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OCTOBER AUCTION RESULTS 2018

October whisky auction results

Another raft of impressive prices were realised in our latest auction. The top item was, as expected, the cask of 1989 Macallan which fetched £90,100 – slightly higher than recent similar Macallan casks suggesting they may well be on the rise again as appetite remains undimmed. Perhaps more tellingly was the full set of Millennium Springbanks which hit £21,100, a record for this set by some distance. Given the way, prices have been going for older Springbanks recently this is hardly surprising. Hard to believe you could pick up a complete set for under £6000 a couple of years ago.

A second edition Black Bowmore was similarly impressive at £13,100. Although, given the track record of this series in recent times, these kinds of results are no longer that surprising. Neither was the £8400 paid for the Sherriff’s Bowmore 8-year-old pear-shaped. A stunning whisky of legendary repute which explains the serious prices people are clearly willing to pay for such a whisky. These kinds of bottles will likely never be cheaper again given their scarcity.

Sherriss's Bowmore

The upper end of the auction

In fact, the whole upper end of the auction was a string of examples of these kinds of serious yet unsurprising prices for remarkable bottles. The UK version of the famed Samaroli Springbank 12-year-old at £10,100 is another perfect example. As is the Jura 1964 Cadenhead Dumpy for £3300. It seems these days that any bottle of seriously perceived whisky that rarely sees the secondary market is bound to fetch a hefty four-figure sum minimum. With many increasingly entering the five-figure range – some jumping there with rather staggering speed in recent months.

Of course, it isn’t only malts that impress. Famous blended brands such as the Islay Mist also do exceptionally well whenever they turn up – the 1950s bottling at £3600 being a particularly rare and pristine example. Given the repute of these whiskies, I’d almost say this price was on the soft side but it’s probably best not to start getting into the mindset of £3600 for a bottle of whisky being cheap.

The Macallans were all as you might expect price wise, as was the 1970s Laphroaig 10-year-old at £2150. Perhaps more interesting was the Ardbeg Provenance at £2250. It has taken a slow and winding time for the Provenances to reach this price point and they do seem slightly out of kilter with the more expensive sibling Ardbeg bottlings from the late 1990s. Given the quality of the Provenance whiskies, I wonder if they aren’t going to jump up another level in price within the next six months or so?

One of the most beautiful bottles in the sale was no doubt the Old Pulteney bottled by Cadenhead in the 1960s at 85 proof. A stunning and rarely seen whisky, this one is one of a few of this bottling that have found their way to market over the past year or so which explains it’s slightly softer £1800 result. However, this is still an impressive price which demonstrates the demand for older bottlings from the famous bottlers such as Cadenhead. Especially unusual ones such as this Pulteney.

Old Pulteney Cadenheads

The Lagavulin Syndicate 38-year-olds are all holding well at £1550. Once the initial supply of these bottles to the market has dried up I suspect the price of this one will start to climb fairly significantly. Something of a surprise at the same price tag was the Littlemill 1964 32-year-old distillery bottling from the 1990s. No doubt the recent uptick in interest for Littlemill and other closed distilleries, in general, helped this one along its way.

Demand for older Gordon & MacPhail bottlings also appears to remain undimmed with the Talisker 1967 100 Proof and the Highland Park St Magnus fetching £1550 and £1500 respectively. These are hefty prices, but given the great filling levels, general condition of the bottles and stunning reputations of the whiskies, these seem like fair prices for these whiskies in today’s market. If you can afford to bid at these price levels I think these are no-brainer bottles to go for.

Talisker 1967 100 proof Highland Park St Magnus Label

 

Results around the £1,000

Other notable results around the £1000 mark were the 1966 Macallan Speymalt by Gordon & MacPhail at £1300. A strong result for this bottling and maybe a sign of higher interest in Speymalt series – an inevitability given their repute, content and the price of similarly aged official Macallans.

There was the Laphroaig 1968 Hart Brothers at £1250, the Ardbeg 1974 Signatory at £1300 and the Springbank 1979 Cadenhead white label at £1150. All of which were strong results for these particular bottlings.

Going down through the middle of the sale stand out results include the Signatory 1974 Bowmore at £825, the Glendronach 1960 23-year-old Connoisseur’s Choice at £825 and the Glen Garioch 1970 27-year-old single cask for £825. All of which are something of a climb on recent results for these bottlings.

The Lagavulin 1984 – 1995 SMWS 111.3 bottling at £800 also demonstrates just how powerful the combination of a big name distillery and a rarely seen SMWS bottle number can be. A similar whisky of that age and vintage from another bottler wouldn’t have climbed that high. Just as a 1960s bottle of Jameson Crested Ten Irish Whiskey at £725 demonstrated that demand for older Irish Whiskeys is starting to increase significantly. No doubt the surge of excellent older bottlings on the market, coupled with increased global interest and many new distilleries starting up is fuelling new collector interest.

