Each month. Malt Marketing like to bring you updates from our clients and after their recent September auction, rare whisky auctioneer Whisky-Online share their results with some notable closing hammer prices fetched.
Last night’s auction finished with a slew of prices at the upper end of the sale that might once have been described as eye-popping. But think what it says about today’s secondary whisky market and how much things have changed in the space of only about 3 years, that we can look at a Macallan 65-year-old Lalique for £41,100, or a Bowmore 1964 Fino for £15,600 and simply take those prices in our stride? How times change…
Also interesting was the 1996 hogshead of Tobermory that fetched £12,700, not in the same league as other bigger named distilleries of similar ages, but this is a serious price for a name like Tobermory. It seems casks are now very much part of the fabric of whisky auctioneering. And, arguably, where the smart money went in recent years.
Most of the bottles at the upper end of this sale were predictably on the high side. Results such as the Bowmore Gold for £12,400 or the Macallan Anniversary Malt 1968 for £3300 were all pretty typical. More telling – and perhaps more interesting – was the Lagavulin SMWS 111.1 selling for £4100. Another of these bottles that shot from sub four figures to this sort of result in a very short space of time. And further evidence of the hunger there is out there, not just for older, sherried Islays or Lagavulin, but for Scotch Malt Whisky Society rarities. Especially low numbers.
Other tasty examples were the Wray & Nephews 1962 25-year-old commemorative rum. The name Wray & Nephew carries some serious clout amongst rum lovers so it wasn’t surprising to see it fetching £2600. Another long undervalued bottling was the Gordon & MacPhail Secret Stills Talisker 1955 which fetched £2350. Again, this bottling was hovering around the £400-600 mark for quite a long time and it is underrated liquid so it’s nice to see it garnering a little more limelight.
The Lagavulin 38-year-old Syndicate bottlings all held strong at £1600 a piece. Exactly the same result as the Dalmore 1981 Matusalem Sherry Finesse bottling. I know which one I’d rather drink, but that just goes to show how varied the secondary market is these days in terms of a buyer profile. And how the effects of that spending is creating multiple bubbles and effects. Speaking of Lagavulin, it was notable that the 1985 Special Releases 21-year-oldhit a muscular £1400, further confirming this bottling is comfortably on its way to the £2000 mark.
In terms of milestones though, perhaps the most notable was the Oban Bicentenary Manager’s Dram. Two bottles of which finished up at £1100, comfortably across the four-figure line. This bottling has been going from strength to strength lately, it will be interesting if it settles down now or continues it’s almost month by month march up the price range.
Laphroaig 1969 Connoisseur’s Choice performed well at £1000 and the Ardbeg Mor 1st release held strong at £950. While other examples of the Manager’s Dram series also continued to perform well, the Clynelish, Aberfeldy and Cardhu bottlings hitting £750, £725 and £675 respectively. While a 1980s 15-year-old Springbankknocked the ball out of the park at £700. These older official standard range Springbanks are good indicator that it is wise to never underestimate Springbank. Even today it’s probably worth putting aside a case of the current 10-year-old every so often. You never know how things will be in 10 – 20 years…
One long underrated bottling it was good to see doing a little better was the Glen Calder 40 year old at £550. Technically a blend, this beautiful old dram really just tastes like a late 1940s single malt. Nice to see it getting a bit more recognition. Impressive in a different way was the Compass Box Hedonism hitting £525. Exactly the same price as the Dunvilles rotation 1948 half bottle. Another juxtaposed pair that illustrates the wildly different spending habits and buyer profiles which are converging to create today’s secondary market.
It’s interesting to see how a large proportion of Port Ellen bottlings are sitting around the £400-500 mark rather consistently these days – especially numerous independent examples from the likes of Douglas Laing. I think these bottles are still worth buying at this price. Sooner or later there will be a market shift upwards to the £600-800 range and not long after that four figures will loom on the horizon. On a 3-5 year investment, these look like good buys. Not to mention if you’re a drinker looking for a slightly more reasonable Port Ellen – most are terrific drams!
