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…
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…
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It has been quite remarkable seeing the results that these bonded casks of mature whisky – in particular Macallan – have achieved over the past few sales. So, we’re pleased to be able to offer the final two ex-sherry hogsheads of Macallan from this parcel of stock in our latest auction. The character of the whisky in both is of exemplary quality and both casks exhibit great maturation with at least a further decade of ageing potential ahead of them. Similarly, they are joined by an unusually characterful barrel of 2006 Tullibardine which shows a remarkably complex sweetness. This will no doubt be a more affordable cask for anyone looking for something interesting as a future bottle share with friends or something special as a bit of fun or an investment for themselves. Like the Macallans, it already exhibits good maturity and should continue to improve for at least another five years.
Nose: Beautifully earthy and fragrant. Full of moss, ferns, all kinds of dried herbs, pumpernickel bread, wet leaves and mushroom powder. A cooling coal hearth, a touch of strawberry liqueur, some hessian and dunnage warehouse and a dusting of cocoa powder. Beautifully integrated sherry and distillate.
Palate: Big, a little sharp at first, and full of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon powder, cloves and various other mulling spices. Some cured meats, freshly baked brown bread, black olives, sage, rosemary and gorse flowers. A touch of desiccated cocoanut and muesli comes through as well. Some more meaty notes in the form of bovril and beef stock.
Finish: Long, earthy, meaty and full of dark fruits and warming spices. Quite a layered finish ending up on a long chocolatey fade.
Comments: Another blinding good mid-aged Macallan. Again, this could easily sail to 30 years of age without too much trouble it would appear. One that will certainly reward a little patience in the bond.
Nose: A rather elegant, plush and fatty nose at first. Notes of wax, wood resin, camphor and furniture oil give way to greener and lusher fruit notes and floral scents such as geranium, rosehip and Turkish Delight. There are some notes of dried rosemary, motor oil, pistachio nuts and a background note of mint.
Mouth: A big oily delivery full of spice, seville orange marmalade, fruit compotes, some traces of tar resin, pine cones and orange cocktail bitters. Notes of turmeric, greengages, lamp oil, hessian, clove rock and madeira cake. Quite rich, oily and intense.
Finish: Lengthy and with more of these polished wood, oil and dark, preserved fruit qualities. Quite spicy towards the end and with a lingering leathery note.
Comments: This is a big and relatively uncompromising example of Macallan, already showing good maturity at around 22 years of age. However, I feel it has great potential and could go to 30 years or more quite easily. A good one to sit on if you have the patience.
Nose: A warm butterscotch arises at first. Followed by subtle notes of treacle, soft toffee, vanilla ice cream, some wood shavings and candy floss. Quite a confectionary nose this one, but cleanly and vibrantly so. Time reveals some more farmyard touches of wet hay, damp sack cloth and various oils and industrial aspects. Quite straightforwardly ‘highlands’ in style.
Palate: The strength is surprisingly shy at first which is a good sign. This has pink grapefruit, foam shrimp sweets, barley sugar, red strawberry laces. A whole sweetie shop full of flavours. Red liquorice, caraway liqueur, some grassy touches perhaps hinting at a dryness peeping through. With time some nutmeg and fresh herbs emerge.
Finish: Quite long and lemony with vanilla cream, some slightly salty notes like frying pancetta and touches of grass and rosewater.
Comments: A surprisingly lively, flavoursome and idiosyncratic cask of Tullibardine. One that could be bottled now or continue up until around 15 years of age quite easily.
Auction Ends Wednesday 1st November From 8pm.
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Last month’s auction was all about 50-year-olds and this month’s auction continues the same theme with several more. Starting with a modern masterpiece; The Dalmore Candela 50-year-old. A vatting composed of whisky distilled in 1868, 1878, 1909, 1922, 1939 and 1951. The stock used is inspirational and from a bygone era. They have been uniquely fused together by the Master Distiller to create a powerful and fulfilling whisky. Just 77 crystal decanters were filled.
Up next and rewinding over 30 years we welcome back the original Dalmore 50-year-old from 1978. This is regarded as the best Dalmore ever bottled and probably the best 50-year-old in the world. It’s also bottled at a hefty 52% which is very unusual for such an old whisky. Only 60 hand-cut crystal decanters were produced making this one of the hardest whiskies to find.
Over to Dufftown and for the first time since 2013 we have the Glenfiddich 50-year-old; composed from 9 casks distilled in 1937 & 1939. Over 50 years later in 1990 those casks were vatted together and then returned to the cask for over a year to allow the whisky to marry. On the 26th July 1991, 500 bottles were filled. Each bottle is personally signed by Alexander Grant Gordon and presented in a bespoke wooden presentation box along with a certificate of authenticity.
