Another raft of impressive prices were realised in our latest auction. The top item was, as expected, the cask of 1989 Macallan which fetched £90,100 – slightly higher than recent similar Macallan casks suggesting they may well be on the rise again as appetite remains undimmed. Perhaps more tellingly was the full set of Millennium Springbanks which hit £21,100, a record for this set by some distance. Given the way, prices have been going for older Springbanks recently this is hardly surprising. Hard to believe you could pick up a complete set for under £6000 a couple of years ago.
A second edition Black Bowmore was similarly impressive at £13,100. Although, given the track record of this series in recent times, these kinds of results are no longer that surprising. Neither was the £8400 paid for the Sherriff’s Bowmore 8-year-old pear-shaped. A stunning whisky of legendary repute which explains the serious prices people are clearly willing to pay for such a whisky. These kinds of bottles will likely never be cheaper again given their scarcity.
In fact, the whole upper end of the auction was a string of examples of these kinds of serious yet unsurprising prices for remarkable bottles. The UK version of the famed Samaroli Springbank 12-year-old at £10,100 is another perfect example. As is the Jura 1964 Cadenhead Dumpy for £3300. It seems these days that any bottle of seriously perceived whisky that rarely sees the secondary market is bound to fetch a hefty four-figure sum minimum. With many increasingly entering the five-figure range – some jumping there with rather staggering speed in recent months.
Of course, it isn’t only malts that impress. Famous blended brands such as the Islay Mist also do exceptionally well whenever they turn up – the 1950s bottling at £3600 being a particularly rare and pristine example. Given the repute of these whiskies, I’d almost say this price was on the soft side but it’s probably best not to start getting into the mindset of £3600 for a bottle of whisky being cheap.
The Macallans were all as you might expect price wise, as was the 1970s Laphroaig 10-year-old at £2150. Perhaps more interesting was the Ardbeg Provenance at £2250. It has taken a slow and winding time for the Provenances to reach this price point and they do seem slightly out of kilter with the more expensive sibling Ardbeg bottlings from the late 1990s. Given the quality of the Provenance whiskies, I wonder if they aren’t going to jump up another level in price within the next six months or so?
One of the most beautiful bottles in the sale was no doubt the Old Pulteney bottled by Cadenhead in the 1960s at 85 proof. A stunning and rarely seen whisky, this one is one of a few of this bottling that have found their way to market over the past year or so which explains it’s slightly softer £1800 result. However, this is still an impressive price which demonstrates the demand for older bottlings from the famous bottlers such as Cadenhead. Especially unusual ones such as this Pulteney.
The Lagavulin Syndicate 38-year-olds are all holding well at £1550. Once the initial supply of these bottles to the market has dried up I suspect the price of this one will start to climb fairly significantly. Something of a surprise at the same price tag was the Littlemill 1964 32-year-old distillery bottling from the 1990s. No doubt the recent uptick in interest for Littlemill and other closed distilleries, in general, helped this one along its way.
Demand for older Gordon & MacPhail bottlings also appears to remain undimmed with the Talisker 1967 100 Proof and the Highland Park St Magnus fetching £1550 and £1500 respectively. These are hefty prices, but given the great filling levels, general condition of the bottles and stunning reputations of the whiskies, these seem like fair prices for these whiskies in today’s market. If you can afford to bid at these price levels I think these are no-brainer bottles to go for.
Other notable results around the £1000 mark were the 1966 Macallan Speymalt by Gordon & MacPhail at £1300. A strong result for this bottling and maybe a sign of higher interest in Speymalt series – an inevitability given their repute, content and the price of similarly aged official Macallans.
There was the Laphroaig 1968 Hart Brothers at £1250, the Ardbeg 1974 Signatory at £1300 and the Springbank 1979 Cadenhead white label at £1150. All of which were strong results for these particular bottlings.
Going down through the middle of the sale stand out results include the Signatory 1974 Bowmore at £825, the Glendronach 1960 23-year-old Connoisseur’s Choice at £825 and the Glen Garioch 1970 27-year-old single cask for £825. All of which are something of a climb on recent results for these bottlings.
The Lagavulin 1984 – 1995 SMWS 111.3 bottling at £800 also demonstrates just how powerful the combination of a big name distillery and a rarely seen SMWS bottle number can be. A similar whisky of that age and vintage from another bottler wouldn’t have climbed that high. Just as a 1960s bottle of Jameson Crested Ten Irish Whiskey at £725 demonstrated that demand for older Irish Whiskeys is starting to increase significantly. No doubt the surge of excellent older bottlings on the market, coupled with increased global interest and many new distilleries starting up is fuelling new collector interest.
Even in today’s market Macallan can continue to surprise. A pair of standard 1990’s 10-year-olds at £575 apiece seems eye-wateringly daft. Especially when there’s a Highland Park 1973 SMWS 4.87 just beneath it for £525.
All in all, this was a strong sale with a wide spread of excellent bottles – quite a few of them scarcely seen in today’s secondary market. As a result, prices were pretty high across the board. Even for bottlings, you might not think much of on the face of it. For example, a 1978 21-year-old Glenlossie at £310 seems pretty steep. But this just demonstrates the breadth of the buying audience that exists around the world for good old malt whiskies these days. It doesn’t look as if things are going to change anytime soon. Until next time.
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:
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