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.
Have a wonderful Christmas & New Year from all of us here at Whisky Online Auctions.
We should probably start with the somewhat unsurprising record price of £24,200 achieved for the Macallan 1949 50 year old Millennium decanter. What’s most amusing from a personal perspective is that it wasn’t so long ago that this sort of result (indeed this is the second time that Whisky Online has achieved a record price for this bottling) would have had all chinwagging. Nowadays, however, such prices for these old Macallan bottlings have become pretty commonplace.
The theme of the Millennium dominated the top of the auction this time with the Springbank Millennium set also performing strongly at £12,900. I’m sure I’ve written before about how this set could be picked up for £4000-5000 not so long ago. Suddenly that doesn’t seem too expensive.
Then a pleasing run of Bowmores. The most notable of which was probably the 2nd edition Black Bowmore for the US at 75cl hitting £8200. Although, in terms of Bowmore rarities, the 1969 single cask for Fecchio & Frassa was the real gem of this auction. Indeed, the fact it sold eventually for £5500 is testament to both its rarity and the lauded reputation of the liquid itself. I suspect it will be a long time before we see another of these – or another might show up next month. Stranger things have happened.
Another pair of impressive results were the two PLOWED society bottlings from Douglas Laing. With the Ardbeg 1972 fetching £4600 and the Brora 1972 a whopping £5800. Two more examples of just how intensely in demand these sorts of legendary whiskies are these days.
The Campbell Hope & King Macallans showed no signs of slowing down either. An excellent example of one of the harder to find editions in the series, the 1951, hit an impressive £4600. While the 1957 nudged £3700. I suspect these bottlings will only continue to climb in the coming months and years.
One of the more surprising results was the cask of Arran 1997. Given the strong performance of other bonded casks recently it was somewhat surprising to see this one at £4100. Given the quality of the liquid as well it looks as though someone got themselves a wee bit of a bargain.
Some other notable results were bottlings such as the Bowmore 1962 Moon Import – a serious rarity these days – at £2350. The Gordon & MacPhail Talisker 1957 CASK at £2300 – another bottling which isn’t getting cheaper anytime soon I suspect. Similarly the 1955 variant hit £2050. The Laphroaig 1967 First Cask continued its recent strength of form with a hammer price of £2050 and a Bowmore Bicentenary hit £2000. It seems amazing juice is still the ultimate bringer of serious results at auction these days.
Strong results from the SMWS collection in this sale were also in evidence with the Springbank 1965 hitting £2000 and the Lomond 1972 Yoichi 1986 116.1 both achieving £1800. There were plenty strong results from Macallan in the upper ends of the sale – something so ubiquitous from sale to sale now I’ve kind of stopped commenting on it almost – but the 15 year old 1957 by Gordon & MacPhail fetching £1700 was still rather impressive. Something that goes to show good, old Macallan just isn’t cheap no matter what bottling it is.
Deviating from Whisky it was nice to be reminded that old rums are also somewhat ‘in vogue’ with collectors and drinkers these days. The 1930s Frederick Smith example fetched an impressive £1550. Similarly Midleton collectors were out in force for the scarcely seen 1990 edition, pushing it all the way to £1500. The thirst for old and rare examples of Ainslie’s blends showed no signs of stopping with the 1940s King’s Legend hitting £1450 and the 1950s Ainslie’s Specially Selected on £925. Again these are the sorts of bottles which could be bought for less than £150 a piece not so long ago.
The superbly dark sherry SMWS early editions of Rosebank have garnered quite a reputation in recent years since a couple were opened and written about. Unsurprisingly the 25.3 Rosebank hit £1300, with the 25.4 not too far behind it on £1000. Around this price level other impressive results were the MacPhail’s 1945 44 year old. These don’t tend to perform as well as the named distillery Gordon & MacPhail bottlings from the same era but I suspect the fact it was a wartime vintage helped propel it to £1050. Not too far away was the Oban Bicentenary Manager’s Dram 16 year old for £975. For so long this bottling sat still around the £400-500 mark so it’s nice to see this great dram getting some recognition. Similarly the Aberfeldy 19 year old Manager’s Dram hit an impressive £875 – it seems this boost in prices we’ve been seeing recently for the old Manager’s Drams is here to stay.
Older bottlings did well across the board this sale with the 1960s Springbank 5 year old hitting £825 and the 1950s Dalmore 12 achieving £800. Both in impressive condition neither result is particularly surprising but both do represent an increase on other recent results for these bottlings. No doubt next time they’ll be even higher.
