Tag Archives: Whisky Tasting Notes

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 Highlights 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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October Auction Results 2017

Our recent auction was marked by yet another impressive result for bonded casks of Macallan. While not quite as staggering as last month’s results, these 1995 refill hogsheads both performed admirably fetching £52,100 a piece. Showing that any mature stock of Macallan in bond still commands a serious premium. There will be further casks coming to auction with Whisky Online over the next couple of sales so it will be interesting to see how they compare.

Moving to the bottles. The SMWS 26 Malts collection hit a new record result at £4400, quite a tidy improvement over the recent days where it often sold for around £2500. Strong results also for the Laphroaig 1960 at £4000 and the Caol Ila Manager’s Dram at £3400. Both bottles which are driven largely by the wonderful, and historic, character of the liquid.

The following slew of Macallan results were largely typical, consistent and high. With all bottles hitting the top end of their current market value. Demand for aged, classic era, sherry matured Macallan still seems insatiable. The 1971 34 year old Bowmore was another bottling which could be picked up for sub £1000 for a number of years, nice to see these amazing bottlings getting a little more recognition these days with the latest example finishing up at an impressive £1900. Although, given the demand for other similar quality Bowmores, I suspect this bottle will still have some way to go over the coming years.

Speaking of Bowmore, the 1961-1973 example by Berry Brothers is another of those bottles that no one really knew about until one got opened a few years back and tasted by some whisky friends and subsequently written about. Bottles back then used to change hands for less than £200 – this latest one sold for £1700! If you’ve taste the liquid however, it’s not too hard to see why. Not unlike the 30 year old Sea Dragon Bowmore which continues to be in high demand, finishing up last night at £1250

Staying on Islay it seems any Lagavulin with a bit of age can command serious money. Four bottles of the Syndicate 38 year old bottling – the oldest known bottling of Lagavulin – fetched between £1500-1550 each. This is another bottle which seems destined to fly higher in price in the coming years.

Other notable high end results were the Lochside 1966 Celtic Heartlands bottling for £1300 – these old 60s Lochside single malts are really starting to pick up serious – and deserved – attention. The Longmorn 1969 Gordon & MacPhail CASK edition for £925. Again, anyone who has tasted these bottlings will ‘get it’. And speaking of whiskies which are starting to gain overdue recognition, the Glen Elgin 15 year old Manager’s Dram hit an impressive £875. This bottling could be snapped up for £200-300 for a long time and has only recently started to ascent to new heights. Similarly the Aberfeldy and Oban Bicentenary Manager’s Drams both fetched £600 each – very healthy results for these bottles. Even the Oban 19 year old at £420 was a stronger than usual result. Could we be on the cusp of a new trading level for the older Manager’s Dram bottlings?

Midleton continue its collectable march with the 1985 release fetching a cool £775. Similarly the 1970 Bruichladdich impressed with a £725 hammer price – another step higher for this one, how long before it hits the four figure mark? It’s often said that dark  whisky is alluring and, in the case of the Cadenhead white label 1979 Springbank, it isn’t hard to see why it’s deep hue would have contributed to its £725 hammer price.

Another type of bottling that is seeing renewed interest these days are the old, legendary blends. Particularly brands such as Logan’s which are, like White Horse and Mackie’s, known to contain significant amounts of Lagavulin and Malt Mill. This beautiful 1950s example fetched a deserved £675. Macallan madness doesn’t also manifest in the official bottlings, you may not think a 1988 26 year old Macallan by Douglas Laing merited a hammer price of £600, but someone else certainly did.

A Laphroaig 10 year old from the 1980s fetched £550, even with a low filling level. As understanding of just how special these bottlings are spreads, the prices only seem to solidify.

Going through the rest of the £100-500 range of the sale the prices were by and large towards the upper end of market value for most bottles. There were a few slightly juicer bargains. The Ord 16 year old Manager’s Dram seemed to buck the trend of the other bottles form this series in the sale selling for £370, which is a tad softer than other recent results. The Ord 30 year old 2005 special release also still looks like good value at £300 considering what a stellar whisky it is. Likewise a litre of 12 year old Highland Park from the 1980s for £185 also seemed like a pretty quaffable price.

Otherwise though, there were slim pickings for bargain hunters. It seems one of the key aspects of today’s secondary whisky market is proliferation of knowledge has all but dried up bargains. Almost everything seems to fetch its consistent value these days. A great thing if you’re a seller; frustrating if you’re a buyer – especially one looking to buy to drink. Still, a buyout market also means a plentiful and regular supply of juicy bottles. So, until next month…

Next Auction Starts Wednesday 22nd November

If you are looking to sell your whisky and would like to take advantage of our  5% sellers commission, record hammer prices and fast payouts then contact us today to get your FREE valuation, Expert Advice and take part in our next auction.

Our valuers Wayne and Harrison will also be on the road this month offering FREE personal home collections. If you have any whiskies you would like to have collected or simply want to discuss how our auctions works, please feel free to call us on 01253 620376 and we’ll happily assist. Please note personal collections are subject to availability and of course we have to make them economical.

