Tag Archives: Port Ellen

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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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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January Auction Results 2018

Every time you think these bonded casks can’t surprise you, they go right ahead and surprise you. The 1989 hogshead of Macallan in our latest auction finished up at an eye-watering £242,200. That’s the equivalent of £942 per bottle, and that’s without duty and bottling costs added on. This is the kind of price that independent bottlers and brokers just aren’t able (or willing) to pay, going to show that, if you have these sorts of casks, auction is the place for them. Looking at the constancy of the results for these bonded casks it seems the level of demand is only solidifying. Never mind investing in bottles, it looks like the smart money was on casks…

Macallan-1989-Cask-1248

Back to reality (sort of) and it seems like Macallan once again dominated the other top spots in this auction. The 1946 and the 40 year old for Duty Free both performed impressively at £13,200 and £12,600 respectively. Although, for my money, the 1945 Speymalt by Gordon & MacPhail is a better buy at £11,100 from a liquid perspective. This 70 year old, and its 68 year old sibling, were sold for what seems like a remarkably cheap £4000 back when they were released. Considering this bottling is the oldest Macallan ever released and is, reportedly, a extremely find dram to boot, this looks like a good buy.

The other top end bottles seemed to be broadly consistent this sale. Ardbeg Manager’s Choice at £2900, Talisker 1957 £2600 and Michter’s 25 year old Rye for £2900 were all solid results. The appetite for old Laphroaig continued unabated with the 10 year old from the late 1970s fetching an impressive £1450. These kinds of tropical old style Islay whiskies are clearly attracting serious and broader interest, someone should really make this style of whisky again.

Also interesting, and impressive, was the Dailuaine 1966 31 year old Cadenhead bottling at £1250. This is a terrific whisky, however it’s a high price for this bottling. It may be a spike or, equally likely, we might be about to see all these older Cadenhead releases begin trading at this level. Other strong and notable results around the four figure region were the Berry Brother’s 1968 Talisker – a deliciously dark and inviting dram – hitting a nice round £1000. The Macallan Special Reserve at £825 was also an impressive result for a bottling which tended to lag behind other limited official Macallans for quite some time.

The Highland Park 1967 Duncan Taylor at £625, Glendronach 1975 Ian MacLeod at £625, Springbank 21 year old at £600 and the Glen Grant Moray Bonding 10 year old at £575 all represented bottlings which were trading around the £300 mark not so long ago. All perfect examples of how quality liquid is getting more desirable and increasing in value across the board irrespective of distillery.

 

The two Bruichladdich 1970 Valinches at £500 and £525 respectively further display an increasing interest in aged Bruichladdich in the market more generally. Nice to see these terrific and rather unique old drams getting a bit more attention. Conversely the Lagavulin Syndicate 11 and 13 year old bottlings seemed to settle down to the £500 range this sale, perhaps going to show that as supply of these rarities continues the price is starting to soften accordingly.

Another trend that I’ve noticed in recent months is that bottlings which used to be relatively unknown, or could be considered safe bargains in most sales, are now broadly known about and tend to perform well in any auction. Examples would be bottlings such as the Springbank 8 year old under the Glen’s label for £320 and the Alex Ferguson 1940s blend for £360. Both fair prices for these whiskies but far more representative of their quality than recent results were. A sad time for those of use who like to hunt out lesser known delicious old drams. Good times for anyone selling.

There were, however, a few good bargains for keen eyed buyers this sale. Which in some ways is a refreshing buck of the trend from most recent sales. The Ardbeg 1974 – 1996 Connoisseur’s Choice was something of a steal at £290. As was the Glenlochy 1974 Connoisseur’s Choice for £280. The Mortlach 21 year old from the 1980s also still looks like good value considering the quality of the liquid at £250. While a Laphroaig 10 year old from the late 1980s for £235 is about the best price you’ll pay for old style tropical Laphroaig these days. Similarly the Lagavulin 16 year old White Horse 75cl for £185 was a very good price considering the recent heat around these bottlings.

By and large though, this was another sale full of consistent and top end prices with bargains few and far between. Oh to be in the 1990s again as a buyer! Anyway, a buoyant market means more whisky being brought up for sale and more interesting bottles being discovered. Happy days! Until next time…

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December Auction Results 2017

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

Old Oban Whisky Circa 1900

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

 

 

 

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

 

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December Auction Highlights 2017

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Old Oban Whisky Circa 1900

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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November Auction Results 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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September Auction Highlights 2017

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It seems that the impressive recent results for casks of whisky still held in bond in our previous sales have unearthed some more tantalising examples for auction. Another pair of Macallan 1994 ex-sherry hogsheads and – intriguingly – a 1990 barrel of Littlemill. To see a name as sought after as Macallan come up for sale is always exciting, but a cask of whisky from a closed distillery adds an extra layer of intrigue to the sale.
Casks-in-bond - Auction

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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July 2017 Auction Results

Top three Auction Results July 2017

There are two very interesting results at the top end of this month’s auction. Firstly we learn that the market value for that Ardbeg 1974 is £15,100. This bottling has changed hands privately a few times but this was the first time in a long while that it had been seen at auction. Understandably, given that there are – or were – only 36 bottles in existence, it finished up at a whopping five figure sum, by far the most expensive bottle of Ardbeg sold at auction.