Not stopping there and heading 800 yards to Balvenie and for the first time here at Whisky-Online Auctions we have the Balvenie 1937 50-year-old. Some say upon its release in 1987 this was the oldest whisky ever to be bottled and started a phenomenon for these super aged single malts.
Along with these magnificent fifties, you will find one more that’s included in the set of six Springbank Millennium Collection!
Talking of Springbank we have numerous single casks from the 1966 Local Barley series which include cask 485, 486, 487, 492. Also from Springbank, there are a few uncommon but worthy indies like a 1966 28-year-old by The Bottlers and a 1965 30-year-old for Milroy’s and in the mix a bag full of private bottlings. The excitement doesn’t stop there! We have the likes of the Laphroiag 1960 40-year-old bottled for Oddbins, the mind-blowing Brora 1972 40-year-old. A couple of Glenfiddich 40-year-olds, one from 2000 and the other from 2007. A 30-year-old Glenmorangie finished in a Malaga cask, a 1973 33-year-old Dalmore and in their own words ‘seduced by the charm of the ‘king of grapes’
Briefly, onto Islay, we have an official 1972 Bowmore under their vintage label and a 1973 Bowmore specially bottled for the 50th anniversary of the original Stanley Morrison company. Others official releases from Islay to watch out for are a 1976 Laphroaig, Port Ellen 9th release, a Single Cask Ardbeg and several vintages from 1975, 1977 & 1978.
In the mix of all these incredible whiskies, you will find two bottles of pre-war Rosebank bottled sometime in the 1960s by an obscure Edinburgh merchant Robert Stewart & Son. Although these were distilled in 1938, Rosebank was one of the few distilleries that managed to continue operating during World War 2. Along with these two wonderfully old bottles, we have another Black Bottle from around the 1930s; this bottle comes from a full case of 12 that was purchased over 30 years ago by the vendor in his local pub. Over the years he slowly drank them. I asked him if he enjoyed them and he said they were very nice with coke :O and he always thought it was peculiar they had ‘Pre-War Strength’ stated on the bottle. This particular bottle was saved and remains the last bottle from the original case.
Onto the indies and starting with G&M we have all sorts from their vintage series such as 1954, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1967 Strathisla, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1957 Glen Grant, 1938, 1950, 1955 Glenlivet, 1953, 1958, 1959 Glen Avon, 1963, 1964 Glenburgie and 1965Glen Mhor! From their Connoisseurs Choice series you will find the likes of 1965 St Magdalene, 1972 Brora, 1974 Ardbeg, 1979 Port Ellen and many more.
For Douglas Laing, there’s a couple of Port Ellen from their Old & Rare Platinum Selection and several worthy examples from their Old Malt Cask series. Scotch Malt Whisky Society is represented with a 1965 32-year-old Glen Grant, 1966 36-year-old Glenfarclas, 1978 Glenlossie, 1979 Glenburgie, 1981 Glen Mhor, 1983 Old Pulteney, 1989 Springbank and a whole host of other releases. Hart Brothers brings us several Port Ellen ranging from a very pale 1983 sherry cask to a 1975 23-year-old. Signatory Vintage offers, even more, Port Ellen along with a couple of Dallas Dhu not forgetting a 1970 20-year-old Glendronach Dun Eideann. Finally, we will finish with Murray McDavid where you will find examples such as a 1970 33-year-old Craigellachie, 1974 29-year-old Dallas Dhu, 1975 28-year-old Glen Scotia, 1977 26-year-old Glenugie, 1979 24-year-old Old Rhosdhu and last but no means least a 1983 20-year-old Clynelish.
As always all bottles will start off at £10 with no set reserves meaning every bid is a potential winning bid.
All the best from all of us here at Whisky Online Auctions.
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.
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.
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…
Another month and yet again the prices are still flying high.
A weak pound is good for UK sellers but frustrating for those of us trying to buy. Whether this current upward trend will continue or maintain itself is yet to be seen. But if there is a re-balancing against the Euro (as seems likely) and the Dollar in the coming months then it seems likely that prices may soften again. In short, it’s still a good time to sell for UK buyers. Anyway, on with the results…
The demand for Black Bowmore continues unabated as ever, no doubt helped by the recent announcement of the new 50 year old expression, the 42 year old 4th release hit a healthy £8200. The newly released Macallan 40 year olds both fetched a notch above their initial retail price with a hammer of £6000 and £5900 respectively. Elsewhere in the upper levels of the sale there were similarly hefty results for Macallan with a pair of 1958 Anniversary Malts hitting £2700 each and – perhaps even more impressively – a 1970 and 1966 Anniversary Malt at £2250 a piece. Not so long ago these were £800-1000 bottles. Likewise multiple early 18 year old vintage bottlings finished up around the £1700-1800 mark showing this series well and truly cementing itself at this new trading level.