Back to the Manager’s Drams and the Talisker 17-year-old landed on £400. Unsurprising as this terrific bottling was never going to sit around the £200 mark forever. In all likelihood, this one will continue to rise steadily for the foreseeable.
In terms of bargains then, once again and rather predictably, there weren’t many. The I W Harper 1946 – 1952 looked interesting for old Bourbon fans at £260. Just as the Johnnie Walker Liqueurlooked totally bewildering at £235 – the contemporary power of a brand name! The Balblair 1986 CASK bottling by Gordon & MacPhail was a good buy at £195, as was the Glenfarclas 1990 Family Cask 9246 at the same hammer price. Both exceptional drams.
Another soon to shift bottling, I suspect, will be all these 1980s Highland Park 12-year-olds in the old screen print dumpy presentation. Most contain wonderful, old school, subtly peaty, sherried Highland Park. They’ve sat, across almost all auctions, around the £160-200 mark for quite some time and represent pretty great drinking value at that price. I suspect it won’t be long before they move into the £250-300 range – then beyond. Might be worth snapping one up before they do. A 1952 – 1977 Hine Cognacalso looks highly quaffable, and something of an anomaly at £140.
Generally though, it was slim pickings for bargain hunters in this sale. As ever the market remains powerful and a weak pound hits UK buyers but helps sellers. The fever of whisky is far from diminishing. Let’s see what next month brings…
The Macallan has launched Rare Cask Batch No. 1, 2018 Release, the first of three releases during 2018. This first batch introduces new packaging for Rare Cask, designed to provide consumers with even more insight into the whisky making process, with more detail revealed on this complex spirit.
Rare Cask exemplifies the ‘art of the cask’ and The Macallan’s unrivalled dedication to using only the best quality wood – a process carefully managed from acorn to cask. Only the finest sherry seasoned casks are hand selected by The Macallan whisky makers at the perfect point of maturation, to create this remarkably rich and unique expression.
This process of hand-selecting the casks is highly skilled and complex, requiring a balance of cask knowledge and creativity. Less than 1% of the casks maturing in The Macallan reserves meet the strict criteria for this distinctive whisky and 100% are first fill sherry seasoned oak casks, with the perfect balance of European and American oak delivering rich flavours and a natural mahogany red colour.
Batch numbers and the year of release will now feature on the new packaging, adding to the element of collectability. Rare Cask Batch No. 1, 2018 Release is one of three batches to be released this year, with four planned for each subsequent year. Each limited release batch represents the volume of only 50 oak sherry butts.
Nick Savage, The Macallan Master Distiller, said: “The rarity of Rare Cask lies in the limited number of first fill sherry seasoned casks. This whisky truly exhibits the art of cask selection and the role of our Whisky Making Team to hand pick the casks for each batch. The casks give the greatest contribution to the character and are the only source of the rich mahogany colour. It is one of The Macallan’s most complex yet balanced whiskies that we’ve created, with soft notes of rich oak, vanilla and chocolate.
“Rare Cask’s flavour has been created to be savoured and shared with those who appreciate a single malt with a rich depth of a complexity and perfect balance. With the release of yearly batches, Rare Cask can also be a memorable way to celebrate or mark a special year or occasion.”
The Macallan Rare Cask Batch No. 1, 2018 Release is presented in a redesigned pack to align it to the new bottles recently unveiled across The Macallan’s range of single malt whiskies. The new design now also features deeper reds and subtly incorporates wood grain to pay tribute to the incredible cask story. A new lighter background inside the pack emphasises the rich mahogany whisky and the pack is encased within a premium gift box, featuring a gold badge highlighting the Rare Cask name, as well as the batch number.
Each batch of The Macallan Rare Cask will be a limited edition release. The Macallan Rare Cask Batch No. 1, 2018 Release has an estimated retail price of £230.