Lagavulin SMWS 111.3 Jameson Crested Ten

Even in today’s market Macallan can continue to surprise. A pair of standard 1990’s 10-year-olds at £575 apiece seems eye-wateringly daft. Especially when there’s a Highland Park 1973 SMWS 4.87 just beneath it for £525.

All in all, this was a strong sale with a wide spread of excellent bottles – quite a few of them scarcely seen in today’s secondary market. As a result, prices were pretty high across the board. Even for bottlings, you might not think much of on the face of it. For example, a 1978 21-year-old Glenlossie at £310 seems pretty steep. But this just demonstrates the breadth of the buying audience that exists around the world for good old malt whiskies these days. It doesn’t look as if things are going to change anytime soon. Until next time.

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SEPTEMBER AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS 2018

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Macallan 65-year-old in Lalique

After over 10 years since the first release of the 50-year-old back in 2006, the collaboration with Macallan & Lalique has come a long way. This Macallan 65-year-old is the final release in the series and completes the Six Pillars collection. At the time of its release in 2016, this was one of the oldest and rarest whiskies the distillery had to boast. Drawn from ex-Sherry casks we can only imagine the flavours such whisky has to offer.  Lalique’s contribution was inspired by Rene Lalique’s legacy, Marc Larminaux. The design is based around a single peerless drop of The Macallan. These were limited to 450 Worldwide.

Bowmore 1964 Fino Sherry Cask

Part of a legendary trilogy of different wood matured 1964 Bowmore’s. This, along with pretty much any Bowmore distilled in 1964 is regarded among the best whisky ever bottled. A stunning bottling and an absolutely exquisite whisky.

Cask Held In Bond

We have yet another Tobermory cask up for auction in this sale.  This is a really excellent, characterful Tobermory. Devoid of any of this distillery’s usual problematic cardboard or overly mashy or grainy notes. This is lean, medical, muscular and well-defined. The kind of cask which is. Continue reading »

Managers Drams

We have a haul of Managers Drams in this sale ranging from the Cardhu bottled in 1998  through to the Knockando bottled 2012.

This series is becoming harder and harder to obtain due to the fact they’re highly collectable and particularly very good quality. As more and more realise how good these whiskies are, the prices will only continue to climb as we’ve seen in the last several months.

Ones to look out for that I’ve tried amongst this bunch include the Cardhu bottled at a hefty 63% and quite easily the two Oban’s. Particularly the 16-year-old sherry cask bottled for the distilleries Bicentenary. This one tops the Cardhu with a strength of 64% but does not need interfering with any water whatsoever.

Rare Malts Selection

Joining the Managers Drams is another pinnacle series under the house of Diageo. The Rare Malts Selection. First launched back in 1995 to champion their rare stock – interestingly it was not just to showcase long aged whiskies but instead to display each distilleries best qualities in their natural form. In this sale, you will find a small selection of some of the more desirable examples. Including a 1970 St Magdalene 58.1%, a 1971 Glenury Royal 61.3%, a 1971 Hillside 62.0%, and a 1973 Cardhu 60.5% – this is one of the hardest to find strength variants in the Rare Malts series and hardly ever turns up in auction. And finally a 1975 Brora 54.9% & 1982 58.1%.

First Ever Bottling Of Distillery 111
Scotch Malt Whisky Society

From the Archives. The distillery stands close to the ruins of Dunyvaig castle, once the stronghold of the Lord of the Isles. Here is a great opportunity to see just how different the cask makes in the flavour of mature whisky.

Wetsuits and burnt toast
This whisky is quite different from the next one. It has spent the last 15 years in a first-fill, Spanish oak dry-oloroso butt. Its colour is that of old Madeira (or polished mahogany). The neat nose is redolent of sherry, with some soap flakes and fudge. With water an extraordinary scent of neoprene (the stuff wetsuits are made of) is first noted, then a trace of marzipan, exotic smoke, caramelised sugar heather stalks, sea tangle, burnt toast. Winter smells. Great with smoked salmon, or upon retiring from a walk.