One of the real highlights for Macallan lovers this sale, however, was the full case of 1958 80 proof bottled early 1970s by Gordon & MacPhail. Beautiful whisky in beautifully classical bottles. Naturally the ones that held their filling levels performed the best at around £2000 each.
Moving away from Macallan though, perhaps the biggest surprise of this sale was the 1972 Brorageddon bottling which finished up at a whopping £5300. This is legendary whisky and further evidences the immense appetite there is for whiskies from this distillery and this vintage in particular. Being one of the only dark sherried expressions of Brora 1972 it is understandable how fiercely these bottles are now fought for. Still, one sold a couple of weeks ago for £3900 and to see it outstrip that price so quickly was quite remarkable.
Moving further down the sale there was no shortage of other impressive, and often left field, results. A Midleton 1988 fetched bang on £1000. There are of course collectors for this series but this is a remarkable result nonetheless. Goes to show that when a bottle is missing from more than one collection then competition can be ruthless.
Other strong results were the Glenmorangie 1963 at £1000, the Glenlochy 1969 25 year old Rare Malts at £975 and the new Lagavulin 25 year old already up at £925, no doubt this bottle has a strong future at auction. A very rare 1988 Caol Ila ‘Manager’s Challenge’ of which only 35 bottles were produced fetched an impressive £725 and a Highland Park Thor was back up around £525 showing that this series is likely on the rebound.
Other impressive results were £525 for a Macallan Cask Strength bottled around 2000, £430 for a Ledaig 1972 Connoisseur’s Choice and £400 for the Kilchoman 100% Islay Cask Strength. Nice to see Islay’s newest (for now) distillery getting some solid auction results.
The majority of results in the mid-range of the auction – like most recent sales – were otherwise consistent and solid with few apparent bargains to be had. One or two bottlings such as the 1965 Duncan Taylor 40 year old Tomatin seem like a good price at £280 but it’s really grasping at straws trying to find glaring bargains amongst this lot.
Below the £120 mark there was still a solid amount of excellent drinking whisky for fair prices but again the overall story is one of consistency and generally upper market value. Next month is the big Christmas auction so we’ll have to wait and see what that brings in terms of prices, at the moment it looks like the current levels will hold for a while longer. How long is anyone’s guess but if you’re thinking of selling though, now seems like a good time to do it.
Annual Extended Christmas Sale!
If you’d like to get your bottles into the Christmas sale then we’ll be accepting entries up until the 21st of December. So don’t hang about if you want to take advantage of what is usually one of the highlight auctions of the year in terms of quality of bottles and prices achieved.
The obvious star is the Macallan Lalique 55 Year Old Second Edition. The last time this bottle appeared in our auction – just over 2 years ago in January 2014 – it fetched £12,600. Its final hammer price last night was £25,100, just shy of double its previous best. This demonstrates a couple of things. One is the ravenous market appetite for the serious, official, high-end Macallans. If you have these kinds of bottles now might be the time to start thinking about doing something with them. And, secondly, this is one of an increasing number of examples of bottles achieving well past the £20,000 mark at Whisky Online Auctions. We have a firm track record of achieving the highest price for individual bottles at auction in the UK for the past 3 years now – if you’ve got these kinds of bottles you could do a lot worse than sell them where you are guaranteed this kind of result.
Going down through the rest of the auction there are more impressive results. It is not often that the second highest bottle in an auction is an independent bottling; then again, it is not often that an independent bottler can produce a 50 year old, dark sherried Glenfiddich with an outturn of only 67 bottles. So perhaps its final hammer price of £7000 is not too surprising.
The Macallan 1945 Speymalt and the 1938 official both fetched consistent and comfortably sturdy results at £5100 and £5500 respectively. In comparison with the 55yo Lalique the 68 year old Speymalt from G&M looks like a downright bargain. Both bottles exemplify the continued appetite there is for these super-aged, exceptional releases from the glory days of Macallan.