Whisky Makers Notes:
Colour: Mahogany red
Aroma: Soft notes of opulent vanilla and raisin pique the nose, giving way to a sweet ensemble of apple, lemon and orange
Palate: Oak resonates, timeless, polished and rich. Vanilla and chocolate lead the finale along with a light citrus zest
Finish: Full and warming
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
The Macallan has unveiled its next Masters of Photography edition in collaboration with the world’s most famous photographic cooperative, Magnum Photos.
Marking the seventh limited edition release, The Macallan Masters of Photography: Magnum Edition celebrates the opening of the new Macallan distillery and visitor experience.
The creation of the new distillery will forever change the landscape of The Macallan Estate and this special release documents this historical moment, telling The Macallan story in a new and compelling way, as some of the world’s leading photographers record the next stage in the journey of the world’s ultimate single malt whisky.
This awe-inspiring collection of images, taken by six world renowned Magnum photographers – Steve McCurry, Martin Parr, Paolo Pellegrin, Mark Power, Gueorgui Pinkhassov and Alec Soth- captures different aspects of the iconic distillery. From the landscape and the materials from which the distillery is born, to the character of the workers and protagonists who have brought it to fruition, artistic portraiture of people and casks complement more abstract representations of the building and its unique structure.
This magnificent and world class collectible set of images comes together as a limited edition objet d’art, presented in a stunning archive style gift box. It comprises a special limited release whisky; a selection of six signed prints, one from each photographer, and an exclusive book of photography. The box that holds the collection was influenced by the classic photographic portfolio boxes on display at the Magnum studio.
By immersing herself in the photography, The Macallan Whisky Maker Sarah Burgess has created a single malt crafted from a combination of eight casks, all differing in character to reflect the photography style of each of the Magnum photographers and to represent Magnum itself.
A spicy gingered cask reflects McCurry’s bold and brave style; a cask of age where oak influence prevails over individual characteristics symbolises Parr’s oblique view of the world; a classic cask with an intense black cherry note complements Pellegrin’s forceful black and white pictures; two casks reflect Power’s photography which captures the familiar, but from an often obscure point of view; an ex-European red wine cask imparting a rich mahogany red colour represents Pinkhassov’s contrasting and brightly coloured work and a first fill American barrel with its delicate citrus notes captures Soth’s heritage and spirit of adventure. The final cask is an intensely sweet yet classic Macallan with edge and depth, bringing the whole creation together and representing the imagination and brilliance of Magnum.
Ken Grier, Creative Director for The Macallan, said: “Magnum are the ultimate masters of their medium, offering incredible diversity and distinction within their ranks and capturing all aspects of human life around the world with an unparalleled sense of vision, imagination and genius. They are the greatest collective of documentary photographers in the world and their partnership with The Macallan reflects our shared values of craftsmanship and commitment to excellence.
“For the first time in The Macallan Masters of Photography series, we are working in partnership with multiple photographers to tell the story of the new Macallan distillery and the people behind it, taking it from genesis to completion. This coveted edition shows history in the making against the backdrop of The Macallan’s ongoing commitment to mastery.”
Tim Paton, Global Head of Commercial Assignments for Magnum Photos, said: “This project has been a wonderful assignment for both the photographers and the Agency. To be given this amount of creative freedom on a commercial project is very rare. The photographers were literally shown the building site and told to shoot whatever they liked.
“Both myself and the six Magnum Photographers have loved visiting The Macallan and witnessing this amazing building grow out of the ground. We first visited the site when it was just a hole in ground so we all feel very connected to this wonderful piece of architecture. All the staff and contractors have been great to work with and very welcoming. This beautiful part of Scotland will forever be a big part of Magnum Photos history.”
The Macallan Masters of Photography: Magnum Edition will be available globally from September 2018, priced at £2,700 and limited to 2,000 editions worldwide.