A few other impressive SMWS results – unsurprising given how rarely many of these bottlings turn up at auction – were the dark sherry Glenfiddich 1978 15.6 for £575. The rather crazy Inchgower 1966 18.15 for £550. And the Macallan 1977 24.17 for £500. At this point it would be remiss not to point out what was probably the bargain of the sale with the Glenlochy 1969 25 year old Rare Malts selling for £525 – not sure what happened there but I’m sad I missed it is all I can say. Goes to show there’s always something in every auction.
Looking through the rest of the sale though, it is rather hard to discern too many other bargains. One of the things that stands out is the prices paid for almost any old SMWS bottlings these days. Even some of the more mundane bottlings can fetch impressive prices. Whether this is being driven primarily by collectors of drinkers seeking real obscurities I’m not sure. Almost certainly, as usual with these things, it’s a combination of both. Until next time…
Our recent auction was marked by yet another impressive result for bonded casks of Macallan. While not quite as staggering as last month’s results, these 1995 refill hogsheads both performed admirably fetching £52,100 a piece. Showing that any mature stock of Macallan in bond still commands a serious premium. There will be further casks coming to auction with Whisky Online over the next couple of sales so it will be interesting to see how they compare.
Moving to the bottles. The SMWS 26 Malts collection hit a new record result at £4400, quite a tidy improvement over the recent days where it often sold for around £2500. Strong results also for the Laphroaig 1960 at £4000 and the Caol Ila Manager’s Dram at £3400. Both bottles which are driven largely by the wonderful, and historic, character of the liquid.
The following slew of Macallan results were largely typical, consistent and high. With all bottles hitting the top end of their current market value. Demand for aged, classic era, sherry matured Macallan still seems insatiable. The 1971 34 year old Bowmore was another bottling which could be picked up for sub £1000 for a number of years, nice to see these amazing bottlings getting a little more recognition these days with the latest example finishing up at an impressive £1900. Although, given the demand for other similar quality Bowmores, I suspect this bottle will still have some way to go over the coming years.
Speaking of Bowmore, the 1961-1973 example by Berry Brothers is another of those bottles that no one really knew about until one got opened a few years back and tasted by some whisky friends and subsequently written about. Bottles back then used to change hands for less than £200 – this latest one sold for £1700! If you’ve taste the liquid however, it’s not too hard to see why. Not unlike the 30 year old Sea Dragon Bowmore which continues to be in high demand, finishing up last night at £1250
Staying on Islay it seems any Lagavulin with a bit of age can command serious money. Four bottles of the Syndicate 38 year old bottling – the oldest known bottling of Lagavulin – fetched between £1500-1550 each. This is another bottle which seems destined to fly higher in price in the coming years.
Other notable high end results were the Lochside 1966 Celtic Heartlands bottling for £1300 – these old 60s Lochside single malts are really starting to pick up serious – and deserved – attention. The Longmorn 1969 Gordon & MacPhail CASK edition for £925. Again, anyone who has tasted these bottlings will ‘get it’. And speaking of whiskies which are starting to gain overdue recognition, the Glen Elgin 15 year old Manager’s Dram hit an impressive £875. This bottling could be snapped up for £200-300 for a long time and has only recently started to ascent to new heights. Similarly the Aberfeldy and Oban Bicentenary Manager’s Drams both fetched £600 each – very healthy results for these bottles. Even the Oban 19 year old at £420 was a stronger than usual result. Could we be on the cusp of a new trading level for the older Manager’s Dram bottlings?
Midleton continue its collectable march with the 1985 release fetching a cool £775. Similarly the 1970 Bruichladdich impressed with a £725 hammer price – another step higher for this one, how long before it hits the four figure mark? It’s often said that dark whisky is alluring and, in the case of the Cadenhead white label 1979 Springbank, it isn’t hard to see why it’s deep hue would have contributed to its £725 hammer price.
Another type of bottling that is seeing renewed interest these days are the old, legendary blends. Particularly brands such as Logan’s which are, like White Horse and Mackie’s, known to contain significant amounts of Lagavulin and Malt Mill. This beautiful 1950s example fetched a deserved £675. Macallan madness doesn’t also manifest in the official bottlings, you may not think a 1988 26 year old Macallan by Douglas Laing merited a hammer price of £600, but someone else certainly did.
