Tag Archives: Karuizawa

April Auction Highlights 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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March Auction Results 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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February Auction Results 2018

It’s not often that the highest price item in the auction isn’t whisky but this month it was a pleasing variation to see the top spot taken by a Cognac. Not just any Cognac of course; Remy Martin’s Louis XIII Rare Cask 42.6, which finished up at a cool £7100. Not entirely surprising given how fanatical some collectors – and drinkers – are about the iconic Louis XIII bottlings. This was a rare chance to snap one up outside retail so, even without its original box, it still performed impressively.

Hard on its heels was the Glenury Royal 1953 50 year old from the 2003 Special Releases which finished up at £5800. An impressive price but down from its previous best with us last October when it fetched £8100. Is this a sign of the market cooling off for these higher end bottlings, or simply that this particular bottling has increased in supply on the secondary market over the past few months. One thing is for sure, it’s a good lesson in being smart with your timing of when you buy – especially if it can mean the difference of a few thousand pounds. Also of note was that there were two of these bottles in this sale and the one with the low level hit £4100 – still an impressive price considering there had been quite some evaporation but consistent with how filling levels determine a bottle’s value.

The noise and heat around Karuizawa seems to have eased off a little in recent months but the two Emerald Geisha bottlings were a timely reminder of the desire that still exists amongst collectors. Cask 8518 and 8908 finished up at £5050 and £5100 respectively, a strong performance for both.

The Highland Park 1958 40 year old continued to perform well with this latest bottle hitting £4200. It seems like not so long ago that these could be snapped up for £1500, I fully expect this bottling to only increase further in price over the next few years. As knowledge about the quality of the liquid proliferates these kinds of older Highland Parks will only gain in value.

Speaking of gaining in value… perhaps the standout examples were the two Laphroaig 10 year olds from the 1970s. These kinds of old style tropical fruit driven Islay whiskies (primarily Laphroaig and Bowmore) are getting more and more attention these days. The Mario Rossi import is a rare one but given the lower fill level and the label condition, the fact it sold for £2600 is rather jaw dropping. The 1970s UK version at £2350 was similarly impressive. These sorts of results just emphasise once again how quality of liquid from certain distilleries is become such a potent driving force of price on the secondary market. People know now that these sorts of flavours just aren’t produced anymore. How long before some distiller decides to actually do the smart thing and spend a bit of time, effort and money making this style of whisky again…? Looking at these bottle prices I know what I’d be doing if I had a distillery…

Other interesting higher end results were the Glen Garioch 1972 for Oddbins hitting £1750, an amazing whisky and not a big surprise. Neither were the two official 1968 single casks selling for £1450 each. These older Glen Garioch’s, again, are all about this lost, incredible peaty style of distillate. A similarly illuminating result was an extremely rare sherried Glenugie 12 year old bottled for R & I Neish of Peterhead at £1700. These kinds of bottles turn up once in a blue moon and the fact it’s from such a cult distillery as Glenugie means there is inevitably a fight when they do.

The 2005 Brora 30 performed well at £1050. I suspect these older releases of Brora will continue their slow and steady march onwards in price over the coming year. It’s also interesting looking at this point in the auction as Lagavulin 1985 21 year old, Springbank 1965 Everest and Glenfarclas 1954-2000 all hit £1050. A kind of emblematic, four figure price point for three rather disparate but brilliant whiskies that gives a further sense of how quality is what is valued, no matter the actual style of flavour profile.

Moving down the auction some solid results for interesting bottles can be seen. £825 for an old 1970s 100 proof Clynelish; £925 for an OB Macallan 10 year old 100 proof; an impressive £725 for a Dailuaine Flora & Fauna cask strength; and £775 for a 1966 25 year old decanter bottling of Ben Nevis. The Highland Park 1973 cask 11167 for Oddbins was up at £725 – a sign these bottles are steadily rising as well. The same with the Balblair 1966 at £700, a deservedly legendary dram which will probably be hitting four figures quite soon.

Perhaps an inverse surprise was the Ardbeg Special Air service bottle. This is the sort of thing which would normally send collectors into a bit of a spin, but £625 does seem slightly  on the low side for such a bottling.