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
Whisky Makers Notes:
Colour: Deep amber with rose gold hues
Nose: Light hints of peat layered into warm spiced ginger with mellow oak notes. Gently coming behind these notes, are an almost tangerine citrus and caramelised apple
Palate: Candied dried fruits and a butterscotch sweetness with a tickling of spice that moves into a honeyed nut note
Finish: Medium to long finish ending in sweet earthy peat notes
For further information, please contact:
Each month we like to share with you the results of recent Whisky-Online auctions. As with every month there is always a great deal of excitement and intrigue as to how each featured lot will fair and featured below are just some of the results from their August online auction which Whisky-Online have been kind enough to share with us.
Our latest auction closed with more than a few surprises. Not least around the upper end of the sale where the top lot was, unsurprisingly, a hogshead of 1989 Macallan. However, with a hammer price of £70,200, it suggests that prices are beginning to cool off a little for bonded stocks of whisky, certainly in comparison to other recent results we’ve achieved for Macallan casks. Although, it’s worth remembering with this cask that the ABV was rather critically low, which no doubt was reflected in the price. Putting this in perspective, £70,200 is still way above what would have been, until very recently, considered standard market value for such a cask in bond.
On the flip side, £25,600 for a cask of 1994 Tobermory seems surprisingly expensive, even in today’s market, for a less widely lauded make such as Tobermory. Somewhat understandably cask 5015 was a butt and cask 39, which fetched £17,100 a hogshead, even though, that’s still a hefty price for 1994 Tobermory. Further evidence that no matter what cask you’re sitting on, if it’s got a bit of age to it, you could be in for a pretty nice surprise at auction. It’s certainly an easy way to capitalise without the hassle and cost of bottling.
On to the bottles and it was good to see Bowmore back at the top of the sale. The ‘coulours’ trilogy of Black, Gold and White seem rather unstoppable these days with respective prices of £18,700, £11,900 and £14,100. All of them outstripping even the Macallan 1946 at £11,100. If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to taste one of these bottlings of Bowmore, it’s not hard to see where such intense prices come from. These are some of the best and most distinctive spirits ever made by human hand in these bottles.
One of the biggest surprises of this auction, at first glance, is the Springbank 1965 SMWS 27.7 which fetched a rather staggering £6100. Even for a 60s Springbank, this is eye-catching stuff. However, look a bit closer and do a bit of digging and it becomes a bit more understandable. This bottling hasn’t shown up at auction in years and, at 60.2%, it looks to be a pretty remarkable dram. There are numerous series collectors out there for all manner of SMWS bottlings these days so it’s hardly surprising that when such a tasty rarity surfaces, in today’s bullish market, competition is so fierce.
Other rather striking results which speak to the nature of today’s secondary market include the old 1960s official bottling of ‘Cardow 100% Pot Still‘ which finished up at £5800. Such a rarity in near immaculate condition was always destined to do well so in many ways this isn’t so surprising. Although it is a sobering reminder of just how much of rich man’s game serious old and rare whisky has become.
Joining the Cardhu was the uber rare bottling of Macallan 12-year-old at 100 proof by Gordon & MacPhail bottled in 1971. There is a 15-year-old version of this which is slightly more common, but the 12 is indeed the definition of scarcity. This pristinely preserved version deserved its £5100 hammer price. What’s more, it was nice to see a non-official Macallan take one of the top Macallan spots in the auction for once. For serious whisky lovers, this is a dream bottling.
Speaking of dream bottles, perhaps the most beautiful examples in this sale were the pair of Taliskers bottled in the 1950s by Wolverhampton & Dudley. Examples have shown up in the distant past at auction, but to find two such perfect examples today is really like being handed something out of a time warp. Little wonder they fetched £4600 a piece. The kind of bottle you’d kill to taste.
Other bottles in the upper end of the sale that stuck out were the official Springbank 1965 Local Barley for £3000. Looking at the prices of 60s Springbanks in general, both here, elsewhere and at retail. It seems there is something of a pretty serious upward shift in prices occurring across the board. I doubt it’ll be long before we start to see these kinds of bottles regularly break the five-figure barrier.