A Laphroaig 10 year old from the 1980s fetched £550, even with a low filling level. As understanding of just how special these bottlings are spreads, the prices only seem to solidify.
Going through the rest of the £100-500 range of the sale the prices were by and large towards the upper end of market value for most bottles. There were a few slightly juicer bargains. The Ord 16 year old Manager’s Dram seemed to buck the trend of the other bottles form this series in the sale selling for £370, which is a tad softer than other recent results. The Ord 30 year old 2005 special release also still looks like good value at £300 considering what a stellar whisky it is. Likewise a litre of 12 year old Highland Park from the 1980s for £185 also seemed like a pretty quaffable price.
Otherwise though, there were slim pickings for bargain hunters. It seems one of the key aspects of today’s secondary whisky market is proliferation of knowledge has all but dried up bargains. Almost everything seems to fetch its consistent value these days. A great thing if you’re a seller; frustrating if you’re a buyer – especially one looking to buy to drink. Still, a buyout market also means a plentiful and regular supply of juicy bottles. So, until next month…
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Wayne & Harrison have been travelling the length and breadth of the UK again and have picked up another unique variety of whiskies for our August auction. One we’re particularly excited about is a 1967 Laphroaig from Cadenhead’s increasingly sought after ‘dumpy’ series from the 1980s. When peat meets Sherry you know you’re in for a treat. Joined by this is the now notorious ‘Fine Old Brora’ for the Royal Marine Hotel; These were hand bottled and often labelled up in different fashions at the hotel, hence that prominent skewiff label. You could argue that a few of these have surfaced recently but nevertheless, this is still an incredibly scares whisky that will eventually dry up.
Another treasure we’re proud to of discovered is an official Glentauchers. Bottled before 1987 when James Buchanan & Co Ltd owned the distillery. Like many imports of this period, it was bottled at just 5 years old. What makes this bottle so rare is that almost 0% of spirit was set aside for single malts, instead, it contributed to big branded blends such as Ballantine’s, Black & White and Teachers. These official Glentauchers are virtually non-existent and this appearance here at Whisky-Online Auctions is the first time one has appeared in an online auction.
Moving on and we’ve got a rather interesting collection of First Casks – The First Casks is a range of whiskies bottled by Signatory exclusively for a company called Direct Wines. To acquire these whiskies you would simply sign-up to their mail order and every so often you’d receive their latest batch. Similar to how the SMWS works. The majority of their bottlings are single casks of significant age and tend not to number in the high hundreds. There’s a number of great drams in this series many of which you’ll find in this sale. A handful of highlights include the likes of a 1965 31-year-old Glen Grant, 1965 29-year-old Macallan and an extremely dark 1968 26-year-old Glenrothes, not forgetting the 1967 28-year-old Laphroaig! Examples we’ve never had before include a 1975 23-year-old Glendronach and a very intriguing 1973 21-year-old Longmorn. The great thing about this series is not much is known about it so often or not you can uncover a gem or two.
The Caol Ila Managers Dram is back, despite its level this one’s in clean condition and comes from an ex-distillery worker. Giving the Managers Dram a run for its money is a much harder to find 1968 Caol Ila bottled by Gordon & MacPhail for their CASK series. This bottle was purchased on Islay by the vendor in the late 1980s and has been in their possession ever since. Other notable Islayers include the famous 1976 Ardbeg from cask 2390 a 1976 Laphroaig and a selection of Bruichladdich Legacy from series one through to six.
Over the last year or so we’ve been auctioning a series of whiskies from ’The Syndicate’s’ – there’s not much known about The Syndicate’s but from what we’ve gathered they were buying casks from Islay since the late 1970s. Mainly Lagavulin, many of which from 1979; although you’ll find expressions from Laphroaig & Caol Ila running through to the 1990s. The Syndicate’s made a huge impact with their investment to an extent you could say they saved “Lagavulin” from shutting down and today The Syndicate’s are reaping the rewards with stunning examples such as their latest offering – A 1979 38-year-old Lagavulin from a single cask. To hold old stock such as this is incredible, even the distillery themselves have not bottled whisky this old. It’s going to be interesting to see what the future holds for these Syndicate bottlings and we’re looking forward to see if any new expressions pop up – Until then take a look at we have on offer in this sale.
