Earlier in August, Whisky-Online concluded their July auction recording some notable hammer prices in the process. With more and more investors and collectors turning to the secondary whisky market to buy and sell, auctions such as Whisky-Online provide the perfect platform for buyers and sellers to interact. Below Whisky-Online share some of the results from their recent July auction.
The last time we sold a Dalmore 50-year-old was in May 2017 when it fetched an impressive £18,600. Fifteen months later, last night, bottle number one finished up at £28,000 on the nose. At one time such a result would have been pretty staggering but it says a lot about the nature of today’s secondary market that these kinds of serious five-figure sums have become almost ubiquitous. Still, this is an impressive result no doubt and shows that whiskies of genuine and deserved legend such as the Dalmore 50 are going nowhere but up. There is in fact almost an argument that it always makes sense to buy them if you can because they will only ever be more expensive. Say this same whisky turns up again in five months time. Would it make sense to buy it for, say, £38,000 – 45,000? I would argue that it would because the year or two after you can most likely sell it for £60,000. It’s just a matter of cash flow really. Which brings us back to the reality that, at this level, whisky is very much a commodity and a rich person’s game.
Once again Macallan displayed impressive strength and consistency at the top level of the sale. £20,000 on the nose for the 1946 Fine & Rare, £4000 for the 1958 Anniversary Malt and – somewhat bewilderingly – £3600 for the Diamond Jubilee. This is the thing about Macallan, you can understand it when the whisky in question is of the stunning, old style sherried variety, it’s somewhat more bizarre when it is, essentially, a contemporary NAS single malt. Such is the power of the name.
In fact, save for two bottles, one of which was the Dalmore 50, Macallan dominated the entire top end of the sale all the way down to a Springbank 1964 Cadenhead 34-year-old at a healthy, and somewhat unsurprising, £2500. In between all that one of the most interesting, and telling, high results were for John Scott’s 1965 35-year-old Highland Park which finished up at £3300. I remember buying the 42-year-old in this series in London in 2008 for £180 and subsequently drinking it. Given the quality of the whisky in these John Scott Highland Park bottlings, it seems retrospectively obvious that they would end up at such prices.
It was good to see the Glenfarclas 105 40-year-old back, hitting a healthy £2150 after a reasonable period of absence. Similarly, the Mortlach 1936 45-year-old and MacPhail’s 1938 45-year-old both did well at £1950 and £1900 respectively.
Springbank 12-year-old 100 proof bottlings from the 1990s have sat around the £1000 mark for quite some time now, so it was interesting to see one last night finish up at £1850 – exactly the same as the 22-year-old Cadenhead dumpy Springbank. This looks like it could well represent a bump up to a new trading level for this bottle, something not underserved considering what a legendary whisky it is.
The Lagavulin Syndicate 38-year-old appears to be holding strong at £1600. Another of quite a few Springbanks in this sale, the 1969 Signatory 28-year-old, performed well at £1150. Similarly, independent Macallans are increasingly chasing their official siblings up the auction levels with three Douglas Laing 30-year-old single casks fetching £1100 and £1050 respectively.
The Ardbeg Mor 1st edition was back on strong form at £900. And the long-awaited inaugural bottling of Daftmill single malt looks like a strong future classic, trading as it is already at £625. The Ardbeg 1975 and 1977 official vintage releases at £600 and £575 respectively showed good solid growth for these old classic bottlings.
Other strong results were a 1947 White Horse for £490, although for the historic nature of this liquid this also still seems like a good price for a drinker as well. The Cragganmore 17-year-old Manager’s Dram and the Glen Elgin 16 Manager’s Dram both did well at £450 and £525 respectively. This whole series is on the upward move so it’s nice to see these two slightly underrated examples getting the attention they deserve.
Similarly, Glen Ord, another seriously underrated distillery, saw one of the best examples ever bottled fetch an impressive £410. Although, if you ask me, this still represents good value for the liquid. Old Balblairs are another area where plenty of examples were arguably too cheap for too long, it seems this is changing as well. The 1974 ‘Highland Selection’ Balblair fetched a solid £390.
