Tag Archives: Bowmore

April Auction Highlights 2018

Whisky-Online Auctions April 2018 Auction Is Now Live!
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Highlighting our April auction is an impressive haul of over 70 Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings. This collection was acquired over many years by the vendor, mainly from the mid 1990s through to the early 2000s  – he purchased them directly from the SMWS and enjoyed just as many bottlings that’s currently up for auction. You will find numerous interesting and unusual examples, many of which have quirky tasting notes which we have highlighted on each lot from the stack of original SMWS newsletters that were issued to members at the time of release. A few of our favourites include this 1966 Ardbeg 33.13; described as Sweet, sour and Phenolic and originally cost a mere £48 in 1992. A 1968 Glen Garioch 19.18, this one is described as an explosion of spice with bitter coffee. Hot on the heels of this is a 1969 Bruichladdich 23.9 that appears to be from a sherry cask.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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March Auction Highlights 2018

Whisky-Online Auctions Third Auction Of 2018 Is Now Live!
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Back in the glory days not many distilleries had the facilities to bottle their own liquid and the likes of Macallan in particular would appoint independent companies such as Gordon & MacPhail with a licence to undertake what occasionally would be a laborious task. The perfect example can be seen with these two handwritten labels which were bottled in the early 1980s. These whiskies may appear the same but they tell two totally different stories. We have one example distilled before the War and another distilled some years after the War. However, what they do have in common is that they were both distilled when the distillery was still running with just two stills. The 1938 is considered one of the finest expressions from this time for its often unique peat flavours. Where the 1950 is equally impressive with more delicately oily and softer fruit complexities and metallic notes in place of the earlier phenolic styles. These older Macallan are not been produced anymore and as the years go by they seem to be getting thinner and thinner in auction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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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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October Auction Results 2017

Our recent auction was marked by yet another impressive result for bonded casks of Macallan. While not quite as staggering as last month’s results, these 1995 refill hogsheads both performed admirably fetching £52,100 a piece. Showing that any mature stock of Macallan in bond still commands a serious premium. There will be further casks coming to auction with Whisky Online over the next couple of sales so it will be interesting to see how they compare.

Moving to the bottles. The SMWS 26 Malts collection hit a new record result at £4400, quite a tidy improvement over the recent days where it often sold for around £2500. Strong results also for the Laphroaig 1960 at £4000 and the Caol Ila Manager’s Dram at £3400. Both bottles which are driven largely by the wonderful, and historic, character of the liquid.

The following slew of Macallan results were largely typical, consistent and high. With all bottles hitting the top end of their current market value. Demand for aged, classic era, sherry matured Macallan still seems insatiable. The 1971 34 year old Bowmore was another bottling which could be picked up for sub £1000 for a number of years, nice to see these amazing bottlings getting a little more recognition these days with the latest example finishing up at an impressive £1900. Although, given the demand for other similar quality Bowmores, I suspect this bottle will still have some way to go over the coming years.

Speaking of Bowmore, the 1961-1973 example by Berry Brothers is another of those bottles that no one really knew about until one got opened a few years back and tasted by some whisky friends and subsequently written about. Bottles back then used to change hands for less than £200 – this latest one sold for £1700! If you’ve taste the liquid however, it’s not too hard to see why. Not unlike the 30 year old Sea Dragon Bowmore which continues to be in high demand, finishing up last night at £1250

Staying on Islay it seems any Lagavulin with a bit of age can command serious money. Four bottles of the Syndicate 38 year old bottling – the oldest known bottling of Lagavulin – fetched between £1500-1550 each. This is another bottle which seems destined to fly higher in price in the coming years.

Other notable high end results were the Lochside 1966 Celtic Heartlands bottling for £1300 – these old 60s Lochside single malts are really starting to pick up serious – and deserved – attention. The Longmorn 1969 Gordon & MacPhail CASK edition for £925. Again, anyone who has tasted these bottlings will ‘get it’. And speaking of whiskies which are starting to gain overdue recognition, the Glen Elgin 15 year old Manager’s Dram hit an impressive £875. This bottling could be snapped up for £200-300 for a long time and has only recently started to ascent to new heights. Similarly the Aberfeldy and Oban Bicentenary Manager’s Drams both fetched £600 each – very healthy results for these bottles. Even the Oban 19 year old at £420 was a stronger than usual result. Could we be on the cusp of a new trading level for the older Manager’s Dram bottlings?