Elsewhere in our August sale, you’ll find many official releases from all regions of Scotland to pre-war vintages from G&M – old blends from White Horse and an ancient wine from 1802. We’ve even got another full cask for those looking to bottle their own whisky or that die-hard drinker who’s brazen enough to challenge their wife. Regardless this is a very diverse sale and we’re sure there’s something for you.
As always all bottles will start off at £10 with no set reserves meaning every bid is a potential winning bid.
All the best from all of us here at Whisky Online Auctions.
Whisky-Online Auctions made our first ever official appearance at a whisky festival recently, with a stand at the inaugural Old & Rare Whisky Show in Glasgow. The show took place in the city’s Grand Central Hotel, which has recently undergone an extremely painstaking (read: expensive and time-consuming) facelift to restore it to its former glory.
So it was that on the Saturday and Sunday of 18th-19th February a total of around 700 committed whisky devotees flowed into the hotel’s Grand Ballroom, a beautiful high-ceilinged, multi-chandeliered space, to partake in some of the finest, oldest and rarest drams ever assembled in the UK. The £100 ticket price seems expensive but becomes an amazing deal when one takes into account that this includes your first £50 of whisky tokens to spend at the stands.
As it was their debut event, Wayne and Harrison Ormerod from Whisky-Online were determined to impress the crowds with their drams. To that end, they put together an absolutely stellar line-up of whiskies for visitors to try. Wayne and Harrison were joined on the stand by whisky writer Tim Forbes for a bit of experienced help.
The format of the show was very simple – all the exhibitors’ drams were sold in measures of 1cl (10ml), payable in either tokens or cash. This system has many benefits – it encourages responsible drinking, visitors can try many more whiskies without becoming inebriated and it brings the price of the most expensive drams down so that visitors can taste whiskies at a level they might not normally be able to afford. The exhibitors really played their part as well, with some very sensible (even generous) pricing on a range of to-die-for whiskies.
Prices on the Whisky-Online Auctions stand started at just £3 for a range of cracking drams from the 1980s and earlier – standout drams included a heavily-sherried Macallan 12yo OB litre bottle from the 1980s and a pair of 12yo OB Obans, one bottled late 1970s and one just after the metric labels came into force at the beginning of the 1980s. Along with some 1970s Glen Grant square bottles these saw plenty of action throughout the show.
Getting into the more serious stuff, the stand also had a very rare blend – a black-and-gold label Old Vatted Glenlivet estimated to have been bottled around the 1930s, priced at just £10 for 1cl. This one became more and more popular as the show went on and word got out about it. Also at this price was a ‘secret’ Bowmore 1961 bottled in 1974 for Berry Bros. & Rudd, a very gentle, tropical dram.
Moving up another level to around £16-20 per dram and now the customers were really spoiled with a series of very rare single malts. These included a pair of Highland Parks: the spectacular 1955 G&M Cask and a 1961 22yo bottled for Duthie – even Serge Valentin hadn’t seen this one before. There was also the famous 1971 Glen Garioch bottled for Oddbins in the 1990s, which was a steal for just £16.
The most popular dram at this price range, though, was the mysterious Springbank 20yo ‘Dell Fines’ – a really brilliant spirit-led dram distilled at some point during the golden period from mid-1960s to early 1970s. No-one really knows anything about this dram, other than it was probably bottled in the late 1980s or early 1990s, and only two bottles have ever turned up on the market – one of which was now open.
Fortunately, the quality of the whisky was certainly never in doubt – it was truly extraordinary and the punters were soon flocking to the stand to try it. Opening this bottle was a real brainwave by the boys, and at £20 for a 1cl dram it represented an amazing opportunity for the show visitors, especially as the only other known bottle is retailing at £2000 elsewhere.
Finally to the Whisky-Online Auction’s two absolute ne plus ultra-highlights at the show: The Brora 40yo, which was going for £110 per cl; and the 1967 Largiemeanoch 12yo at £200 a measure. The Brora 40yo was very popular, and it wasn’t hard to see why – this was a famously high-scoring dram and remains the oldest official Brora ever released. The large square crystal decanter looked very impressive on the Whisky-Online Auction stand (although it was so chunky that pouring accurately without spilling was rather difficult), and just about everyone who bought a dram was taking pictures of the bottle to show their friends back home.
