Tag Archives: Springbank

JULY AUCTION RESULTS 2018

The last time we sold a Dalmore 50-year-old was in May 2017 when it fetched an impressive £18,600. Fifteen months later, last night, bottle number one finished up at £28,000 on the nose. At one time such a result would have been pretty staggering but it says a lot about the nature of today’s secondary market that these kinds of serious five-figure sums have become almost ubiquitous. Still, this is an impressive result no doubt and shows that whiskies of genuine and deserved legend such as the Dalmore 50 are going nowhere but up. There is in fact almost an argument that it always makes sense to buy them if you can because they will only ever be more expensive. Say this same whisky turns up again in five months time. Would it make sense to buy it for, say, £38,000 – 45,000? I would argue that it would because the year or two after you can most likely sell it for £60,000. It’s just a matter of cash flow really. Which brings us back to the reality that, at this level, whisky is very much a commodity and a rich person’s game.

Once again Macallan displayed impressive strength and consistency at the top level of the sale. £20,000 on the nose for the 1946 Fine & Rare, £4000 for the 1958 Anniversary Malt and – somewhat bewilderingly – £3600 for the Diamond Jubilee. This is the thing about Macallan, you can understand it when the whisky in question is of the stunning, old style sherried variety, it’s somewhat more bizarre when it is, essentially, a contemporary NAS single malt. Such is the power of the name.

In fact, save for two bottles, one of which was the Dalmore 50, Macallan dominated the entire top end of the sale all the way down to a Springbank 1964 Cadenhead 34-year-old at a healthy, and somewhat unsurprising, £2500. In between all that one of the most interesting, and telling, high results were for John Scott’s 1965 35-year-old Highland Park which finished up at £3300. I remember buying the 42-year-old in this series in London in 2008 for £180 and subsequently drinking it. Given the quality of the whisky in these John Scott Highland Park bottlings, it seems retrospectively obvious that they would end up at such prices.

It was good to see the Glenfarclas 105 40-year-old back, hitting a healthy £2150 after a reasonable period of absence. Similarly, the Mortlach 1936 45-year-old and MacPhail’s 1938 45-year-old both did well at £1950 and £1900 respectively.

Springbank 12-year-old 100 proof bottlings from the 1990s have sat around the £1000 mark for quite some time now, so it was interesting to see one last night finish up at £1850 – exactly the same as the 22-year-old Cadenhead dumpy Springbank. This looks like it could well represent a bump up to a new trading level for this bottle, something not underserved considering what a legendary whisky it is.

The Lagavulin Syndicate 38-year-old appears to be holding strong at £1600. Another of quite a few Springbanks in this sale, the 1969 Signatory 28-year-old, performed well at £1150. Similarly, independent Macallans are increasingly chasing their official siblings up the auction levels with three Douglas Laing 30-year-old single casks fetching £1100 and £1050 respectively.

The Ardbeg Mor 1st edition was back on strong form at £900. And the long-awaited inaugural bottling of Daftmill single malt looks like a strong future classic, trading as it is already at £625. The Ardbeg 1975 and 1977 official vintage releases at £600 and £575 respectively showed good solid growth for these old classic bottlings.

Other strong results were a 1947 White Horse for £490, although for the historic nature of this liquid this also still seems like a good price for a drinker as well. The Cragganmore 17-year-old Manager’s Dram and the Glen Elgin 16 Manager’s Dram both did well at £450 and £525 respectively. This whole series is on the upward move so it’s nice to see these two slightly underrated examples getting the attention they deserve.

Similarly, Glen Ord, another seriously underrated distillery, saw one of the best examples ever bottled fetch an impressive £410. Although, if you ask me, this still represents good value for the liquid. Old Balblairs are another area where plenty of examples were arguably too cheap for too long, it seems this is changing as well. The 1974 ‘Highland Selection’ Balblair fetched a solid £390.

Although, at the same price levels one of the bargains of the sale was the Strathisla 35-year-old Bicentenary for £390. Given this is known to be a 1947 Strathisla it’s a terrific price for a drinker. Similarly, the Ardbeg 1974 23 year old by Signatory for £360 was also something of a steal.

Looking further down the sale there is the usual mix of solid consistency, some bewildering results – I still don’t get why people are paying £280 for a litre of 1990s Scapa 10-year-old – and a tiny smattering of bargains. A Glenlochy 1980 27 year old by Part Des Anges looks good at £270 and a rare Laphroaig 10-year-old bottled for Japan around 1990 also looks good at £245.

Largely though, scrolling from around the £300 – £80 level of the sale, you’re mostly reminded of just how much has changed on the secondary market over the past two years. Bottles like litres of old 15-year-old Glendronach. The kind of thing you used to be able to pick up for £40-60 for so long, now trading at £130. While at the same time you can still get bottles like Tormore 1983 28 year old by the SMWS for £135. It’s a funny old whisky world. Thankfully it’s still also a lot of fun!