Although, at the same price levels one of the bargains of the sale was the Strathisla 35-year-old Bicentenary for £390. Given this is known to be a 1947 Strathisla it’s a terrific price for a drinker. Similarly, the Ardbeg 1974 23 year old by Signatory for £360 was also something of a steal.
Looking further down the sale there is the usual mix of solid consistency, some bewildering results – I still don’t get why people are paying £280 for a litre of 1990s Scapa 10-year-old – and a tiny smattering of bargains. A Glenlochy 1980 27 year old by Part Des Anges looks good at £270 and a rare Laphroaig 10-year-old bottled for Japan around 1990 also looks good at £245.
Largely though, scrolling from around the £300 – £80 level of the sale, you’re mostly reminded of just how much has changed on the secondary market over the past two years. Bottles like litres of old 15-year-old Glendronach. The kind of thing you used to be able to pick up for £40-60 for so long, now trading at £130. While at the same time you can still get bottles like Tormore 1983 28 year old by the SMWS for £135. It’s a funny old whisky world. Thankfully it’s still also a lot of fun!
Show Launches Oldest Whisky Mortlach 75YO, New High Roller Day
ATLANTA, GA xxxxx – The Universal Whisky Experience, the world’s first luxury whisky tasting show, is scheduled for March 2- 5, 2016 at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas. Founded six years ago by real estate developer and whisky enthusiast Mahesh Patel, the memorable experience is now a four-day destination event with exclusive tastings of the world’s finest whiskies for connoisseurs and collectors alike, and intimate opportunities to mingle with Master Distillers and Blenders. This year’s show will include special surprises to celebrate the 6th anniversary of this event.
“Whisky enthusiasts value curated experiences as well as rarity and exclusivity, says Patel. “For this year’s event, one of the highlights is the exclusive launch of the world’s oldest whisky Mortlach 75YO by Gordan & Macphail, a new High Roller Day, epicurean evenings, and a new Whisky speed dating event” he added.
Brand Master Classes hosted by Master Distillers and Blenders will be held Friday, March 4th before the Nth 2016 tasting show where they will share experiences, knowledge, and rare sips with guests.
Guests can enjoy a menu of one of a kind experiences, including:
• A walk-around tasting featuring the world’s most distinguished and coveted whiskies
• New High Roller Day to be held Thursday, March 3rd features Private Suite tastings for the High Roller Super Pours, the rare “Super Pours” representing whiskies valued at more than $ 3,000 a dram
• Exclusive Brand Master Classes hosted by Master Distillers and Blenders on Friday, March 4th before the Nth 2016 tasting show including a Johnny Walker Blending Experience as well as Master Classes on Saturday, March 5
• An exclusive Glenlivet Whisky Dinner at Joel Robuchon restaurant at MGM Grand will kick-off the four-day Universal Whisky Experience in Las Vegas
• New High Roller Whisky speed dating event at Tableau restaurant at Encore at Wynn Las Vegas
• New highlights from brands and launches at the show include Bespoke Spirits introduction of Prometheus
• Intimate access to meet the makers of the best whiskies in the world
This year’s event will also showcase some of the world’s most expensive bottles of scotch. Total value of whiskey that will be showcased are estimated over $3 Million.
Guests can select from three weekend experience levels:
• High Roller Experience –Thursday, March 3 – March 5 at $2,495.00. The premium package includes exclusive access to all show event and tastings including: New High Roller Day on Thursday, March 3rd with Private Suite Tastings and Exclusive High Roller Super Pours, Private Events with other High Rollers, One-on-one meetings with brand ambassadors, Whisky Speed Dating event at Tableau restaurant, All Super Pours at the Nth 2016 main tasting show, Nth 2016 Show and Gourmet Dinner Event, Master Classes, Unparalleled High Roller Gift Bag.
• Connoisseur Experience – Friday, March 4 at $525.00. Guests seeking a high-touch experience with a few extra indulgences without going over the top will enjoy the main tasting show, hors d’oeuvres, and opportunity to attend a special event on Friday, March 4.
• The Companion Experience – Friday, March 4 at $295.00. Companions can enjoy the show for the Experience on Friday, March 4. Instead of whisky they can enjoy premium red and white wines, Champagne, hors d’oeuvres, and receive a souvenir Glencairn engraved champagne flute.