The Ardbeg Manager’s Choice 1976 hit a new record high of £3200, it’s good to see appetite for this great and legendary bottling climbing back up again after some softer results earlier this year. The two Brora 1972 Rare Malts hit £3100 apiece, a solid result consistent with the huge level of desirability there is for these bottlings currently. Other encouraging results were the Macallan Royal Marriage, at £2500 it was up a little from its usual £1700-1900 selling range. And the Glenfarclas 40 year old Millennium at £2250 was an impressive result considering it wasn’t all that long ago that these were trading around the £700 mark. This seems consistent with a broader strengthening of Glenfarclas prices at auction lately.
One feature of this auction was a broad selection of releases from the elusive and curious Cadenhead ‘White Label’ series. This was a short lived series of bottlings produced for Oddbins by Cadenheads in the early 1990s. There were some quite remarkable whiskies in it which are now exceedingly rare. A face well evidenced by the prices many of them fetched in this auction. £2400 for the 1965 Springbank, £1250 for the 1972 Clynelish, £1150 for the Glenugie 1980. £925 for the Ardbeg 1978. Once again it goes to show that great liquid commands serious prices, old Cadenhead bottlings are seeing stronger demand than ever and a selection like this from a great and collectable series often creates something of a feeding frenzy effect. Something well worth considering in a tactical sense if you have some of these bottlings and are considering selling.
Other strong results that broadly represent the sharpening demand for great liquid are: Clynelish 1972 23 year old Rare Malts for £925, Ardbeg Lord Of The Isles for £775 and Laphroaig 1968 Hart Brothers for £875. Some other notable results were the strong performance of Glenmorangie bottlings in this sale. £1150 for the Concorde bottling is sort of to be expected. But £975 for Truffle Oak, £675 for the 1972 single cask, £675 apiece for the two 30 year olds. These are terrific results for a distillery which was flagging a little at auction not so long ago.
Rum is something we don’t often talk about in these reports, but as a spirit at auction it is increasingly gaining traction and seeing impressive results. Six bottles of the Cadenhead’s Uitvlugt 1974 30 year old sold for between £600-650 each, which goes to show the demand for serious, aged rums at auction these days. Remarkable when you consider how cheap these bottlings were originally.
Looking through the auction there wasn’t too much in the way of bargains this sale. Although an 1865 Cognac for £410 seems like the steal of the century given the immense prices that almost all the good bottles in this sale fetched. Goes to show there’s always something in every sale if you are patient, vigilant and smart. And lucky. Some of the older SMWS bottlings seemed a tad more affordable than usual, although priced were very much dependent on the filling levels. The Glenburgie 1960 Connoisseur’s Choice also seems a great bargain for drinking at £215. But apart from that pretty much everything in this sale hit its true market value and bargains were thin on the ground.
As of our next auction – beginning July 27th – Whisky Online Auctions will be reducing its seller’s commission to 5%. We are the top achieving auction house for record prices when it comes to old, rare and antique bottles. Our new commission structure now makes it even easier and more profitable for sellers to capitalise on our ability to achieve these results. If you are interested to take advantage of selling with us please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Last night saw the end of our big, annual Christmas auction. A special two-week extended auction that usually features some of the best bottles and prices of the year. Last night was no exception with strong results across the board.
Immediate highlights were bottles such as the 1959 Bruichladdich Cadenhead Dumpy. This series just goes from strength to strength these days but this is probably one of the rarest bottlings in the whole series and one of only two known examples of Bruichladdich distilled before they stopped peating in 1960. That it finished up at £4900 is little surprise when you consider these factors and the sheer rarity of this bottling.
Elsewhere at the top end of the sale the Macallan 1946 finished up at a very healthy £5600 and the Bowmore 1964 Fino Cask an equally healthy £4600.The Laphroaigs were on form as well with the 40 year old hitting £3300 and the 12 year old 1960s Cadenhead bottling reaching £2800. The two Brora Rare Malts bottlings finished up at £2200 and £2150 respectively, these were both the 58.7% 1972 editions, both were without boxes and had levels at the base the neck. The fact the prices on these bottlings continues to climb to the point that even examples such as these ones in middling condition will hit new highs says a lot about the continued power of rare and highly regarded whisky to command serious interest.
The same can be said of the Springbank Local Barley cask 443, another legendary bottling that is now very scarce at auction, this one finished at £2700 despite the level around the top shoulder, once again going to show just how much demand there still is for legendary liquid. One can only imagine what one with a level still in the neck would achieve…
The Karuizawas were all strong and consistent in performance if a little softer than where they were a few months ago, although the prices achieved are still far in excess of their original retail prices so they continue to be easy money for those lucky enough to have bought them at the time.
It was good to see the 1958 Glen Garioch achieve a new record of £1550, well deserved for this great and often overlooked bottling.