Secondly, it was interesting to see the result of the cask of Port Charlotte 2004 which finished up at £9300. A solid and impressive result but also perhaps much more in line with regular market prices for bonded mature stocks – especially after the extremes of last month’s two 1993 Macallans. This was a terrific cask of Port Charlotte so, whoever bought it, can expect a pretty great bottling from it when the time comes.

Auction Results - Brora 1972 Rare Malts

Other notable examples from the upper end of the sale were the Macallan 40-year-old 2016 release at £7300 – an impressive climb from its initial retail price. There was also an interesting disparity between the three bottles of Brora 1972 Rare Malts. Each was the ever so slightly more common 58.7% version. They finished up at £5900, £3300 and £3000 respectively, interestingly enough the descending prices matched the filling levels in each bottle. You might argue that this is three bottles in one sale having an overall effect on pricing but I doubt that the price – fill level correspondence is coincidental. The fact that the only bottle with the fill level well into the neck fetched a whopping £5900 – almost double the cheapest bottle – says a lot about the power of the fill level in these kinds of bottlings.

Another rather telling result was the Cadenhead Dumpy 1965 Clynelish which fetched £4700. It seems that almost all great old whiskies such as this one are now hovering around the £5000 mark or higher.

The Macallan 30-year-old blue box hit an impressive £4100, it’s looking increasingly likely that this bottle’s new trading level is set to remain above the £4000 mark from here on out. Similarly, the Port Ellen festival cask bottling finishing at £3400 suggests this bottling is unlikely to be picked up for anything below the £3000 mark anytime soon. The Ardbeg 1815 edition fetched £3300 which goes to show that if you set a bottle’s initial retail price on the high side then it’s often a slow burn at auction before it starts to climb higher.

Back to Macallan and the old 18-year-olds just seem to be going from height to heigh with the 1967 vintage fetching a whopping  £2400 and the 1971 £2100. Add to that the fact that even the Diamond Jubilee release is now hitting £2350 and the 1980 Gran Reserva at £2100 and you start to wonder if there will soon be any older limited edition Macallans available below the £2000 mark?

Browsing through the rest of the upper end of the sale the Laphroaig 1967 27-year-old First Cask edition jumps out at £2050. Like almost all 1960s Laphroaigs now, these bottlings are fought over more and more keenly each time they turn up at auction. Understandable given the almost otherworldly brilliance of the liquid. Speaking of brilliant liquid, other similar results were the Talisker 100 proof NAS bottling for £1350, the 1977 Brora Douglas Laing for £1300 and the Laphroaig Cairdeas 30-year-old for £1000. All terrific drams with solid results driven by the sheer desirability of the liquid.

Glenmorangie 30-year-old looks to go from strength to strength with the Oloroso version selling for an impressive £1300. Similarly, the Bunnahabhain 1965 nudged past the four figure mark to a healthy £1050; nice to see these old Bunna bottlings getting the attention they deserve. Likewise, the 34-year-old Bunnahabhain fetched a solid £725 as well.

Another whisky which is gaining increasing attention at auction is Ledaig 1972, this vintage has long been well regarded and more and more people are now cottoning on with the Connoisseur’s Choice bottling fetching £750. Not to mention the Douglas Murdoch 20-year-old Ledaig hitting an eye-catching £625 – not so long ago this bottling could be scooped up for £150-200.

Moving further down the sale some other solid results were the Clynelish Flora & Fauna 1982 Cask Strength bottling for £430. The Campbell & Clark 1969 Glen Mhor for £400, these have always been some of the best Glen Mhor bottlings and it’s nice to finally see them moving on from the £200-250 range. After this, we tend to get into more familiar territory where everything seems to be hitting the upper end of its natural market value. It seems genuine bargains are increasingly a thing of the past at whisky auctions as more and more new buyers emerge and educate themselves on old and rare whiskies.

A 12-year-old 1980s ceramic flagon of Springbank for £130 looks like something of a steal considering how terrific these old Springbanks can be. Similarly, a 16-year-old White Horse Lagavulin at £125 looks pretty good considering most have been around the £160 mark lately. And of course, a Speyburn 1974 Connoisseur’s Choice for £82.50 is a pretty serious bargain too! But beyond this, the thing that strikes most is more surprise at just how much some bottles have climbed during the past year. Even types of whiskies such as old blends that would once have been around the £40 mark and heading up towards three figures. One thing is for sure, interest in whisky, be it old and rare, modern or unusual, is only going from strength to strength.