“The Universal Whisky Experience is one-of-a-kind access to sips of rare whiskies, often poured by the Master Distiller himself,” says Patel. “The event provides a forum for whisky enthusiasts and collectors to trade notes on their own purchases and collections,” he said. Complete program information and ticket sales can be found at www.universalwhiskyexperience.com.
About The Universal Whiskey Experience:
The Universal Whisky Experience was founded by C.E.O. Mahesh Patel, a successful commercial real estate developer in Atlanta, Georgia. Patel’s great passion in life is whisky, namely “Scotch” whisky. A connoisseur and enthusiast, he frequently attends exclusive whisky events and gatherings both domestically and abroad. He is an avid collector of fine and rare whiskies. Mahesh found a need in the marketplace and leveraged his special relationships to create The Universal Whisky Experience, the world’s most luxurious whisky event.
Laura Baddish, The Baddish Group
212 221 7611, ext. 304; email@example.com
The first whisky shop of its kind in the UK, Hard To Find Whisky (HTFW) is located in Birmingham’s historic Jewellery Quarter, an easy ten minute walk from the city centre and New Street and Snow Hill Stations, or two minute’s walk from the dedicated Jewellery Quarter station.
With parking right outside the shop and comfortable seating inside people can really enjoy the HTFW experience. With the largest collection of whiskies in-store than any other retailer in the county, HTFW boasts 3,000 bottles out on display, with 100’s of those from silent distilleries.
Priding themselves in their rare and collectables range, HTFW also stock all the latest releases from the world’s most well-known brands. With prices starting at £25 for an entry level single malt and going up to £35,000 for a rare Macallan 50 year old.
With an excellent range of miniatures, whisky gifts and glassware, HTFW also offer 14 unique, in-store master classes which are available as walk-ins, for pre-booked groups or to purchase as gift vouchers. These are taken by their in-house experts and are available for individuals and up to groups of 20 people. At a cost of £20 per head for a beginners guide to whisky increasing to £1,000 per head for a chance to try some really rare Port Ellen bottling’s as part of the ‘Whiskies Most Wanted’ class.
For more information see:
Abbey Whisky prides itself on providing its customers with the highest level of customer service, striking the perfect balance of personal touch and professionalism. This personal approach has helped Abbey Whisky establish a very strong and loyal International customer base.
Customer experience is of the upmost importance to Abbey Whisky and this is reflected in the exceptional customer service received at every stage of the customer journey, beginning at the enquiry stage, through secure transaction to the safe, fully trackable and efficient delivery of goods. This service is demonstrated in the excellent customer reviews posted by customers on the independent review site Trust Pilot
We have designed the Scotch whisky website with the customer experience in mind. We offer a freephone number (0800 051 7737) for our customers to get in touch and pride ourselves in responding to whisky enquiries within a very short time frame. Category filters are in place to refine whisky searches and ensure easy navigation around the store. Customers can also ensure they find that special scotch gift by using our Birthday & Celebration page. Customer interaction and discussion is encouraged via our on-site whisky blog, customers can also give their opinions on the products that we stock via our customer reviews section found under every malt whisky that we stock.
We continue to focus exclusively on rare, collectable and old whisky and have expanded our offering geographically to incorporate a broad selection of international whisky (whiskey) from such countries as Ireland, New Zealand, Japan, India, Sweden, America, England & South Africa. To compliment this area, we’ve also implemented a currency convertor and Tax Free Shopping for all International customers & supply a very competitive fast and secure International delivery service.
Recently we launched our own series of Scotch malt whiskies, bottled under the Abbey Whisky label.
The Secret Casks a trio of single malt Scotch whiskies, aged 30, 40 and 50 years old matured at Speyside’s finest distilleries. A cracking range of exceptional drams.
The Rare Casks an exceptional range of limited edition single malt whiskies bottled exclusively by Abbey Whisky. We’ve bottled only the finest whisky from a selection of Scotland’s greatest distilleries past & present. Each release is available in very limited quantities. The whisky has been bottled in its natural form, at full cask strength, without chill filtering or colour additives.