The 50-year-old 1949 Glen Grant by Ian MacLeod at £2900 was a solid result for this bottling. While the Glenugie 1966 by The Bottlers for £2700 was also seriously impressive. Glenugie is another name which is currently rocketing skywards in price. For anyone who has tasted some of these 60s Glenugies, it is hardly surprising.
Dalmore 1973 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lagavulin 1979 38 year old by the Syndicate and the Laphroaig 19.0 anniversary bottling all hit the £2000 on the head. For the Lagavulin, it was the first time it had gone this high, which suggests a slow and steady climb even higher from here on out. The Dalmore result shows this distillery still had some serious clout at auction, even for what might be considered less impressive bottlings like the 1973. And for the Laphroaig, it’s generally a case of rarity with this bottling. Most were consumed upon release due to the lottery system under which it was sold. Whenever it shows up at auction there is usually a bit of a scuffle to get it.
Some other notable results above the £1000 mark were the Bunnahabhain 1968 Auld Acquaintance at £1350, how long before this great bottling hits the £2000 mark? A Macallan 1962 Cadenhead Dumpy looks almost cheap at the same price of £1350 however, considering its quality and scarcity. And rounding off the £1350 club was the Ardbeg 17-year-old Cadenhead Dumpy. A natural if slightly soft price for this equally historic bottling.
The Isle of Skye 50-year-old showed good progress cracking the £1000 mark for the first time, while the Bowmore Sea Dragon 30-year-old conversely seemed a tad soft at £1300. Dipping below the four-figure mark it was lovely to see two stunningly preserved old blends, the Benmore Liqueur Scotch Whisky and the Duffs Liqueur Scotch, both hitting an understandable £975 a piece.
Looking through the rest of the auction there were many impressive results. Too many to mention. Notable examples would be the two Oban 16-year-old Bicentenary Manager’s Drams at £925 apiece, outstripping even the official Oban 1969 at £850. Similarly, the pair of Ord 16-year-old Manager’s Drams for £600 a piece lent further weight to the continued upward march of the early Manager’s Drams series.
Beyond that, almost every lot was hitting its market value. Normally it’s possible to pinpoint one or two notable bargains or stand out anomalies. However, on this occasion, it really was a case of slim pickings. It seems that, in this day and age where more and more people are migrating their spending from retail to auction, prices are only solidifying, even at the £30-60 range of an auction. Interesting times…
Highland Park is excited to introduce you to VALKNUT Special Edition single malt Scotch whisky. In partnership with renowned Danish designer Jim Lynvgild, Highland Park VALKNUT is the second in a series of three VIKING LEGEND releases inspired by our rich Viking history and mythology.
Jason Craig, Highland Park brand director, commented: “Valknut is an intensely balanced whisky with an ABV of 46.8%. It’s been matured predominantly in American sherry seasoned oak casks with a slightly higher phenolic level, compared to Valkyrie. We’ve also used a small amount of Orkney grown Tartan barley which adds to its smokier edge and lingering sweet, spicy finish.”
Designer, Jim Lyngvild commented: “The story of the Valknut is compelling and I wanted to ensure that the design feature of this packaging was a fitting match to the whisky created by Master Whisky Maker Gordon Motion.
“Also, as VALKNUT is part of a series of three expressions, I made sure that there is continuity in style of the packaging – for example, the frieze design at top is consistent in look but the story of the symbol has been brought to the front panel.”
Jim’s inspiration came from two important Nordic sources in Gotland, Sweden – the first of the four Stora Hammars stones and the picture stone at Tängelgårda.
VALKNUT means ‘knot of those killed in battle’ and its symbol of three interlinked triangles is closely associated with the Norse god Odin who guided the spirits of the dead to Valhalla.
Norse mythology tells of the VALKYRIES, Odin’s female servants, who combed the battlefields for the bravest fallen warriors. Vikings who met an honourable death were marked out by the symbol of the VALKNUT and spirited away to VALHALLA to join Odin’s mighty army and prepare for RAGNAROK, the battle of the end of the world.
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