bit more understandable. This bottling hasn’t shown up at auction in years and, at 60.2%, it looks to be a pretty remarkable dram. There are numerous series collectors out there for all manner of SMWS bottlings these days so it’s hardly surprising that when such a tasty rarity surfaces, in today’s bullish market, competition is so fierce. 

Other rather striking results which speak to the nature of today’s secondary market include the old 1960s official bottling of ‘Cardow 100% Pot Still‘ which finished up at £5800. Such a rarity in near immaculate condition was always destined to do well so in many ways this isn’t so surprising. Although it is a sobering reminder of just how much of rich man’s game serious old and rare whisky has become. 

Joining the Cardhu was the uber rare bottling of Macallan 12-year-old at 100 proof by Gordon & MacPhail bottled in 1971. There is a 15-year-old version of this which is slightly more common, but the 12 is indeed the definition of scarcity. This pristinely preserved version deserved its £5100 hammer price. What’s more, it was nice to see a non-official Macallan take one of the top Macallan spots in the auction for once. For serious whisky lovers, this is a dream bottling. 

Speaking of dream bottles, perhaps the most beautiful examples in this sale were the pair of Taliskers bottled in the 1950s by Wolverhampton & Dudley. Examples have shown up in the distant past at auction, but to find two such perfect examples today is really like being handed something out of a time warp. Little wonder they fetched £4600 a piece. The kind of bottle you’d kill to taste. 

Other bottles in the upper end of the sale that stuck out were the official Springbank 1965 Local Barley for £3000. Looking at the prices of 60s Springbanks in general, both here, elsewhere and at retail. It seems there is something of a pretty serious upward shift in prices occurring across the board. I doubt it’ll be long before we start to see these kinds of bottles regularly break the five-figure barrier. 

The 50-year-old 1949 Glen Grant by Ian MacLeod at £2900 was a solid result for this bottling. While the Glenugie 1966 by The Bottlers for £2700 was also seriously impressive. Glenugie is another name which is currently rocketing skywards in price. For anyone who has tasted some of these 60s Glenugies, it is hardly surprising. 

Dalmore 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lagavulin 1979 38 year old by the Syndicate and the Laphroaig 19.0 anniversary bottling all hit the £2000 on the head. For the Lagavulin, it was the first time it had gone this high, which suggests a slow and steady climb even higher from here on out. The Dalmore result shows this distillery still had some serious clout at auction, even for what might be considered less impressive bottlings like the 1973. And for the Laphroaig, it’s generally a case of rarity with this bottling. Most were consumed upon release due to the lottery system under which it was sold. Whenever it shows up at auction there is usually a bit of a scuffle to get it. 

Some other notable results above the £1000 mark were the Bunnahabhain 1968 Auld Acquaintance at £1350, how long before this great bottling hits the £2000 mark? A Macallan 1962 Cadenhead Dumpy looks almost cheap at the same price of £1350 however, considering its quality and scarcity. And rounding off the £1350 club was the Ardbeg 17-year-old Cadenhead Dumpy. A natural if slightly soft price for this equally historic bottling. 

The Isle of Skye 50-year-old showed good progress cracking the £1000 mark for the first time, while the Bowmore Sea Dragon 30-year-old conversely seemed a tad soft at £1300. Dipping below the four-figure mark it was lovely to see two stunningly preserved old blends, the Benmore Liqueur Scotch Whisky and the Duffs Liqueur Scotch, both hitting an understandable £975 a piece. 

 

Looking through the rest of the auction there were many impressive results. Too many to mention. Notable examples would be the two Oban 16-year-old Bicentenary Manager’s Drams at £925 apiece, outstripping even the official Oban 1969 at £850. Similarly, the pair of Ord 16-year-old Manager’s Drams for £600 a piece lent further weight to the continued upward march of the early Manager’s Drams series. 

Beyond that, almost every lot was hitting its market value. Normally it’s possible to pinpoint one or two notable bargains or stand out anomalies. However, on this occasion, it really was a case of slim pickings. It seems that, in this day and age where more and more people are migrating their spending from retail to auction, prices are only solidifying, even at the £30-60 range of an auction. Interesting times… 

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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 Results 2018

The territory felt both comfortable and familiar at the close of our most recent auction on Wednesday night. It’s been a while since Macallan bottles dominated the upper end of an auction so thoroughly so it was nice to see such a broad selection taking up most of the top slots.

Unsurprisingly, it was the 1938 handwritten label which took the top spot with a hammer price of £11,600. This is a record for this bottle by quite some distance. I remember writing in one of these reports – not so long ago – about this very bottling and querying just how long it would be before we saw it breach the five figure mark. Not long it seems was the answer. An impressive, if somewhat inevitable, result that should come as no surprise to those who know the reputation of the liquid in this bottle.