As for the Largiemeanoch, well… the word ‘legendary’ gets overused a lot but this is a truly legendary whisky. Bottled, possibly by Cadenhead’s, for the Howgate Wine Co. at the end of the 1970s, Largiemeanoch 12yo is a mix of three consecutive casks bottled at 54.2% and is now regarded by many cognoscenti not only as one of the best Bowmores ever bottled, but also one of the greatest ever single malts. It’s a brilliant fusion of heavy phenolic and massively intense tropical fruit aromas and flavours. Truly breathtaking stuff.
Famously, this bottling received 97 points on Whiskyfun, and it was clear at the show that its reputation had preceded it. There was the group of Dutch whisky enthusiasts who had bought tickets and flown over to the show specifically to taste it, and who insisted on having their pictures taken caressing it behind the stand; there was the customer who bought ten measures of it right at the start of the show to take back for his friends in Singapore; and there was the Asian man who, unable to attend the show himself, had bought his girlfriend a ticket and sent her in with a list of whiskies to buy, with the Brora and Largiemeanoch top of the list.
Special mention, however, goes to the unsuspecting fellow who misread the price ticket and ordered a dram of Largiemeanoch believing it to be £20. After the whisky was poured he was understandably taken aback when asked for another £180, but to his eternal credit he took a sniff of the whisky and then marched straight to an ATM for the rest of the money. We can only doff our caps to him, and hope that his wife didn’t find out.
Over the course of the show over half the bottle of Largiemeanoch was sold, and there were several visitors trying (unsuccessfully) to buy the remains of both the Brora and the Largie at the end of the event. Wayne and Harrison couldn’t be tempted, though – they must have a plan for it.
Overall, the show was a great experience for the Whisky-Online Auction team and there’s no doubt that their whiskies made a lot of lucky visitors very happy. Mission accomplished, and hopefully that’s the first of many successful events for the team.
One of the continuing trends in last night’s auction was the new trading levels of older, high-end Macallans. The Fine & Rare series continues to strengthen at auction with results of £10,600 and £8200 for the 1965 and 1971 respectively. Similarly the 1938 handwritten label – a bottle that has been static around the £5000 mark for quite some time – took a step higher again up to £6000. Other impressive prices at the top of the sale included the Laphroaig 1960 for Oddbins with a whopping £5900 hammer price, the Highland Park 1958 with a very healthy £2800 and a Macallan Royal Marriage for £2700.
But it wasn’t just the expected heavy hitters. Increasingly we’re seeing the old and rare whiskies creeping into the very upper levels of the auction, bottles which, until recently, might not have gone into four figures at all. The Springbank 1965 Cadenhead White Label series fetched a cool £2450 and the Talisker 1957 100 proof £2250, both showing just how intense the competition and desire for these magnificent liquids are becoming these days.
The rest of the upper end of the auction was the same story of consistency and top end market value for most of the bottles. There was an impressive selection of Macallan and looking over all the various vintages and expressions so regularly seen at auction now, what strikes is just how many of these bottles have moved from the £700-1000 mark into the £1500-2000 bracket over the past year. Will this pace continue of will we see a plateau effect for a while?
Some other impressive results for older bottlings were the Macallan As We Get It 1960s bottling which finished up at £1200. Demand for older examples of this series seems to be going up and up these days. Similarly an old example of Ainslie’s King’s Legend (a Clynelish heavy blend) from around 1930 with a spring cap settled on a muscular £1250. As knowledge about old blends and their constituent malts has proliferated in recent years we’ve seen a remarkable corresponding jump in their prices at auction.
The thirst for old Midleton bottlings continues unabated with a 1987 example hitting £1100. The Laphroaig Cairdeas 30 year old passed the £1000 mark with a hammer price of £1050 and the Bowmore 1972 and Glen Moray 1959 distillery releases settled comfortably on £1000 apiece.
Moving down through the sale there were strong results for the scarcely seen Balblair 1951 private bottling at £900, the Bowmore 1980 Still Decanter at £925, the Glenmorangie 1993 Truffle Oak at £875, the Lochside 1965 46-year-old by Adelphi at £775. And a 1977 30-year-old Macallan by Douglas Laing and the Laphroaig 13-year-old festival bottling both at £750 look like quite remarkable prices for these bottlings.