London Area – Wednesday 8th November
Scotland Area – Wednesday 15th – 16th November

 Get in touch & Book Your Free Collection
Call: 01253 620 376 | Mobile: 07767 22 22 00
Email: auctions@whisky-online. com

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September Auction – Full Casks Held in Bond – Tasting Notes

casks in bondIt seems that the impressive recent results for casks of whisky still held in bond in our previous sales have unearthed some more tantalising examples for auction. Another pair of Macallan 1994 ex-sherry hogsheads and – intriguingly – a 1990 barrel of Littlemill. To see a name as sought after as Macallan come up for sale is always exciting, but a cask of whisky from a closed distillery adds an extra layer of intrigue to the sale. Here are our notes for these casks based on the most recent samples drawn at the time of their last gaging.

 

Littlemill 1990. Bourbon barrel. Cask number 918. Remaining Litres of Alcohol (RLA) 85. 50% abv. 

Littlemill 1990 - Cask 918 - Held In Bond - Tasting Notes

Colour: Plain gold.Nose: At first an even balance between fresh fruits such as banana, kiwi, cider apple and pineapple, alongside touches of varnish and wood spice. The profile is immediately reminiscent and typical of other early 1990s Littlemills. Develops further with notes of fresh gooseberry, gorse and some grassy and wildflower qualities.

Nose: At first an even balance between fresh fruits such as banana, kiwi, cider apple and pineapple, alongside touches of varnish and wood spice. The profile is immediately reminiscent and typical of other early 1990s Littlemills. Develops further with notes of fresh gooseberry, gorse and some grassy and wildflower qualities.

Palate: Surprisingly zingy at first. Sharp fruit notes of tart gooseberry, citrus and a light grassiness. There is a substantial cereal aspect as well; notes of porridge oats, toast and barley sugar. The sweetness from the wood is noticeable but well integrated with the distillate. Some further notes of milk chocolate, vanilla fudge and cocoa. A little more tropical fruits towards the finish.

Finish: Medium length. Lingering butterscotch, barley sweetness and some green fruitiness.

Comments: The nose was the best part of this one, although overall it is a fine and classical example of Littlemill from this era. At times it is reminiscent of some of these Irish single malts of similar vintage. It retains good freshness for its age and shows a lively and often delicious fruit character. The purchaser of this cask may want to consider getting this one bottled sooner rather than later as, while it may reach 30, it is already showing signs of full maturity and may not benefit particularly from further extended ageing.

littlemill cask 918 -BID HERE

 

Macallan 1994. Refill sherry hogshead. Cask number 2316. 58.9%. 

Macallan 1994 - Cask 2316 - Held In Bond - Tasting Notes

Colour: Full Amber

Nose: An immediate and beautifully earthy, nervous and resinous sherry. Surprisingly old style and reminiscent of some old Campbell Hope & King bottlings of Macallan with these bold notes of walnut wine, earthen floors, dunnage, many dark fruits such as dates, prune juice and sultanas along with rancio and pipe tobacco. Develops further tertiary notes of mint leaf, eucalyptus and camphor. Quite a remarkable nose!

Palate: The sherry character still dominates, although the weightiness of the distillate still matches it well and there is wonderful balance between these notes of truffle, earth, fruit jams, molasses and black pepper. Quite stunning really. With time some flecks of green fruit, tree bark and hessian emerge.

Finish: Long and very warm. A glow of dense, chocolatey sherry with dried herbs and morello cherries.

Comments: A spectacular and delightfully old style Macallan. Reminiscent in some ways of some early 1970s Glendronachs. The sherry is clean but dense and earthy, although never too intense or overbearing on the spirit. This could easily be bottled now or be left for up to another five years. Any longer however and I get the sense that it could easily start to become imbalanced.

Macallan 1994

 

Macallan 1994. Refill sherry hogshead. Cask number 2317. 60.5%.

Macallan 1994 - Cask 2317 - Held In Bond - Tasting Notes

Colour: Light Amber

Nose: Lighter, leafier and a little hotter than cask 2316. This is more towards green pepper, dried mushrooms, red fruits and notes of pollen, wild flowers, mead and dried herbs. More powerful and perhaps more singular than its sibling but not quite in the same old style vein.   With time becomes more menthol and waxy giving way to some lovely green fruits.

Palate: Juicy fruits in the form of fruit jams and cordials with some dark chocolate, mint choc chip ice cream and herbal liqueurs. Cocktail bitters, caraway, rosewater and beeswax all appear. It wears its high abv surprisingly well. There is an oiliness and more overt fruitiness that betrays the fact this one is more dominated by the distillate and the cask is slightly less active than 2316. A meatiness towards the finish like beef stock.

Finish: Long with plenty of green fruit, wet leaves, cigar boxes, cured meats and peppery notes. Towards the end quite a distinctive note of orange bitters and orange peel emerges.

Comments: Perhaps not as stellar as 2316 but this is still excellent Macallan. The freshness means it could easily stand further ageing for a number of years should the purchaser choose to keep it in bond for extended maturation. However, it is already an excellent Macallan and it would not be too soon to bottle it in the coming year.