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February Whisky Auction Results

Our latest auction featured some particularly impressive prices for old and rare bottlings showing the increasing demand for these kinds of bottles. One of the most striking was the Brora 1972 22 year old Rare Malts, a bottling which seems to be setting a new record event time it comes to auction. It finished up at a whopping £4400, that’s way over and above its previous best of £3200 in our auction last year. It seems demand for the Rare Malts Broras is pretty much unquenchable right now.

Brora 1972 - 22 Year Old - Rare Malts

The showpiece of the auction was undoubtedly the Port Ellen 12 year old Queen’s Visit. Its previous best at auction was £7600 back in 2013, it was also available for just over £9000 at retail until last year when one was opened on Islay and fetched 99/100 on Whiskyfun. That the first bottle to appear on the secondary market since that occasion should fetch £12,100 – a record not only for this bottle but also the highest price for any Port Ellen at auction – says a lot about the power of Serge Valentin’s scores and the desire for truly incredible liquid.

Port Ellen 12 Year Old - Queens Visit - 1980

On the subject of truly incredible liquid other notable results were the Ardbeg 1972 Signatory cask 3444, even with a thoroughly damaged and re-attached label this incredible dram still fetched a mighty £1850. Once again hammering home the point that these incredible old examples of amazing whisky will fetch great prices – often irrespective of their outwards condition. Similarly the Ardbeg 1965 Sestante and the Ardbeg 1966 SMWS both fetched strong prices at £1500 and £1600 respectively. These are simply packaged, unassuming bottles that just happen to contain some of the most incredible drams ever made. It all goes to show that if you’re looking to ‘invest’ in whisky, you could do a lot worse than seek out and buy terrific drinking whiskies. As long as people have money they’re always going to want to possess and consume these great bottles – it’s one of the best ways of retaining value. Further evidence lies in the Laphroaig 10 year old from the late 1970s, these were around the £200 mark not so long ago, the one in our latest sale hit £675 – despite a lack of box and an imperfect filling level. It’s just incredible whisky, which is something people are increasingly willing to pay for.

Ardbeg Auction Performances

Once again with legendary liquid the Springbank Local Barleys continue their ever northwards march, the 1966 cask 490 fetched a sturdy £1300, the Mortlach 1936 43 year old Connoisseur’s Choice fetched £1050 and the Longbow 1974 18 year old finished up at £875. These are all consistent, upward, strong performances for bottles that could be obtained for considerably less up until fairly recently. It was a strong sale all round for Springbank. The 21 year old from the 1980s – usually appearing on its own or with a cardboard box and selling for £300-400 – sold for an impressive £850. This bottle was one of the earliest examples in this presentation, in great condition, had its original wooden box and a perfect filling level. That combination is so rarely seen the high price is understandable.

Moving towards collectables again through there is still strong demand for the aged, fully sherry matured, official Macallans. The 1957 Anniversary Malt fetched £2050, the Gran Reserva 1979 was back up at £1000 and a 1967 18 year old and a 25 year old Anniversary Malt both fetched £925 – despite both being boxless. It seems there is an increasing polarisation between old school, ‘classic era’ Macallan and the more mundane modern releases. Again it is another example of the fact that if the whisky itself is great, it is far more likely to ignite desire and a little passion in those seeking it.

Despite some slight softening of prices for the likes of Hanyu and Karuizawa, Japanese whiskies still continue to perform extremely well. The 2013 Yamazaki sherry cask hit a remarkably daft £1800 and the rather seductive looking 1990 Yamazaki single cask made an impressive £1650. From the SMWS there was the 1979 Yamazaki 119.2 which also finished up quite healthily at £925.

Elsewhere from the SMWS there were more very impressive results. The Glenfarclas 1963 1.96 in particular went way over it’s £300-400 estimate to land on a muscular £725 hammer price. The appetite for juicy old, super dark, sherried Glenfarclas seems to be going nowhere but up at the moment. Other interesting SMWS results were the Inchgower 1966 18.19 at £400, the Ben Nevis 1984 78.16 at £230 and the Longhorn 7.36 38 Year Old at £410. It seems any older, intriguingly dark drams from the SMWS will always attract some serious curiosity.

As with all our sales there were many bargains but there was little evidence in this sale of anything really underperforming. Overall it was pretty much a story of consistency and gentle upward movement. Another sale which hits home the fact that the right bottles will soar, while speculation becomes increasingly fraught and tricky as that side of the secondary market gets ever more crowded with bottle flippers.

Until next time…

 


 

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