Midleton continue its collectable march with the 1985 release fetching a cool £775. Similarly the 1970 Bruichladdich impressed with a £725 hammer price – another step higher for this one, how long before it hits the four figure mark? It’s often said that dark  whisky is alluring and, in the case of the Cadenhead white label 1979 Springbank, it isn’t hard to see why it’s deep hue would have contributed to its £725 hammer price.

Another type of bottling that is seeing renewed interest these days are the old, legendary blends. Particularly brands such as Logan’s which are, like White Horse and Mackie’s, known to contain significant amounts of Lagavulin and Malt Mill. This beautiful 1950s example fetched a deserved £675. Macallan madness doesn’t also manifest in the official bottlings, you may not think a 1988 26 year old Macallan by Douglas Laing merited a hammer price of £600, but someone else certainly did.

A Laphroaig 10 year old from the 1980s fetched £550, even with a low filling level. As understanding of just how special these bottlings are spreads, the prices only seem to solidify.

Going through the rest of the £100-500 range of the sale the prices were by and large towards the upper end of market value for most bottles. There were a few slightly juicer bargains. The Ord 16 year old Manager’s Dram seemed to buck the trend of the other bottles form this series in the sale selling for £370, which is a tad softer than other recent results. The Ord 30 year old 2005 special release also still looks like good value at £300 considering what a stellar whisky it is. Likewise a litre of 12 year old Highland Park from the 1980s for £185 also seemed like a pretty quaffable price.

Otherwise though, there were slim pickings for bargain hunters. It seems one of the key aspects of today’s secondary whisky market is proliferation of knowledge has all but dried up bargains. Almost everything seems to fetch its consistent value these days. A great thing if you’re a seller; frustrating if you’re a buyer – especially one looking to buy to drink. Still, a buyout market also means a plentiful and regular supply of juicy bottles. So, until next month…

Next Auction Starts Wednesday 22nd November

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.

Our valuers Wayne and Harrison will also be on the road this month offering FREE personal home collections. If you have any whiskies you would like to have collected or simply want to discuss how our auctions works, please feel free to call us on 01253 620376 and we’ll happily assist. Please note personal collections are subject to availability and of course we have to make them economical.

London Area – Wednesday 8th November
Scotland Area – Wednesday 15th – 16th November

 Get in touch & Book Your Free Collection
Call: 01253 620 376 | Mobile: 07767 22 22 00
Email: auctions@whisky-online. com

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September Auction Highlights 2017

Whisky-Online Auctions September Auction Is Now Live!
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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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View Casks Held in Bond Tasting Notes

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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June 2017 Auction Results

Looking over the impressive results from our latest auction it is tempting to jump upon the prices paid for the two casks of Macallan and gawp at their respective £55,900 and £52,600 hammer prices. However, while undoubtedly impressive this is pretty much bang on market value for casks of Macallan these days. It says a lot about just how far things have come in whisky and the perceived value there is in bonded stock as well as bottled whiskies these days. If we’d had these casks only a few years ago the prices would have been a fraction of what they were last night. So, if you’ve got any casks sitting around in bond – not all will fetch Macallan prices of course – you might be surprised at what you’d get for it at auction.

June Auction Top Results

Anyway, on with the bottles. Once again Macallan dominated the top end of the auction with the 1938 Fine & Rare fetching an impressive £18,600 and the 1948 51-year-old £12,900 – record prices for both bottles and further proof, as if it were needed, of Macallan’s dominance at auction. However, Bowmore and certain other older Islay whiskies are creeping up behind. The two Black Bowmores in this sale – a 1st release and a 75cl 3rd release for the US market – fetched £8400 and £7600 respectively. Not records but strong and consistent prices. Another impressive result for an Islay whisky was the Laphroaig 1966 12-year-old Cadenhead Dumpy at £2800, it seems any 60s Laphroaig will soon be unobtainable for less than the £2000 mark.

Other strong performers were, unsurprisingly, the Brora 1972 Rare Malts 61.1% at £7100, and another Rare Malts bottling, the Clynelish 1972 58.95% variant at an impressive £2200. I suspect it won’t be too long before a 72 Brora cracks the five-figure mark, and in another five years who knows how far the likes of the Clynelish might follow it.