Following hard on the heels was the Macallan 40 year old 2016 release. Selling for circa £5000 upon release this one has more than doubled inside the space of two years with a hefty price of £10,600. Although, perhaps more impressive from a sheer increase in value point of view, is the 1981 and 1980 Exceptional Cask bottlings finishing up at £4200 and £4100 respectively. It was only last year that we noted these jumping up to around the £1200 mark. Now at over £4000 – not far off the old blue box 30 year old at £4400 – it looks like this series is set to trade at a whole new level. No doubt this is in some way helped by the fact Macallan released a new series of these Exceptional Casks for the American market recently which will have given new fervour to collectors and completists.

By comparison to these official releases, it makes the 1950 55 year old Speymalt Macallan from Gordon & MacPhail look almost cheap by comparison at £3700. I know which one I’d rather drink.

Elsewhere at the top end of the auction results were fairly consistent with the Brora 1972 Rare Malts 58.7% finishing up at a reasonable – if slightly soft – £3400. Probably something of a bargain for those fortunate enough to be able to buy at this level. Another 1950 Speymalt Macallan for £2000 also looks like a good buy from a posh drinking perspective as well. The thirst for high-end, aged American Whiskey shows no sign of abating with a bottle of Michter’s 25 year old hitting a healthy £2150.

People’s passion for old Bowmore continued unabated with an old 1960s Ship Label Sherriff’s bottling hitting a hefty £1800. Even though these bottlings are not generally regarded as the most glittering examples of this distillery from this era, they still seem to sell like hotcakes every time they appear. Also talking of bargains, the official 1968 Highland Park 35 year old single cask which sold for £1500, looks like a solid, market value price but this, for me, is the sort of bottling which still has further to go. Especially considering the astonishing quality of the liquid.

 

Back to Macallan briefly for a moment and the official 100 proof 10 year old bottled in the 1980s which sold for £1350. This again seems like an excellent price and showing good incremental increase on recent previous results for similar bottlings, however it’s another which – given the prices for other old official Macallans – seems like there’s still quite a way for it still to go in the near term.

Elsewhere a Bowmore 1973 vintage label for £1300 was another solid result for this distillery. The fact this liquid is vastly superior to the pricier ship label goes to show that the liquid quality doesn’t always dictate price when collectability is involved. A sister bottling without box sold for £1100 as well – another solid result for a drinker.

The increasingly sought after and hallowed Talisker 1981 sherry cask hit a healthy £1100. Narrowly outstripping an 1865 Bisquit Cognac, which seems almost cheap at £1000. But then, this is why it pays to watch these auctions as there is always something worth snooping around for.

£875 for a Dalmore 30 year old Stillman’s Reserve is a very solid return for a bottle that usually fetches around the £400-500 mark. Could this be the power of Richard Paterson’s signature? Maybe but I suspect possibly not.

Creeping up these days are the old official Tullibardine single casks, it was nice to see the 1962 cask 3185 hitting a respectable £675. Although, for an official bottling of such age this still seems somewhat cheap. Probably the perils of Tullibardine’s tricky brand I suspect. Although, from a drinking perspective, these bottlings are great and worthwhile snapping up while you can. I suspect it won’t be long before these releases are all nudging past the four figure mark.

Around the midway of the auction there were some notable and interesting results. The Bunnahabhain 1964 Moon Import Birds series hit £575. A 1974 13 year old Ardbeg Connoisseur’s Choice finished up at £550 and a 1962 official Glen Moray reached a very respectable £470. All solid results that showcased continued appetite and growth for quality older whiskies.

Moving further down the sale a few results that stood out were the Bowmore Glasgow Garden Festival 10 year old for £260 – impressive considering these could be picked up for  under £100 for so long. The Bunnahabhain 1968 Family Silver steadfastly, and almost resolutely, remains rooted around the £240-280 range (this latest one finishing up at £245) despite it being fantastic whisky. I wonder how long before its time comes and we all lament always overlooking it?

A Talisker 10 year old Map Label from the 1990s hit £120, it seems this era of Talisker bottlings is well and truly set to stay over the £100 threshold now. Also, old blends such as King George IV Supreme from the 1970s which previously would have sold for around the £20 mark not so long ago are now starting to fetch more serious prices. This most recent one fetched a surprising £110. This is very much the kind of auction it was, a quieter one overall but one of those auctions that, if you look closely, you can spot quite a few upward trends emerging. As ever the market remains buoyant and confident it seems.