Macallan cask 2317


 

Auction Ends Wednesday 2nd August From 8 pm.

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

 

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Port Charlotte 2004. Bourbon Cask Up For Auction

After last month’s rather staggering success of the two 1993 Macallan casks, we’re delighted to have another very interesting and desirable bonded cask of whisky up for auction. This time it’s a 2004 Port Charlotte. These Port Charlottes were sold back in 2001 – 2005 for what now looks like bargain basement prices. Very few of them have sold on the secondary ‘open’ market before, with most of the cask sales taking place privately before now. So this should be an interesting experiment to find mature, bonded Port Charlotte’s current market value. Below is my assessment of the cask’s current qualities. The sample tasted was drawn from the cask’s most recent gaging.

Port-charlotte-cask Auction Lot and Certificate

Port Charlotte 2004. Cask 969. Bourbon. Tasting Notes

Colour: Gold

Nose: Bonfire smoke, wood ash, lots of briny and dense coastal characteristics and tertiary notes of iodine, mercurochrome, TCP and ink. The medical and coastal characteristics are both powerful but in balance and the overall impression is one of good maturity and potency. This is a BIG Islay whisky. With a little breathing, there are some more typical farmyard aspects which I find typify many early 2000s Port Charlottes of this age. Notes of hay, silage, some drying seaweed, old rope and kelp. There is a sense of building and increasing complexity with time and air. With water: The farmyard aspects really come to dominate now. More earthiness, notes of bark, black olives and an eventual drift back towards medicine. Quite excellent!

Palate: The arrival is quite intense and brings with it a sense of incense and smouldering wood. This quickly passes to reveal some notes of lemon oil and lemon zest, vanilla cream, smoked fish and a broad spectrum of medical complexities. There is also an underlying spiciness that adds balance to the natural sweetness of the distillate. Overall the texture is quite fat and oily, there is a ‘meatiness’ about it which alludes to chewing smoked mussels in brine. With water: lemon juice, sea salt, fresh oysters and more of these briny aspects mixed with a nice olive oil quality. Perhaps some herbal aspects as well, suggestions of dried rosemary and more kelp notes.

Impressions: This is a well-matured Port Charlotte from a clean and nicely balanced cask which has matured the distillate well without ever overshadowing or dominating the spirit. There is a strong sense of distillery identity and a natural ‘charisma’ about the distillate. These triumvirate Port Charlotte qualities of seashore, medicine and farmyard are all present and nicely balanced which leads to a complex, intriguing and delicious dram. This could easily be bottled now but should also continue to improve quite comfortably for at least another 3-4 years in bond. I would expect it to show particularly well at around 18 – 20 years of age.

Port Charlotte 2004 - Cask 969 - Click Here

Auction Ends Wednesday 2nd August From 8 pm.

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

 

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Whisky-Online Exclusive | Ardmore 1993-2015 Tasting Notes

 

A while back we figured it was high time that Whisky Online had another bespoke bottling done. After much dallying about we went to see the good folks at G&M. A week later four cask samples arrived then a couple of months after that this rather delicious bottling of Ardmore arrived. So, without much further ado here’s Angus’s tasting notes for it.

The Whisky-Online Exclusive bottles are up for sale in the shop right now, £100 a pop, when they’re gone they’re gone.

Ardmore 1993 – 2015 22 Year Old. Gordon & MacPhail Whisky-Online Exclusive. Cask number 5750 a Refill Bourbon Barrel. One of 176 bottles. 70cl. 49.9%.

Colour: Gold

Nose: It is quite immediately Ardmore which I love, this wonderful mix of limestone, gravel, clay and minerals with a very delicate ashy peat and slightly drying phenolic tones – reminiscent of a gentler, latter 1970s Ardbeg. Behind all that there’s lemon skins, citrons, dried herbs, muesli and gorse. This is the perfect kind of wood presence to my nose: shy and retiring with quite a structured and complete feeling of maturity that gives a loud voice to the distillery character. With water… oh nice, white flowers, beeswax and honey on buttery brown toast. All these lovely notes of sunflower seeds, sorrel and more mineral aspects. Just great.

Palate: A tang of wood sap at first gives way to some beautiful and quite elegant tropical fruit syrups – more fruity than your average Ardmore I’d say – then sandalwood, coastal notes of tar, salted liquorice and little touches of gentian. Further notes of orange bitters, greengages, delicate peat oils and more slightly ashy mineral notes. The mouth is almost perfect at this cask strength but lets add some water anyway… it becomes almost bigger with water, the peat and phenols are magnified and almost medicinal now, sort of at the expense of the fruit but it’s no less beautiful for it.

Finish: Long and warm, full of briny, ashy, citrusy, mineral and phenolic qualities. Leaves a big tingle all round the mouth. Quite brazenly Ardmore – which I totally love.

Comments: Not much to say, I love the balance of fruit and peat along with all the other tertiary aromas. I love the fact that the cask plays a perfect supporting role to the shining distillate and I love the fact that it is very much an Ardmore. Really delicious, and a strong swimmer to boot.

Score: 91/100

Whisky-Online Exclusive Ardmore

 

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