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JUNE AUCTION RESULTS 2018

In our latest auction we saw what could be described as a curious mixture of solid consistency and the usual July quiet spell. Once again we had a couple of bonded casks of whisky at the top of the sale, this time a pair of delicious 1996 Ben Nevis butts. At £13,000 a piece this seems a more sensible, traditional market value result than some previous casks have fetched. Although still well above what you’d have paid from a broker until recently, this perhaps represents the big difference in cultural perception between Ben Nevis and the likes of Macallan or a closed distillery such as Littlemill.

Moving to the bottles and Macallan predictably had another good turn out with £4200 for the 1957 Anniversary Malt and £3900 for the 40 year old Gordon & MacPhail bottling for Italy from the 1970s. While impressive it seems as though it won’t be long until these early Anniversary Malts will be spiralling even higher towards a five figure sum. Let’s see what’s happening a year from now, in today’s market it’s getting harder and harder to be surprised by anything. We used to baulk at the likes of the Macallan Diamond Jubilee fetching north of £1200, and yet, here we are with last night’s example fetching £3600. Interesting times…

Other solidly performing Macallans were a pair of Private Eyes for £3300 apiece and a 1970 Anniversary Malt for £3000. It seems, despite constant supply, the market still has appetite for these kinds of bottlings.

It was good to see the Bowmore 1956 official distillery bottling return. Unsurprisingly it ended up at £4100, even at this price it seems good for such an incredible whisky. Interestingly the Brora 1972 Rare Malts 58.7% fetched £2800, down a little on previous results. Could this be the lower filling level, over-supply, or just summer doldrums? Time will tell, but I suspect whoever bought it nabbed themselves a wee bargain.

 

 

Other stunning whiskies in the upper ends of the sale included the Bowmore Bicentenary at £1750. This is another bottling that, despite ubiquity at auction, is going nowhere but up in price. When everyone wants to a bottling, for both collecting and drinking then value is pretty much bullet proof these days. Similarly, it was good to see the Highland Park Rebus 20 year old fetching £1650. This is a lesser known bottling, but those who have been lucky enough to taste it will understand the desirability.

Undeniably our favourite bottle this sale was the Ainslie Baillie & Co from the early 20th century. It’s so rare to find old genuine bottles like this in such stunning condition. This would have contained a significant proportion of Clynelish and I can only imagine what it must taste like. £1500 is a solid price.

 

Another interesting result was for the Lagavulin 12 year old White Horse 1970s bottling. This is a bottle that I’ve often mentioned in these reports, however, the fact it jumped right up to £1200 last night shows that it is likely entering a new trading level. It’s understandable when the quality of the whisky in these bottles has been lauded for years now and desirability is only going up and up.

Similarly the two old vintage dumpy Highland Park bottlings at £1150 a piece is also understandable, these bottlings are becoming more and more popular these days as knowledge about just how beautiful the whisky contained within is proliferates. Again, it will be very interesting to see where these bottlings are sitting at a year from now.

Other solid results were the Macallan Travel series for £1050, the Springbank 25 year old dumpy official bottling for £1050 and rather beautiful old official 1960s Rosebank for £975. Interestingly, an identical bottle sold for £575 as well. The only difference? Some splitting to the seal. It’s interesting to see how these kinds of wee details can make a different to collectors.

Midleton whiskies have long been collectable, however, in recent months we’ve noticed how prices across the board for their official releases have started to really skyrocket. For years you could pick up the 1990 Midleton release for around £160-220. Last night one fetched £825 and a 1997 release hit £650. With earlier releases in the series now consistently at four figures, how long before the 1990s releases all go the same way?

Another bottling which, conversely, seems like it’s taking its time to get above four figures is the Rare Malts Port Ellen releases. These bottlings have long sat around the £500-700 mark. Last night one fetched £825 which is a solid result. I suspect that one day these will jump above the £1000 mark and then it’ll be impossible to get one for less. Now might be a good time to snap one up if you’ve ever eyed one…

In terms of bargains this month there were perhaps one or two more than usual, although by old standards they are still thin on the ground and today’s definition of ‘bargain’ on the secondary market perhaps needs updating from what it meant in 2012-14. A 1968 Dalmore bottled in 1983 by Avery’s of Bristol seems like decent value at £575 for such a rare bottling. The Highland Park Ice at £105 also looks good compared to other recent sales.

Beyond that though, it’s rather slim pickings. As usual almost everything at the lower ends of the sale is really starting to hit or outstrip what might be considered its regular market value. Although, given the rapid and volatile nature of today’s secondary market, is there still really such a thing as ‘market value’? Probably not for an increasing number of whiskies I’d say…

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JUNE AUCTION HIGHLIGHTS 2018

Baillie’s T.Y.O Scotch Whisky
Ainslie, Baillie & Co Ltd.