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December Auction Results 2017

Every auction throws up a few special or fascinating results but there’s always something just a little bit more intriguing about our annual Christmas auction. The fact it runs over the festive period for an extended time and usually features an extensive selection of truly special bottles always ups the excitement. 
First up it seems the fever surrounding bonded casks of Macallan is back up to full pitch. The two top lots were a sherry butt of 1996 Macallan at £168,300 and a sherry hogshead of 1990 Macallan for £135,100. It’s interesting to note in the price rations here and how – while the extra size and content of the butt makes it the most expensive – in terms of ratio the older, more mature liquid is the one which wins if you adjust to price per bottle. Another fascinating and bewilderingly impressive result for bonded casks.
If any further proof were needed of the ‘Macallan’ effect, simply look at the prices achieved in the same sale by the bonded casks of 1992 Jura which were also under the hammer. Ranging from £7700 – £11,100. These seems like more realistic market prices for such casks and go some way to revealing just how powerful the name Macallan remains. 
On to the bottles and to my favourite bottle of the sale: the Oban Crown Hotel bottle from around 1900. First of all, what a stunning bottle to still find in this day and age! These kinds of bottles could be found with far more regularity a number of years ago, now, however, it’s exceptionally unusual to still uncover such an old, genuine bottle. What’s nice is that it is from Oban distillery, not a name you’d ever expect to discover such an aged example of. Another good illustration of the nature of today’s market is that the Macallan Lalique 50 year old sold for £45,600 and the Oban finished at £11,600. Both impressive prices but also another indicator of how skewed the perception of value is in whisky today. 

Old Oban Whisky Circa 1900

Looking over some of the many other impressive top end results it was good to see the Ardbeg 1965 hit the five figure mark at £10,000 – a record for this bottling. The Bowmore 1955 jug is also back on deserving form at £6800 – if you’ve ever tasted this bewilderingly incredible whisky then you can understand why. Same goes for the Bowmore 1957 at £6500. I wonder how long before all these old Bowmores crest the £10k mark?
Talisker 1955 and 1957 CASK by Gordon & MacPhail both finished at £2600, another unsurprising and impressive result for these incredible whiskies. Back to Bowmore again and the Bicentenary bottling continues it’s climb ever higher to £2300, a second bottle also fetched £1950. While the Clynelish 1972 White Label by Cadenhead hit £2150, again: amazing juice is in serious demand. 
Amidst all the impressive Macallan results, one of the more notable bottles was the Macallan 15 year old by Gordon & MacPhail from the 1970s. Judging by the colour you always knew it would do well, however £1950 is still an impressive result for a bottle which could be picked up for around the £400 mark a couple of years ago. 
A beautiful old bottle of Glenlivet bottled 1949 fetched £1450, which, given the age and rather unique nature of the bottle, feels like something of a bargain. Which goes to show, even at these sorts of price levels, there are still some nice bits and pieces to be found. Another example would possibly be the old Blair Athol 8 year old from the 1940s – another remarkable old single malt that, at £1050, seems like a pretty fair price in today’s market. 

 

 

 

It isn’t just whisky of course. Wray & Nephew continued to be one of the most desirable names in Rum with a private stock bottling from the 1970s fetching £1450. A super rare Glenugie 12 year old fetched £1200 and a Lagavulin 12 White Horse just squeezed past the four figure mark to £1050. I suspect we’ll see these bottles start to do this more and more often quite soon. 
Going below the £1000 mark there were plenty other impressive results. The Clynelish 1971 36 year old Murray McDavid at £750 showed that these vintages of Clynelish are always in high demand these days. The litre bottling of 12 year old Macallan at £775 was also impressive, this bottling for some reason seemed to hover at £300-400 for a long time. The Longmorn 25 year old centenary at £700 is also nice to see, the liquid is utterly incredible in this one and for a long time it seemed stuck around the £400-500 mark. 
Looking over the rest of the auction it seems that almost all aged single malts – closed or still active – from the 1960s and 1970s are sitting somewhere in the £300-600 price range these days. Gone are the times where you could pick up these sorts of bottlings occasionally sub £200. Almost anything that’s good or old now seems to carry a minimum £300-400 price tag. With many or most of the good or interesting ones sailing closer to £500+. People wonder about how long this will continue but, for these kinds of older or well aged single malt bottlings, I don’t see how the prices will ever really come down. Barring some broader economic collapse, these sorts of whiskies aren’t being made anymore and they will always be hugely desirable to drinkers and collectors alike. Basic supply and demand will rule the roost with these bottlings forevermore I suspect. A shame as it means many of us might be priced out of owning them. But if you still have these kinds of whiskies tucked away at home it’s pretty much a dream market in which to sell nowadays. 
Elsewhere in the sale pretty much everything here was hitting it’s true or high market value. Even below the £100 mark there weren’t too many bargains to be found. Seems a trend that’s set to continue into 2018. Although, my result of the sale would have to be a bottle of Bailey’s Irish Whisky for £320. Must have been the Christmas effect! Happy new year to all our clients and customers and to everyone that bids with us. We wish you all the best for 2018. Hopefully you were able to celebrate with something suitably delicious. Until next time… 