Going further down there were some good results for more recent bottlings. The Laphroaig 1987 30 year old by Douglas Laing and the Longmorn 1987 17 year old cask strength edition both hit a very healthy £410.

In terms of bargains they were, once again, a little thin on the ground unsurprisingly. Although overall prices were perhaps showing signs of softening a little after some eye-watering high results over recent months. Good buys were the Glenlivet 21 year old official decanter bottling for the USA at £270. A 1952 – 1977 Hine Cognac for £235. Also, a Gordon & MacPhail 1966 Balblair and a Glen’s Extra 8 year old 1970s Springbank for £205 a piece were both something of a steal.

By and large though it was an interesting, slightly quieter sale with a broad and pretty varied selection of bottles. One that possibly indicated either a slight cooling off of recent madness, or simply a little seasonal lull. However, for the right bottles as ever, prices remain comfortably crazy.

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November Auction Highlights 2017

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If anyone is looking to have their own bottling, we have a very solid and very drinkable 20-year-old Arran in our November sale. It shows the delights of whiskies which reach naturally low cask strengths at often surprising speeds. Obviously the buyer of this cask should seek to have it bottled within a year, as this is really at its peak and any prolonged ageing could run the risk of dipping below 40%. However, as things stand, this is a very easy and delicious Arran. • Follow for full tasting notes •

This month’s auction features an impressive collection of over 50 Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottlings. The collection was acquired by a Society member from 1990 – 1995 and includes many fine examples we’ve never auctioned before, along with those we may not of seen for some time. Ones to look out for include a 1972 Lomond: Lomond sat on the Dumbarton complex from 1956 – 1985 where it produced only to contribute to blends such as Ballantine’s and almost 0% for single malt bottlings. The only two casks of Lomond ever bottled as a single malt are by the SMWS. Making 98.1 not only one of the rarest SMWS bottlings but one of the rarest Scottish single malt distillates in existence. Other eye-catching examples are a 1979 Rosebank matured in a first-fill Oloroso cask, which is quite unusual for a Lowland whisky. Neighbouring distilleries Balvenie & Glenfiddich make a very rare appearance with a 1979 40.4 and an immensely intriguing 1978 15.6. Not directly part of the collection but avalible in this sale are Yoichi point 1,2,3 & 4 and last but no means least a 1979 Glenlochy Distributed by: Eurodivins S.A Guests Paris that almost seems not to exist.

Bona-fided highlights have to be the Macallan 50-year-old Millennium & the Springbank Millennium set. We’ve not seen the Macallan Millennium since early 2015 and there’s no surprise why as it’s amongst a handful of bottlings that standout as not only one of the greatest Macallans ever bottled but amongst the greatest whiskies ever bottled. A real crowning glory of a whisky. The Springbank Millennium set is just a masterclass of whiskies that will take you through a wonderful era of distillation. The set consists of six whiskies bottled between 1998 & 2001 and range from 25-year-old to 50-year-old.

If there’s any PLOWED nutters out there you will be pleased to see we have the 1972 Brorageddon & its younger sibling Ardbeggeddon. These were bottled as single casks by Douglas Laing where the majority were sold through The Whisky Shop. These exceptional casks were selected by a bunch of American connoisseurs and whisky nuts called the ‘PLOWED’ society and for good reason have garnered a reputation not only for the quirky names but for the sheer quality of the liquid inside. These rarely see the light of auction due to the amount of bottles released and the fact many have now been consumed

Then we have three magical 1964 Bowmore – The Black is a second release bottled for the US market whilst the White & Gold are UK bottlings. These will be Lotted up as single items. Among all these incredible whiskies you will also find multiple 40-year-olds from distilleries such as Dalmore & Bruichladdich. Bags full of Macallan as far back as the 1950s. All sorts of official bottlings from the 1970s1980s & 1990s. The usual raft from the Syndicate that are slowly drying up and a plethora of well aged independent bottlings. Those into their old blends will be pleased with the excellent selection avalible dating back to the early 20th century that make for memorable drinking experiences. If you’re looking for presents or drinking stock for Christmas this auction is going to be your last opportunity as the cut off date for shipping is going to be early/mid December; please bear in mind once the auction has closed, parcels will be shipped out in order of payment received.