It seems that it isn’t only the upper-end Macallans that are hitting new trading levels, but their midrange bottlings have all moved up a notch as well. The NAS Cask Strength bottling from the early 2000s hit a whopping £750, the 1990 15-year-old Easter Elchies hit £725 and the 2011 Easter Elchies hit £900! It wasn’t just Macallan though, there was a whole host of bottlings going for what some might call ‘crazy money’. Another Midleton – the 1991 bottling this time – finished up at £725, a Glendullan 1967 32 year old by Cadenheads hit a remarkable £700 (you could buy these at auction for £200-300 quite recently) as did the Ardbeg 1998 – 2011 Festival release. All quite remarkable prices. Perhaps less surprisingly a Brora 1972 cask end fetched £625.
Looking through the sale from the mid-range down there are very few bargains. A 1966 Dalwhinnie at £410 seems like a decent price but not by much, as does the Glenrothes 1972 and 1984 vintage pair for the same amount. Some of the old Gordon & MacPhail Strathislas and Glen Grants for under the £250 mark finished up at very drinkable prices.
In conclusion, though, it was a hugely impressive sale. One that cements new trading levels for numerous Macallans as well as many bottles which, as recently as last year, could be picked up for a few hundred pounds less. There were a few ‘bargains’ around the lower-mid ends of the sale but by and large it was a consistent and impressive slew of results.
First and foremost: happy new year from all of us at Whisky Online Auctions. Judging from the latest auction results things seem a little more settled in the world of whisky auctioneering than they did for the last few crazy months of 2016. Although, in terms of impressive results this auction certainly wasn’t lacking. For the first time in quite a while Dalmore was the star of this auction. The legendary official 50-year-old was the top bottle with an impressive new record of £14,300, closely followed by a unique bottling of Dalmore 50-year-old for the 2003 Habanos Festival which fetched an impressive £12,900. Not so long ago 50-year-old Dalmore’s could be picked up for under half these prices. And while we might snigger at the questionable Constellation Collections and other such series – the serious, older Dalmore’s remain the stuff of legend and potent performers on the secondary market.
It was pleasing to see another 50-year-old perform strongly as the Highland Park 1960 50-year-old hit £11,600. Similarly the Port Ellen 12 year old for the Queen’s Visit in 1980 performed extremely well again when it got close to its original record from last year with a final hammer price of £11,200. The level on this example wasn’t as good as the last one we sold so it is understandable that the price was a little lower but it still goes to show what serious desire to possess the liquid can do for a bottle. This remains the only bottling with a score of 99/100 on Whiskyfun and looks set to remain at this price level and above pretty permanently.
Another impressive result was the Springbank Millennium set which sold for £11,100. Not so long ago this set was £4000-5000. Once again an example of a maturing and increasingly complex and discerning secondary market with more and more buyers directing their money at these top-end, premium releases.
You wouldn’t expect to be mentioning a distillery like Aberfeldy in the upper echelons of an auction but a special edition 1985 28-year-old Aberfeldy, with only 10 bottles in existence, sold for a remarkable £10,300. Quite an achievement for a distillery rarely seen above the £300 mark at auction. I suspect it’ll be a while before we see another one of these bottles though.
The story of the rest of the upper end of the sale is largely one of consistency with a few notably impressive results strewn throughout. The 1969 Samaroli Glen Grant hit a mighty high of £2600 – helped I suspect by being in tip top condition with a great filling level. Similarly the Bruichladdich 40-year-old at £2500 shows this bottle finally gathering some traction. Another rare old Gordon & MacPhail 1958 100 proof Macallan did well even despite a low filling level when it finished up at £2100. Again, quality and rarity of liquid are powerful motivators.
Then of course there was our old friend: the Speyburn Flora & Fauna 12-year-old. A hammer price of £1800 shows desire for this mighty whisky remains undimmed – still cheap some might say. Another notable result was the Talisker 1967 100 proof from Gordon & MacPhail. There have been quite a few of these beautiful old Taliskers showing up at auction recently and they always perform well – understandable considering their mighty reputation. Given the rarity of this expression and the filling level the price is understandable.
A bottle of K-Club 16-year-old Irish ‘whisky’ bottled around 1940 hit an impressive price of £1250 despite a low filling level. There are more and more collectors for Irish Whiskies out there these days and their performance at auctions is only increasing. Similarly interest in Glenfarclas goes from strength to strength, I wouldn’t have believed ever a few months ago that a bottle of the 43-year-old Cognac casks bottling would have hit £1050 but there you go. Other impressive results for Glenfarclas were 8-year-old 105 proofs at £550 and £625 respectively.