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

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April Auction Highlights 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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March Auction Highlights 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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December Auction Results 2017

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

Old Oban Whisky Circa 1900

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

 

 

 

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

 

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November Auction Results 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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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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September Auction – Full Casks Held in Bond – Tasting Notes

It has been quite remarkable seeing the results that these bonded casks of mature whisky – in particular Macallan – have achieved over the past few sales. So, we’re pleased to be able to offer the final two ex-sherry hogsheads of Macallan from this parcel of stock in our latest auction. The character of the whisky in both is of exemplary quality and both casks exhibit great maturation with at least a further decade of ageing potential ahead of them. Similarly, they are joined by an unusually characterful barrel of 2006 Tullibardine which shows a remarkably complex sweetness. This will no doubt be a more affordable cask for anyone looking for something interesting as a future bottle share with friends or something special as a bit of fun or an investment for themselves. Like the Macallans, it already exhibits good maturity and should continue to improve for at least another five years.

 

Macallan 1995 – Cask 7738: Refill Hogshead – 58.00% ABV – Approximately 205 Bottles

Nose: Beautifully earthy and fragrant. Full of moss, ferns, all kinds of dried herbs, pumpernickel bread, wet leaves and mushroom powder. A cooling coal hearth, a touch of strawberry liqueur, some hessian and dunnage warehouse and a dusting of cocoa powder. Beautifully integrated sherry and distillate.

Palate: Big, a little sharp at first, and full of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon powder, cloves and various other mulling spices. Some cured meats, freshly baked brown bread, black olives, sage, rosemary and gorse flowers. A touch of desiccated cocoanut and muesli comes through as well. Some more meaty notes in the form of bovril and beef stock.

Finish: Long, earthy, meaty and full of dark fruits and warming spices. Quite a layered finish ending up on a long chocolatey fade.

Comments: Another blinding good mid-aged Macallan. Again, this could easily sail to 30 years of age without too much trouble it would appear. One that will certainly reward a little patience in the bond.

Macallan 1995 – Cask 7739: Refill Hogshead – 60.00% ABV – Approximately 236 Bottles

Colour: Gold.

Nose: A rather elegant, plush and fatty nose at first. Notes of wax, wood resin, camphor and furniture oil give way to greener and lusher fruit notes and floral scents such as geranium, rosehip and Turkish Delight. There are some notes of dried rosemary, motor oil, pistachio nuts and a background note of mint.

Mouth: A big oily delivery full of spice, seville orange marmalade, fruit compotes, some traces of tar resin, pine cones and orange cocktail bitters. Notes of turmeric, greengages, lamp oil, hessian, clove rock and madeira cake. Quite rich, oily and intense.

Finish: Lengthy and with more of these polished wood, oil and dark, preserved fruit qualities. Quite spicy towards the end and with a lingering leathery note.

Comments: This is a big and relatively uncompromising example of Macallan, already showing good maturity at around 22 years of age. However, I feel it has great potential and could go to 30 years or more quite easily. A good one to sit on if you have the patience.

Tullibardine 2006 – Cask 806: Bourbon Barrel – 57.09% ABV – Approximately 219 Bottles

 

Colour: Gold

Nose: A warm butterscotch arises at first. Followed by subtle notes of treacle, soft toffee, vanilla ice cream, some wood shavings and candy floss. Quite a confectionary nose this one, but cleanly and vibrantly so. Time reveals some more farmyard touches of wet hay, damp sack cloth and various oils and industrial aspects. Quite straightforwardly ‘highlands’ in style.

Palate: The strength is surprisingly shy at first which is a good sign. This has pink grapefruit, foam shrimp sweets, barley sugar, red strawberry laces. A whole sweetie shop full of flavours. Red liquorice, caraway liqueur, some grassy touches perhaps hinting at a dryness peeping through. With time some nutmeg and fresh herbs emerge.

Finish: Quite long and lemony with vanilla cream, some slightly salty notes like frying pancetta and touches of grass and rosewater.

Comments: A surprisingly lively, flavoursome and idiosyncratic cask of Tullibardine. One that could be bottled now or continue up until around 15 years of age quite easily.

 

Auction Ends Wednesday 1st November From 8pm.

Any further queries please do not hesitate to ask.
Call: 01253 620 376  | Mobile: 07767 22 22 00 | Email: auctions@whisky-online.com

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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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April Auction Highlights!

Last month’s auction was all about 50-year-olds and this month’s auction continues the same theme with several more. Starting with a modern masterpiece; The Dalmore Candela 50-year-old. A vatting composed of whisky distilled in 1868, 1878, 1909, 1922, 1939 and 1951. The stock used is inspirational and from a bygone era. They have been uniquely fused together by the Master Distiller to create a powerful and fulfilling whisky. Just 77 crystal decanters were filled.
Up next and rewinding over 30 years we welcome back the original Dalmore 50-year-old from 1978. This is regarded as the best Dalmore ever bottled and probably the best 50-year-old in the world. It’s also bottled at a hefty 52% which is very unusual for such an old whisky. Only 60 hand-cut crystal decanters were produced making this one of the hardest whiskies to find.