One of the big surprises of the night was the Bowmore Save The Children Decanter, a bespoke release for this charity from way back in 1994. The final price of £1650 goes to show the power of the completist mentality in some collectors when it comes to those ‘1 of 1’ bottlings.
Another trend apparent in this auction was the continued stagnation of Ardbeg prices, all the single casks and older bottlings performed well and consistently but perhaps the fact that there is so little of any real interest being released by Ardbeg anymore is preventing the older bottlings from doing anything other than treading water, price-wise, at auction these days. For the purely novelty versions such as the Auriverdes Gold edition, the prices are simply going down.
Other more curious results were bottlings such as the 12 year old, 100 proof Springbank from the 1990s, this bottling was without a box or even a label and yet still finished up at a remarkable £825. Another example of how desire for great whisky can drive prices a bit nuts. Next to it in the sale the Glengoyne 1972 by Malts Of Scotland hit a new high of £800, we’ve sold a few of these recently and the price just seem to go from strength to strength, once again, great whisky seems to be the key.
Another noticeable aspect of this sale was the continued strong performance of the SMWS bottlings. The 1978 Brora 61.22 achieved a very impressive £625 and the Rosebank 25.4 hit £600, this series of Rosebanks were around the £200-300 mark last year which goes to show just how far the interest in these closed Lowland distilleries has come in the space of a year.
Of the bargains in this sale the Croziet 1914 Cognac seems to stick out like a sore thumb at £250, there is a remarkable amount of great old Armagnac and Cognac out there – particularly at auction – at the moment, how long it will stay cheap is anyone’s guess but it’s probably something worth exploring if you find yourself frustrated with the increasing prices of quality drinking whisky.
Although, speaking of quality drinking whisky, there were still many very tasty bottlings around the £50-150 range that look almost like bargains when you consider their likely quality. The First Cask series is interesting in its prevalence at auction these days despite its continued cheapness. When you think of the quality of something like a 1975 Balblair and look at the price of £82.50, it seems like there are still some great drams to be had for good prices.
All in all, though this was one of the strongest auctions we’ve had in quite some time and it looks as though prices for great quality, highly desirable whiskies are going nowhere but up. We’ve always prided ourselves on the fact that our strength as an auction lies on older and rarer bottlings, so if your sitting on these sorts of bottles and would like to discuss selling, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.
For now though, happy new year and happy hunting in 2016…
At the top of the Christmas auction it’s difficult to know where to begin. The Karuizawa for the Nepal Tasting is an undoubted highlight, with only 50 bottles released this is sure to be a star bottle this sale. It is joined by several other terrific bottlings from this distillery from older vintages such as 1968 and 1976 to rarer examples such as the 1981 cask 4333 of which only 94 bottles were produced.
We have a welcome return of old favourites such as the Macallan 1946 and the Ardbeg 1976 Manager’s Choice. There’s a Laphroaig 40 year old, a Bowmore 1964 Fino cask and a pair of Black Bowmores (2nd & 3rd editions). There is a bottle of the Springbank 1966 Local Barley cask 443 – one of the first expressions in this series and one of the most sought after Springbanks ever bottled.
There’s an Ardbeg Gold Auriverdes, a 1957 Macallan Anniversary Malt, a 1972 Rare Malts Brora, an exceptionally rare 5 year old official bottling of Glenugie, a Knappogue Castle 1951, a 1957 Mortlach Cadenhead Dumpy, a 1959 Bruichladdich Cadenhead dumpy and near complete set of Flora & Fauna bottlings in one lot.
One of our favourite bottles in this sale is the return of the stunning Laphroaig 12 year old bottled in the 1960s by Cadenhead, these are now almost impossible to find and the whisky inside carries a well deserved and hefty reputation. All this only scratches the surface though, there just isn’t time to list all the myriad bottles of Port Ellen, Ardbeg, Springbank and SMWS releases.
There’s another wonderful and vast selection from the old First Cask series, there are numerous terrific old Glenfarclas, old Signatory, Berry Brothers and Douglas Laing releases, rare single casks, old, long-since discontinued official bottlings and stacks of great budget drinking drams. There’s nothing short of an incredible selection of bottles up for grabs so you’ll almost certainly find something to suit your collection or your drinking stash in this sale.
We’ll leave it there for now, all that remains is for you to dive in, have a rummage and enjoy the Christmas Whisky auction.
Good luck and happy bidding and have a fantastic time this Chrismas and New Year. We’d like to thank everyone who has participated in our auctions this year, whether as a buyer or a seller your continued custom means we can continue to put together sales of this scope and quality.
All the best for 2016 and Slante!
The Whisky Online Auctions team