 

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December Auction Highlights 2017

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Old Oban Whisky Circa 1900

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Have a wonderful Christmas & New Year from all of us here at ​Whisky Online Auctions.

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November Auction Results 2017

We should probably start with the somewhat unsurprising record price of £24,200 achieved for the Macallan 1949 50 year old Millennium decanter. What’s most amusing from a personal perspective is that it wasn’t so long ago that this sort of result (indeed this is the second time that Whisky Online has achieved a record price for this bottling) would have had all chinwagging. Nowadays, however, such prices for these old Macallan bottlings have become pretty commonplace.

The theme of the Millennium dominated the top of the auction this time with the Springbank Millennium set also performing strongly at £12,900. I’m sure I’ve written before about how this set could be picked up for £4000-5000 not so long ago. Suddenly that doesn’t seem too expensive.

Then a pleasing run of Bowmores. The most notable of which was probably the 2nd edition Black Bowmore for the US at 75cl hitting £8200. Although, in terms of Bowmore rarities, the 1969 single cask for Fecchio & Frassa was the real gem of this auction. Indeed, the fact it sold eventually for £5500 is testament to both its rarity and the lauded reputation of the liquid itself. I suspect it will be a long time before we see another of these – or another might show up next month. Stranger things have happened.

Another pair of impressive results were the two PLOWED society bottlings from Douglas Laing. With the Ardbeg 1972 fetching £4600 and the Brora 1972 a whopping £5800. Two more examples of just how intensely in demand these sorts of legendary whiskies are these days.

The Campbell Hope & King Macallans showed no signs of slowing down either. An excellent example of one of the harder to find editions in the series, the 1951, hit an impressive £4600. While the 1957 nudged £3700. I suspect these bottlings will only continue to climb in the coming months and years.

One of the more surprising results was the cask of Arran 1997. Given the strong performance of other bonded casks recently it was somewhat surprising to see this one at £4100. Given the quality of the liquid as well it looks as though someone got themselves a wee bit of a bargain.

Some other notable results were bottlings such as the Bowmore 1962 Moon Import – a serious rarity these days – at £2350. The Gordon & MacPhail Talisker 1957 CASK at £2300 – another bottling which isn’t getting cheaper anytime soon I suspect. Similarly the 1955 variant hit £2050. The Laphroaig 1967 First Cask continued its recent strength of form with a hammer price of £2050 and a Bowmore Bicentenary hit £2000. It seems amazing juice is still the ultimate bringer of serious results at auction these days.

Strong results from the SMWS collection in this sale were also in evidence with the Springbank 1965 hitting £2000 and the Lomond 1972 Yoichi 1986 116.1 both achieving £1800. There were plenty strong results from Macallan in the upper ends of the sale – something so ubiquitous from sale to sale now I’ve kind of stopped commenting on it almost – but the 15 year old 1957 by Gordon & MacPhail fetching £1700 was still rather impressive. Something that goes to show good, old Macallan just isn’t cheap no matter what bottling it is.

Deviating from Whisky it was nice to be reminded that old rums are also somewhat ‘in vogue’ with collectors and drinkers these days. The 1930s Frederick Smith example fetched an impressive £1550. Similarly Midleton collectors were out in force for the scarcely seen 1990 edition, pushing it all the way to £1500. The thirst for old and rare examples of Ainslie’s blends showed no signs of stopping with the 1940s King’s Legend hitting £1450 and the 1950s Ainslie’s Specially Selected on £925. Again these are the sorts of bottles which could be bought for less than £150 a piece not so long ago.

The superbly dark sherry SMWS early editions of Rosebank have garnered quite a reputation in recent years since a couple were opened and written about. Unsurprisingly the 25.3 Rosebank hit £1300, with the 25.4 not too far behind it on £1000. Around this price level other impressive results were the MacPhail’s 1945 44 year old. These don’t tend to perform as well as the named distillery Gordon & MacPhail bottlings from the same era but I suspect the fact it was a wartime vintage helped propel it to £1050. Not too far away was the Oban Bicentenary Manager’s Dram 16 year old for £975. For so long this bottling sat still around the £400-500 mark so it’s nice to see this great dram getting some recognition. Similarly the Aberfeldy 19 year old Manager’s Dram hit an impressive £875 – it seems this boost in prices we’ve been seeing recently for the old Manager’s Drams is here to stay.