A J J Mortier 1848 Cognac for £725 seems like a bit of bargain considering the historic nature of the liquid, but that’s the only ‘bargain’ I can find in the mid-upper levels of the sale. On the wholesome Ardbeg’s showed signs of cooling off a little, Laphroaigs and Lagavulins were ‘steady’, while Highland Park’s, Auchentoshan, Bowmore’s and Springbank’s all showed very well.
Other good results from a buyers/drinkers perspective were the Timorous Beastie 40-year-old – back down to £175 after a brief couple of months around the £250-300 mark. And the old ‘green glass’ circa 1990 Talisker 10-year-old still look like excellent value around the £130-160 mark. Also, for the Port drinker, a Warres and a Dow’s 1963 at £82.50 and £75 respectively looks like a very tasty little result.
By and large though the story of the lower end of the sale is one of consistency with the usual scattering of very impressive results and a small amount of bargains to boot. The overall profile of this sale looks more in keeping the sort of sales we were seeing around the middle of last year. Prices have settled a little for some bottles but continue to rise almost aggressively for others and for the truly great drams, the sky still seems to be the limit. So, a healthy start to the year with good encouragement for sellers and a little relief for those of us who prefer to buy and have been somewhat priced out of the market by a weak pound recently.
Until next time…
Welcome everyone to our October sale. Old obscure bottles that have never been to auction before or at least for a long time is our motto. This month’s auction sees for the first time an incomparable 12-year-old Springbank matured in sherry wood. Bottled around 30 years ago this dark beast has a concentrated sherry appearance! The pleasure of tasting a rarity such as this can only make you imagine the deep intense flavours this bad boy will have to offer. I assume these were bottled in small batches and would have been sat on the shelves for around £20 and as a result they were getting consumed as a daily dram without a second thought of its monetary value and therefore you bernever see them on the open market today.
Another remarkable sherry beast is the Bowmore 1967 Largiemeanoch, in any other scenario this is an incredibly hard bottle to find and only a hand full have ever surfaced; such as the two examples we auctioned this year. Like the Springbank, this would have been ridiculously inexpensive and with the simplicity of the hand written label and see-through plastic seal the majority were consumed. A legend in its own right and possibly the last time we could ever have the pleasure to auction such a masterpiece.
The powerhouse in this sale and heading our auction for the second time this year is the magnificent 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. Only 77 crystal decanters were ever produced.
Also from Dalmore, we have four expressions from the Constellation Collection. The full Constellation Collection consists of 21 single casks ranging from 1964 through to 1992. We have examples from 1976, 1980, 1989 & 1992 all are presented in hand-blown decanters with solid silver collars etched with their cask numbers and bottle numbers.
Our September sale has a mob of impressive good aged single malts with solidity. You will find the likes of 1957, 1958, 1959, 1965 and 1967 Glenfarclas from The Family Cask series. From Glendronach single casks you will find a 37, 38, 39 & 43-year-old including two 33-year-olds, a first release 31-year-old Grandeur and for any Donald Trump fans we have the 26-year-old for Trump International Golf Links.
Longmorn is represented in fine fashion with a fresh sherry hogshead 1964 by Gordon & MacPhail for their Private Collection, two 1968 38-year-olds for the Whisky Magazine & SMWS and a couple more of the 1969 by Berry Bros.
For the first time, we have a 1974 single cask Ardbeg bottled in 2002 for Oddbins, only 126 bottles were yielded from cask 3475 at a natural strength of 44.5%. Also from Islay and a long overdue return is the official Bowmore 1968 32-year-old and at the same time a warm welcome for the 1968 37-year-old by Duncan Taylor.
Elsewhere for classic vintages we have a 1963 Glenfiddich & Glenmorangie, a 1964 & 1966 Aberlour, 1972 Tobermory & Glenrothes, a 1973 30-year-old Linlithgow bottled in 2004 and a 1985 21-year-old Lagavulin bottled in 2007 for Diageo’s special releases. In the mix, you will also find a Balvenie Tun 1401. Batch 1 is a combination of six casks comprising of a 1966, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1978 & 1988 from a mixture of traditional oak casks and two Sherry butts. This is a limited release with only 336 bottles available from the Distillery at the time of release.