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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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

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March Auction Results 2017

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

March Auction Records

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

Karuizawa 1964 - 48 Year Old

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

March Auction Highlights

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April Auction Highlights

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Whisky Online Auctions team

Auction Highlights

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January Whisky Auction Results

Undoubtedly the most fascinating aspect of our most recent auction was the rather beautiful collection of SMWS bottles up for grabs.

This is the second fairly sizeable collection of SMWS bottlings we’ve uncovered over the years – the last one being back in our Christmas sale in 2013/2014. So, almost exactly two years later, it’s interesting to see how the appetite for old SMWS bottlings remains potent and undimmed. A slew of record prices were achieved and there was fierce bidding competition throughout the whole sale, not just during the last hour of the auction.

SMWS Highlights

The understandable highlights were the Brora 1976 61.1, the Ardbeg 1975 33.2 and the Lomond 1972 98.1. The last time we sold the Brora 61.1 was in our December 2014 sale, back then it fetched a healthy £1400. This time its price doubled to a remarkable £2800, this is quite impressive when you consider that the bottle was available on a retail site for £2750, once you include the buyer fees that takes it to £3276, that’s over £500 more than the retail price. This just goes to show the power that auctions hold when two very determined buyers end up slugging it out over a bottle they both desperately want.

Likewise the Ardbeg 33.2 sold for an impressive £2450, despite a poor condition label, once again proving that the value of so many of these older SMWS bottlings is very much in the number and the liquid. It also says a lot about the sheer scarcity of early SMWS Ardbeg bottlings.

The Lomond 1972 98.1 sold for £1800, perhaps slightly more predictable when you consider this is one of just two extant bottlings of this hyper-scarce single malt – both of which have been bottled by the SMWS. It was still another record price of this bottling though.

Karuizawa 1984 - 28 Year Old - SMWS 132.1 - Graph
Karuizawa 1984 – 28 Year Old – SMWS 132.1 – Bottle Performance (January 2014 – February 2016)

Despite the general slump in Karuizawa prices at the moment the Japanese SMWS bottlings showed remarkable buoyancy as well with some serious new records being achieved. The Karuizawa 132.1 hit £1450, the Yamazaki 119.1 £1400, the Yoichi 116.1 £1100 and the Hakushu 120.1 £1050. Another impressive result was the Laphroaig 1975 29.3 at £1000, this is doubly impressive when you consider that two of these bottles sold in one lot at Bonhams back in 2013 for £1000, and that price includes their rather hefty commission. The Lagavulin 1980 111.1 – another greatly sought after rarity – was also impressive with a final hammer price of £925.

Further down the auction, other SMWS.1 editions achieved impressive new records. St Magdalene 1975 49.1: £825. Banff 1978 67.1: £700. Glenugie 1978 99.1: £625. Old Fettercairn 1969 94.1: £625. Glenlochy 1976 62.1: £600. All in all, a super successful sale for old SMWS bottlings, the demand for these is huge at the moment so if you are sitting on a stash of old SMWS bottlings then it may well be worth getting in touch…

Elsewhere in the auction there were plenty other juicy results. A pair of 1981 18 year old Macallans hit an impressive £600 each, a pair of Macallan 30 year old Fine Oaks fetched £1250 each and a Glen Grant 1949 went for £775, further evidence of the increased interest in these wonderful old G&M vintage malts.

Elements of Islay

Perhaps some of the most astonishing results were for the Elements of Islay series, the Kilchoman sold for £430 and the Bunnahabhain sold for a fantastic £700! These were not expensive bottles upon release and there were not particularly limited either. It’s unlikely those kinds of prices are sustainable but it does go to show, if you’ve got bottles from a collectable series that haven’t seen auction for quite some time, selling one can sometimes yield an incredible return. Once again, probably worth having a rummage at home…

All in all this was an exciting and fascinating auction that provided an excellent barometer of market demand for rare and high quality old whisky – especially those bottlings from the SMWS. Unlike a lot of other bottlings a sizeable proportion of bottlings in this sale were bottles that haven’t seen auction for a long time. The resulting high prices and consistent competition throughout the week of the sale show that – for the right bottles – there continues to be significant market demand.

 


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Annual Extended Christmas Auction – Results

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas auction Highlights


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