Rare Malts Auction Results

The rest of the upper end of the sale was largely dominated by consistent and high prices for Macallans and Japanese Whiskies. One of the more interesting results was the Berry Brothers 1961 – 1973 Single Malt. Those that know this whisky know it is Bowmore inside, however before this was widely known this bottling could often be picked up for less than £180. How powerful a little knowledge can be in the whisky world as evidenced by this one selling for £1550.

Other impressive results which showed upward movement for certain bottlings were the Macallan Exceptional Cask series cask 9780 hitting £1200 – this series really seems to be on the march at the moment – and the Balvenie Rose also hitting £1200. Balvenie collectors seem to be a force to be reckoned with.

Moving down the scale further it was interesting to see bottlings such as the Balblair 1966 38-year-old and the Glen Elgin 15-year-old Manager’s Dram hitting £700 and £600 respectively. Terrific whiskies starting to attract more serious attention. The same can be said for the Mortlach 1972 22-year-old Rare Malts at £575 and the Balblair 1969 31-year-old Highland Selection series at £525. It’s nice to see Balblair getting a bit more attention as a whisky these days.

There were, what seem to me at any rate, a couple of bargains around this bit of the sale. A historic Johnnie Walker bottling of Australian Rum from the 1940s in near pristine condition seems like something of a bargain at £575. As does the 1950s Unblended Glenlivet at £400. But it’s little things like this that keep auctions interesting for buyers, as well as sellers and they, are important, especially in today’s market which is very much a seller’s market.

The Glen Old 30-year-old Special Releases hit £300, this incredible bottling seems to be finally gaining a bit more, long overdue attention at auction. The rest of this end of the sale was very much again a story of consistency with a few bargains thrown in, some Manager’s Drams, in particular, older ones such as the Cardhu and the Cragganmore, going for somewhat more ‘drinkable’ prices. Looking through the £100-250 range what also stands out is just how much the old official single malt bottlings from the 1970s and 1980s are fetching these days. Bottlings which not so long ago could be picked up quite comfortably for less than £100 are now fetching well over this price level. The common factor? They’re all examples of great, old style whisky. Let’s not forget how much the quality and desirability of the liquid itself is still driving these prices.

So, all in all, another impressive and consistent auction where rarity and quality of liquid still continue to drive prices skyward at both ends of the price spectrum. As we pass the halfway point in the year prices show no sign of flagging so it will be interesting to see how thing develop over the following six months. Until next time…

 

June Auction Highlights

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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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Old & Rare Whisky Show – Glasgow 2017

Whisky-Online Auctions made our first ever official appearance at a whisky festival recently, with a stand at the inaugural Old & Rare Whisky Show in Glasgow.  The show took place in the city’s Grand Central Hotel, which has recently undergone an extremely painstaking (read: expensive and time-consuming) facelift to restore it to its former glory.

https://whiskyshow.com/glasgow/exhibitors/6971/whisky-online-auctions/

WhiskyShow-old&rare2

So it was that on the Saturday and Sunday of 18th-19th February a total of around 700 committed whisky devotees flowed into the hotel’s Grand Ballroom, a beautiful high-ceilinged, multi-chandeliered space, to partake in some of the finest, oldest and rarest drams ever assembled in the UK.  The £100 ticket price seems expensive but becomes an amazing deal when one takes into account that this includes your first £50 of whisky tokens to spend at the stands.

As it was their debut event, Wayne and Harrison Ormerod from Whisky-Online were determined to impress the crowds with their drams. To that end, they put together an absolutely stellar line-up of whiskies for visitors to try. Wayne and Harrison were joined on the stand by whisky writer Tim Forbes for a bit of experienced help.

Old & Rare Whisky Show Dram List

The format of the show was very simple – all the exhibitors’ drams were sold in measures of 1cl (10ml), payable in either tokens or cash.  This system has many benefits – it encourages responsible drinking, visitors can try many more whiskies without becoming inebriated and it brings the price of the most expensive drams down so that visitors can taste whiskies at a level they might not normally be able to afford. The exhibitors really played their part as well, with some very sensible (even generous) pricing on a range of to-die-for whiskies.

Prices on the Whisky-Online Auctions stand started at just £3 for a range of cracking drams from the 1980s and earlier – standout drams included a heavily-sherried Macallan 12yo OB litre bottle from the 1980s and a pair of 12yo OB Obans, one bottled late 1970s and one just after the metric labels came into force at the beginning of the 1980s.  Along with some 1970s Glen Grant square bottles these saw plenty of action throughout the show.