 

Older bottlings did well across the board this sale with the 1960s Springbank 5 year old hitting £825 and the 1950s Dalmore 12 achieving £800. Both in impressive condition neither result is particularly surprising but both do represent an increase on other recent results for these bottlings. No doubt next time they’ll be even higher.

 

A few other impressive SMWS results – unsurprising given how rarely many of these bottlings turn up at auction – were the dark sherry Glenfiddich 1978 15.6 for £575. The rather crazy Inchgower 1966 18.15 for £550. And the Macallan 1977 24.17 for £500. At this point it would be remiss not to point out what was probably the bargain of the sale with the Glenlochy 1969 25 year old Rare Malts selling for £525 – not sure what happened there but I’m sad I missed it is all I can say. Goes to show there’s always something in every auction.

Looking through the rest of the sale though, it is rather hard to discern too many other bargains. One of the things that stands out is the prices paid for almost any old SMWS bottlings these days. Even some of the more mundane bottlings can fetch impressive prices. Whether this is being driven primarily by collectors of drinkers seeking real obscurities I’m not sure. Almost certainly, as usual with these things, it’s a combination of both. Until next time…

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September Auction Highlights 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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April Auction Highlights

At Whisky-Online we endeavour to offer an exceptional array of old and rare whiskies including bottles rarely ever seen at auction before.

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Firstly we will start with a super scares 1972 Ardbeg single cask, Named Ping No. 1 by Juuls Vinhandel of Denmark to commemorate the 30th Business Anniversary of Michael Madsen.

Another clutch of rare Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottling’s, we see for the first time a Port Ellen 43.2, not only is this a closed distillery the liquid itself is legendary. More early releases from SMWS include Ardmore 66.1 a Girvan G7.1 and many other great releases from this iconic series like Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Glenmoranige, Talisker, Glen Scotia, St Magdalene…

Making another reappearance is the Macallan 1946 52 year old, along with the Macallan 1938 and Macallan 1950 hand written labels. staying with Macallan we have two new faces from the Fine & Rare series with vintages from 1975 and 1971 followed with a huge selection of other great Macallans including vintage Anniversary Malts not forgetting a haul of indie bottling’s.

Other notable rarities from the 1940s and 1950s starting with an unusual Munros Extra Special Liqueur followed by an incredible selection of old White Horse including bottling from 1941, 1952, 1954, 1956, and two examples from 1957. More from the fifties comprising of several variants of Haig Gold Label, Black & White, Dewars. Johnnie Walker enthusiasts won’t be disappointed with the numerous directors blends from 2008, 2010 and 2011 releases.

It doesn’t end there, more rarities from Islay that include Ardbeg Manager Choice cask 2391, Caol Ila Mangers Dram, Port Ellen First Release followed by a 21 year old Malting’s Anniversary. From Bowmore we have a 1973 vintage label, 1972 27 year old from a marriage of three casks with a yield of only 466 bottles. You will also find a couple of ceramics like the 25 year old Seagulls, 30 year old Sea Dragon and the legendry Bicentenary. From the eighties there is a Laphroaig 10 year old a Lagavulin 12 year old White Horse and a no age statement Bruichladdich.

For our Abunadh fans we have numerous different batches running from batch 15 through to 35. There’s bag full of the infamous Managers Drams. Numerous other incredible drams including a Glenfiddich 1978 single cask, four different Glenfarclas 40 year olds bottled for the Taiwanese market. A 1964 Glendronach dumpy, two 1968s including the re-opening. A young high octane Talisker 1970 100 proof, and a beautiful dumpy Springbank 30 year old sherry cask.

From elsewhere around the world we have a L’Esprit De Courvoisier Cognac in a hand-cut Lalique decanter. A half bottle of Martel Cognac circa 1940, Delamain 1969 34 year old and a wonderful one pint J.A. Dougherty’s from the pre-prohibition era. From the Far East there’s several different Kavalans, the renowned Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 and a extremely hard to find Hakushu 25 Year Old in the rarely seen wooden box version where only around 100 bottles were ever released.

Whatever your tastes you’ll find something within this month’s selection and as always please get in touch if you have any questions, otherwise enjoy the auction, best of luck and happy bidding.

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The Whisky Online Auctions team

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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