Highlighting our June auction is without a doubt this amazing bottle of Baillie’s T.Y.O. Scotch Whisky. It’s sure to be over 100 years old and not something we’ve ever come across before. We’re excited to offer this to our audience and to see what interest it stirs up – particularly with those who are mad about anything remotely close to the Original Clynelish. We’ve done some digging on the history of this bottle, so if you’re interest, head over to our blog and learn all about this incredible bottle of liquid history.
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Rosebank Celebrated –
Pure Malt 1960s

Two rather sexy official Rosebank’s bottled during the nineteen sixties. We collected these from the vendors house in Wimbledon. He acquired them many years ago from his uncle. In fact these were once apart of a full case of 12 before he drank them. I like how it states on the label ‘Celebrated Pure Malt’. You don’t see other distilleries mention this so it must be unique for Rosebank. We’ve never come across an official bottle of Rosebank from as early as this before so it will be interesting to see what level of interest they reach.
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Macallan 1957
Anniversary Malt

The Macallan 1957 bottled in 1983 is the first release in the 25 year old Anniversary Malt series. It is also one of the best whiskies out of them all – It displays everything that is old sherried Macallan. View product »

Bowmore 1956
Sherry Cask

The 1956 Bowmore is also the first in a series of vintage labels which depict the famous seagulls flying over the distillery. This series is also concentrated around whiskies matured in selected sherry casks. View product »

Casks Held In Bond

Those looking to purchase maturing stock, we have two sister casks of 1996 Ben Nevis in this sale. Both casks are currently at 22 years old and are suitable to bottle now or if you wanted to leave them longer they would happily sit and mature comfortably for many more years. Read our tasting notes »

Ben Nevis 1996 #1458

An excellent example of Ben Nevis at its peak. The sort of cask you could easily bottle now but should also continue to hold its quality or improve for a further 3-6 years. The kind of exemplary, distinctive and characterful Scottish single malt it is increasingly hard to find in this day and age.
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Ben Nevis 1996 #1459

The same conclusion can be reached about cask 1459: this is a cask which is in top condition now but should maintain this quality – or even surpass it – over the next 3-6 years. The kind of characterful, distinctive – and valuable – malt whisky that very few distilleries are producing these days.
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Old Blended Scotch Whisky

Apart from the epic Baillie’s we’ve already highlighted, you will find a few more old blends such as several Black & White’s from the 1950s. An unusual variation of King George VI & another Victoria Vat from the 1940s. The most obscure of the lot is a Weston’s Choicest Liqueur Blended Scotch Whisky. It was blended & bottled by a company called Duncan Weston & Co, Ltd and imported to the US by The Caledonian Corporation, Rockefeller Centre New York in the 1940s. Whether you’re a collector or drinker, these old blends are getting harder and harder to find nowadays. View all blends »

What else to look out for…

There’s plenty to keep your eye on in this sale; for example there’s a 1966 Banff & Tamdhu by Douglas Laing for their Old Malt Cask series. The Banff is one of the very first bottlings ever released by Douglas Laing in 1998 and is a particularly hard example to find with only 181 bottles being produced. You will find numerous examples by Signatory’s, including a few gems from their Silent Stills. In my opinion this is the best series out there to collect. Not only are they all from closed distilleries, they have everything going for them in terms of attributes. They’re arguably one of the hardest series to complete due to the fact many sets have now been split up for their miniatures.

Amongst the many Gordon & MacPhail bottlings, the most impressive in this sale is a ridiculously dark 1969 Miltonduff. You don’t see many Miltonduff on the market so this example is a treat. Equally aesthetically pleasing is a 1988 Littlemill from a lesser know Gordon & Company. If you’re ever going to judge a whisky with your eyes, surely its going to be one of these. If you’re looking for certain quality then take a look at the 1965 Springbank for Milroy’s. This was bottled in 1992 for their Anniversary – we’ve never come across this example, but if it is remotely like any Springbank from the 1960s you’re in for a treat. Or why not try the offering by Blackadder, a 1965 40 year old Blairfindy. This is well thought of as Glenfarclas, although there’s no mention of this on the label.

Older official bottlings look pretty tasty with two old official Highland Parks produced for the Italian market. A 1956 18 year old and a 19 year old from what appears like a sherry cask. Amongst all the Macallan there’s a 1963 & 1964 Special Selection. The beautiful 1964 Aberlour matured in Sherry casks along with 1966 Glen Moray & 1967 Glenlivet. Another 1968 single cask Glen Garioch appears – this one is from cask 9 which I believe we’ve never had in before.

As always there’s a whole host of Old, Rare & Obscure whiskies for you to discover over on our web-site. If you’re not already registered, you can do so here.

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

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April Auction Highlights 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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March Auction Highlights 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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February Auction Results 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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