Getting into the more serious stuff, the stand also had a very rare blend – a black-and-gold label Old Vatted Glenlivet estimated to have been bottled around the 1930s, priced at just £10 for 1cl.  This one became more and more popular as the show went on and word got out about it.  Also at this price was a ‘secret’ Bowmore 1961 bottled in 1974 for Berry Bros. & Rudd, a very gentle, tropical dram.

Moving up another level to around £16-20 per dram and now the customers were really spoiled with a series of very rare single malts.  These included a pair of Highland Parks: the spectacular 1955 G&M Cask and a 1961 22yo bottled for Duthie – even Serge Valentin hadn’t seen this one before.  There was also the famous 1971 Glen Garioch bottled for Oddbins in the 1990s, which was a steal for just £16.

The most popular dram at this price range, though, was the mysterious Springbank 20yo ‘Dell Fines’ – a really brilliant spirit-led dram distilled at some point during the golden period from mid-1960s to early 1970s.  No-one really knows anything about this dram, other than it was probably bottled in the late 1980s or early 1990s, and only two bottles have ever turned up on the market – one of which was now open.

Fortunately, the quality of the whisky was certainly never in doubt – it was truly extraordinary and the punters were soon flocking to the stand to try it. Opening this bottle was a real brainwave by the boys, and at £20 for a 1cl dram it represented an amazing opportunity for the show visitors, especially as the only other known bottle is retailing at £2000 elsewhere.

Finally to the Whisky-Online Auction’s two absolute ne plus ultra-highlights at the show: The Brora 40yo, which was going for £110 per cl; and the 1967 Largiemeanoch 12yo at £200 a measure.  The Brora 40yo was very popular, and it wasn’t hard to see why – this was a famously high-scoring dram and remains the oldest official Brora ever released.  The large square crystal decanter looked very impressive on the Whisky-Online Auction stand (although it was so chunky that pouring accurately without spilling was rather difficult), and just about everyone who bought a dram was taking pictures of the bottle to show their friends back home.

As for the Largiemeanoch, well… the word ‘legendary’ gets overused a lot but this is a truly legendary whisky.  Bottled, possibly by Cadenhead’s, for the Howgate Wine Co. at the end of the 1970s, Largiemeanoch 12yo is a mix of three consecutive casks bottled at 54.2% and is now regarded by many cognoscenti not only as one of the best Bowmores ever bottled, but also one of the greatest ever single malts. It’s a brilliant fusion of heavy phenolic and massively intense tropical fruit aromas and flavours. Truly breathtaking stuff.

Famously, this bottling received 97 points on Whiskyfun, and it was clear at the show that its reputation had preceded it.  There was the group of Dutch whisky enthusiasts who had bought tickets and flown over to the show specifically to taste it, and who insisted on having their pictures taken caressing it behind the stand; there was the customer who bought ten measures of it right at the start of the show to take back for his friends in Singapore; and there was the Asian man who, unable to attend the show himself, had bought his girlfriend a ticket and sent her in with a list of whiskies to buy, with the Brora and Largiemeanoch top of the list.

Special mention, however, goes to the unsuspecting fellow who misread the price ticket and ordered a dram of Largiemeanoch believing it to be £20.  After the whisky was poured he was understandably taken aback when asked for another £180, but to his eternal credit he took a sniff of the whisky and then marched straight to an ATM for the rest of the money. We can only doff our caps to him, and hope that his wife didn’t find out.

Over the course of the show over half the bottle of Largiemeanoch was sold, and there were several visitors trying (unsuccessfully) to buy the remains of both the Brora and the Largie at the end of the event. Wayne and Harrison couldn’t be tempted, though – they must have a plan for it.

Overall, the show was a great experience for the Whisky-Online Auction team and there’s no doubt that their whiskies made a lot of lucky visitors very happy. Mission accomplished, and hopefully that’s the first of many successful events for the team.