Macallan is strong in this sale with many great long lost expressions like the 1950 hand written label, 1957 Anniversary Malt, a 1958 bottled in the 1970s by Campbell Hope & King and a super scares 1961 bottled by Gordon & MacPhail at 100 proof. There’s also many official vintage releases such as 1963, 1964, 1965, 1967…
1940s through to the 1980s there is three lovely examples of Black & White, several variations of Teachers Highland Cream and an unusual 2 litre Dewars. Single Malts we have a Cardhu 8-year-old, an 8 & 9-year-old Aberlour, a dumpy Redbreast 12-year-old and another dumpy 8-year-old Glendronach bottled at 45.7%. Ainslie & Heliborn 12-year-old Clynelish and two great examples of the 105 Glenfarclas.
All in all, this is a jam-packed sale full of quality liquid. So whether you’re looking to fill a gap in your collection or simply stocking up your drinks cabinet ready for the festive season we are sure there is something for everyone right across the board.
As always good luck and happy bidding from all of us here at Whisky-Online Auctions
Our latest auction was very much one of market consistency and the firming up of current price trends for certain whiskies. The highest achieving bottle – the Bowmore 1955 40 year old – however was an interesting one in that it was a comfortable and impressive new record for this particular bottling with a hammer price of £6200. A remarkable and extraordinarily brilliant whisky; it has long been suspected that this bottling would start to climb into higher four figure prices one day. Is this result a spike or the start of a new trading level? Time will tell.
and the 1956 Family Casks 2007 edition all achieve comfortable and consistent prices of £4000, £1900 and £1950 respectively. Similarly, the Caol Ila Manager’s Dram hit a consistent £2150; proof again of just how in demand the liquid inside this legendary bottling is.
It was good to see the Old Pulteney 40 year old hit a new record of £2050 at auction. This is a beautiful bottling in terms of both aesthetics and liquid, perhaps a little overlooked upon release but now certainly gaining more appreciation from collectors and drinkers alike. In terms of bottlings that are in the midst of upwards realignment in terms of their secondary market values, the results of £1750 and £1250 for the Macallan 1965 17 year old and the Bowmore Bicentenary show these bottlings are now comfortably trading at these new price levels and look set to stay at this mark for near future.
Speaking of Macallan the Diamond Jubilee and Private Eyes all performed towards the top of their price range in this sale in the £1150-1250 bracket. Interestingly enough the Coronations were down in this sale around a somewhat depressed £500-525. On the opposite end of the spectrum from pure ‘collectables’. The old rarities had another solid auction with an early example of the Springbank 30 year old hitting a healthy £1050 – good considering the level. And the 1940s John Locke providing further evidence of the strength of older Irish Whiskey bottlings at auction these days. Another good example was the Glen Grant Moray Bonding 10 year old from the 1950s which hit £575, the last time we had one of these in it sold for around half that price. The demand for old single malts such as this goes nowhere but up these days.
Also in spiralling demand is Brora which delivered another healthy crop of results with the SMWS 61.9 1981 Brora fetching £675 and the 1975 Rare Malts finishing at £700. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get any cask strength Brora from any of the short eras of its production for under £500 nowadays and it looks set to continue to climb in value.
There were plenty of other strong results in this sale around the mid-range of the auction. £575 for the Cadenhead’s Warehouse Tasting 1977 39 year old Littlemill, £600 for the 1964 Blackadder Glenfarclas and £235 for the Springbank 1997 19 year old Cadenhead’s Warehouse Tasting bottling – this is a series that is seemingly from strength to strength at auction thanks to great liquid and fair retail prices. Although I hope this doesn’t stop because – as drinker – this series is a Godsend, thank you Cadenhead!
Prices throughout this sale were generally strong and consistent, but this sale was notable for a series of excellent bargains around the £40-100 range. If you were looking for good value drinkers for home or your bar, this was potentially a great sale from a buyer’s perspective. Bottlings such as a 1985 21 year old Ardmore SMWS 66.22 for £67.50, or a dark sherried 1987 Macallan from Cadenheads for £82.50 were good prices from a drinking perspective. Similarly, quite a number of other SMWS, old Signatory and Cadenhead bottlings around this price range were also great wee bargains. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you are patient, careful and observant, there is no shortage of great bottlings to be had at auctions for fair prices.
Overall a well-balanced, mid-year kind of sale that clearly emphasised that the secondary market is very much a seller’s market at the upper and middle levels and a drinker’s treat at the lower ends. The watchword for this sale was very much consistency above all else. Plenty to give confidence to anyone thinking about cashing in on a few juicy bottles. Until next time…