With the Help of Bonhams, Malt Marketing Looks into the Subject of Rare Whisky
Bonhams Whisky Dept
What do tasters look for in a particularly exceptionally collectable batch of whisky?
As with most products, reputation, scarcity and exclusivity are very important. Ultimately a point of difference from the expressions that are more readily available all year round, perhaps a unique maturation story or a limited production run.
Do whisky collectors tend to be investors with excellent wine cellars already or is it a different type of investor entirely?
There’s bound to be some overlap. The appeal of investing in a bottle of something highly revered, limited and of the highest quality applies to both categories. It is worth remembering that collecting whisky is a relatively recent phenomenon. The first stand alone whisky auctions, for example, were held in the late 1980s. Until then, whisky was routinely lumped in with other spirits and often included in wine sales. Since then, interest has soared. The highest priced bottle in the first ever dedicated whisky auction held in Glasgow in 1989, for example, was £3,300 for an unusual blended scotch. Earlier this year, a bottle of Glendiffich Janet Sheed Roberts Reserve was sold in New York for $94.000.
What tips do you have for first time whisky collectors looking to start a portfolio?
This depends to some extent on your motivation. If it’s to drink, then buy what you like drinking and gradually refine your palette as you become more experienced. If it’s to collect, the usual advice is to buy the best you can afford but, of course, some collectors will be buying to plug gaps in their collections.
If it’s an investment, do your homework as you would with any purchase. Start with the main range, available in any good whisky specialist. Then progress on to a Distillery exclusive bottling – this is a great place to start as by their very nature they are limited. These are available at a range of price points to suit any budget.
And, of course, exercise the normal precautions. Forgeries, for example, are not common but if you are in any doubt consult the relevant distillery. They are usually happy to provide information to anyone who asks.
How should a collector store their whisky safely?
Whisky should be stored out of direct heat or sunlight, so as not to undergo evaporation. Corked bottles should be storedupright, avoiding contact between the cork and the spirit inside..
How long should collectors hold onto their rare whisky before they could sell and see a return on their investment?
This is a difficult question to answer because it totally depends on the bottle in question. As with anything bought specifically as an investment, it is sensible for the investor to keep a close eye on the performance of his or her portfolio. There are now many magazines and blogs devoted to whisky and whisky collecting which offer statistics and advice. Whisky auctions provide another source of information. By studying the movement of prices over a period, and talking to the specialists collectors can gain some idea of how their portfolio may perform if brought to market. It’s worth adding that auction houses are usually careful to stick to the facts and not to make specific investment recommendations – that has to be for the judgement of the collector.
With international brands now able to command impressive premiums, is the home of whisky still Scotland?
Absolutely! Japanese, Irish, American, Canadian whiskies are great but whisky is synonymous with Scotland and Scotland with whisky! The romance and history of whisky is entirely bound up with Scotland (it’s called Scotch – sometimes – for a reason) and it’s difficult to see how that will ever lose its appeal.
Do you see whisky collecting as becoming a rival to wine?
(There really isn’t much more to say here that isn’t said above – it’s too similar a question)
What has made whisky so collectable in recent times?
A whole variety of reasons. A greater appreciation and understanding of how much love, time and craft goes into creating this wonderful spirit. A broadening of its appeal – consumers are increasing willing to try new spirits – particularly spirits with genuine heritage and provenance and most importantly a robust and complex taste. It is also, of course, the case that some buyers, especially at the high end of the market, see whisky as an investment rather than as something to drink and the seemingly inexorable rise in prices is fuelling demand among this group.
What is the future of the whisky investment market?
Cast iron predictions are never sensible in any walk of life but over the past 10 years the upward trajectory has remained remarkably smooth with new markets opening especially in the Far East. Since the sale of The Folsom Collection in 2010, for example, prices in Hong Kong have continued to rise with collectable single malts in particular of greater demand. In Edinburgh and New York, prices have been driven up by competition from buyers located in the Far East and USA in addition to the continued interest from European buyers. The fact that Bonhams and other auction houses are registering 90% sold across the range of prices suggest continued demand – but nothing in life is certain and investing in whisky requires the same level of common sense as anything else.
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