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Extended Christmas Auction – Results

First and foremost: happy new year from all of us at Whisky Online Auctions. Judging from the latest auction results things seem a little more settled in the world of whisky auctioneering than they did for the last few crazy months of 2016. Although, in terms of impressive results this auction certainly wasn’t lacking. For the first time in quite a while Dalmore was the star of this auction. The legendary official 50-year-old was the top bottle with an impressive new record of £14,300, closely followed by a unique bottling of Dalmore 50-year-old for the 2003 Habanos Festival which fetched an impressive £12,900. Not so long ago 50-year-old Dalmore’s could be picked up for under half these prices. And while we might snigger at the questionable Constellation Collections and other such series – the serious, older Dalmore’s remain the stuff of legend and potent performers on the secondary market.

Whisky Auction Results

It was pleasing to see another 50-year-old perform strongly as the Highland Park 1960 50-year-old hit £11,600. Similarly the Port Ellen 12 year old for the Queen’s Visit in 1980 performed extremely well again when it got close to its original record from last year with a final hammer price of £11,200. The level on this example wasn’t as good as the last one we sold so it is understandable that the price was a little lower but it still goes to show what serious desire to possess the liquid can do for a bottle. This remains the only bottling with a score of 99/100 on Whiskyfun and looks set to remain at this price level and above pretty permanently.

Another impressive result was the Springbank Millennium set which sold for £11,100. Not so long ago this set was £4000-5000. Once again an example of a maturing and increasingly complex and discerning secondary market with more and more buyers directing their money at these top-end, premium releases.

You wouldn’t expect to be mentioning a distillery like Aberfeldy in the upper echelons of an auction but a special edition 1985 28-year-old Aberfeldy, with only 10 bottles in existence, sold for a remarkable £10,300. Quite an achievement for a distillery rarely seen above the £300 mark at auction. I suspect it’ll be a while before we see another one of these bottles though.

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The story of the rest of the upper end of the sale is largely one of consistency with a few notably impressive results strewn throughout. The 1969 Samaroli Glen Grant hit a mighty high of £2600 – helped I suspect by being in tip top condition with a great filling level. Similarly the Bruichladdich 40-year-old at £2500 shows this bottle finally gathering some traction. Another rare old Gordon & MacPhail 1958 100 proof Macallan did well even despite a low filling level when it finished up at £2100. Again, quality and rarity of liquid are powerful motivators.

Then of course there was our old friend: the Speyburn Flora & Fauna 12-year-old. A hammer price of £1800 shows desire for this mighty whisky remains undimmed – still cheap some might say. Another notable result was the Talisker 1967 100 proof from Gordon & MacPhail. There have been quite a few of these beautiful old Taliskers showing up at auction recently and they always perform well – understandable considering their mighty reputation. Given the rarity of this expression and the filling level the price is understandable.

A bottle of K-Club 16-year-old Irish ‘whisky’ bottled around 1940 hit an impressive price of £1250 despite a low filling level. There are more and more collectors for Irish Whiskies out there these days and their performance at auctions is only increasing. Similarly interest in Glenfarclas goes from strength to strength, I wouldn’t have believed ever a few months ago that a bottle of the 43-year-old Cognac casks bottling would have hit £1050 but there you go. Other impressive results for Glenfarclas were 8-year-old 105 proofs at £550 and £625 respectively.

A J J Mortier 1848 Cognac for £725 seems like a bit of bargain considering the historic nature of the liquid, but that’s the only ‘bargain’ I can find in the mid-upper levels of the sale. On the wholesome Ardbeg’s showed signs of cooling off a little, Laphroaigs and Lagavulins were ‘steady’, while Highland Park’s, Auchentoshan, Bowmore’s and Springbank’s all showed very well.

Other good results from a buyers/drinkers perspective were the Timorous Beastie 40-year-old – back down to £175 after a brief couple of months around the £250-300 mark. And the old ‘green glass’ circa 1990 Talisker 10-year-old still look like excellent value around the £130-160 mark. Also, for the Port drinker, a Warres and a Dow’s 1963 at £82.50 and £75 respectively looks like a very tasty little result.

By and large though the story of the lower end of the sale is one of consistency with the usual scattering of very impressive results and a small amount of bargains to boot. The overall profile of this sale looks more in keeping the sort of sales we were seeing around the middle of last year. Prices have settled a little for some bottles but continue to rise almost aggressively for others and for the truly great drams, the sky still seems to be the limit. So, a healthy start to the year with good encouragement for sellers and a little relief for those of us who prefer to buy and have been somewhat priced out of the market by a weak pound recently.

Until next time…

Auction Highlights

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