Dalmore 50 Year Old Crystal Decanter
Dalmore 50 Year Old Crystal Decanter
Dalmore Candela - 50 Year Old
Dalmore Candela – 50 Year Old

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over to Dufftown and for the first time since 2013 we have the Glenfiddich 50-year-old; composed from 9 casks distilled in 1937 & 1939. Over 50 years later in 1990 those casks were vatted together and then returned to the cask for over a year to allow the whisky to marry. On the 26th July 1991, 500 bottles were filled. Each bottle is personally signed by Alexander Grant Gordon and presented in a bespoke wooden presentation box along with a certificate of authenticity.

Not stopping there and heading 800 yards to Balvenie and for the first time here at Whisky-Online Auctions we have the Balvenie 1937 50-year-old. Some say upon its release in 1987 this was the oldest whisky ever to be bottled and started a phenomenon for these super aged single malts.

Balvenie 1937-1987 - 50 Year Old
Balvenie 1937-1987 – 50 Year Old
Glenfiddich 50 Year Old
Glenfiddich 50 Year Old

 

 

 

 

 

 

Along with these magnificent fifties, you will find one more that’s included in the set of six Springbank Millennium Collection!

Talking of Springbank we have numerous single casks from the 1966 Local Barley series which include cask 485, 486, 487, 492. Also from Springbank, there are a few uncommon but worthy indies like a 1966 28-year-old by The Bottlers and a 1965 30-year-old for Milroy’s and in the mix a bag full of private bottlings. The excitement doesn’t stop there! We have the likes of the Laphroiag 1960 40-year-old bottled for Oddbins, the mind-blowing Brora 1972 40-year-old. A couple of Glenfiddich 40-year-olds, one from 2000 and the other from 2007. A 30-year-old Glenmorangie finished in a Malaga cask, a 1973 33-year-old Dalmore and in their own words ‘seduced by the charm of the ‘king of grapes’

Briefly, onto Islay, we have an official 1972 Bowmore under their vintage label and a 1973 Bowmore specially bottled for the 50th anniversary of the original Stanley Morrison company. Others official releases from Islay to watch out for are a 1976 Laphroaig, Port Ellen 9th release, a Single Cask Ardbeg and several vintages from 1975, 1977 & 1978.

In the mix of all these incredible whiskies, you will find two bottles of pre-war Rosebank bottled sometime in the 1960s by an obscure Edinburgh merchant Robert Stewart & Son. Although these were distilled in 1938, Rosebank was one of the few distilleries that managed to continue operating during World War 2. Along with these two wonderfully old bottles, we have another Black Bottle from around the 1930s; this bottle comes from a full case of 12 that was purchased over 30 years ago by the vendor in his local pub. Over the years he slowly drank them. I asked him if he enjoyed them and he said they were very nice with coke :O and he always thought it was peculiar they had ‘Pre-War Strength’ stated on the bottle. This particular bottle was saved and remains the last bottle from the original case.

Onto the indies and starting with G&M we have all sorts from their vintage series such as 1954, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1967 Strathisla, 1951, 1952, 1956, 1957 Glen Grant, 1938, 1950, 1955 Glenlivet, 1953, 1958, 1959 Glen Avon, 1963, 1964 Glenburgie and 1965Glen Mhor! From their Connoisseurs Choice series you will find the likes of 1965 St Magdalene, 1972 Brora, 1974 Ardbeg, 1979 Port Ellen and many more.

For Douglas Laing, there’s a couple of Port Ellen from their Old & Rare Platinum Selection and several worthy examples from their Old Malt Cask series. Scotch Malt Whisky Society is represented with a 1965 32-year-old Glen Grant, 1966 36-year-old Glenfarclas, 1978 Glenlossie, 1979 Glenburgie, 1981 Glen Mhor, 1983 Old Pulteney, 1989 Springbank and a whole host of other releases. Hart Brothers brings us several Port Ellen ranging from a very pale 1983 sherry cask to a 1975 23-year-old. Signatory Vintage offers, even more, Port Ellen along with a couple of Dallas Dhu not forgetting a 1970 20-year-old Glendronach Dun Eideann. Finally, we will finish with Murray McDavid where you will find examples such as a 1970 33-year-old Craigellachie, 1974 29-year-old Dallas Dhu, 1975 28-year-old Glen Scotia, 1977 26-year-old Glenugie, 1979 24-year-old Old Rhosdhu and last but no means least a 1983 20-year-old Clynelish.

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

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