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.
It would be fair to say that as far as single malt Scotch whisky goes, Highland Park is well just that little bit special. With its roots on the island of Orkney and with a heritage as much Viking as it is Scottish, the Highland Park distillery continues to produce some of the most remarkable whisky seen out of any Scottish distillery. Indeed Highland Park’s 25 year expression has triumphed on many occasion and no less so than when it was awarded the first ever 100-point score, along with the Chairman’s Trophy for Best of Category, by judges at Ultimate Beverage Challenge’s fourth annual Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York in 2013. The film below looks at the underlying core principles that make Highland Park whisky the success story that it is today.
Forget crummy ties and rubbish socks, get Dad a gift that he’ll really appreciate this Father’s Day. Whether it’s a bottle of his favourite single malt whisky, or something he’s never tried before, we’ve put together a collection of great liquid presents for him.
Is Dad a whisky enthusiast? A guy who appreciates the intricacies of flavour, get him a bottle of The Macallan Edition 4.
Founded in 1824, The Macallan is one of the worlds most admired and awarded single malt whiskies. This particular liquid has been made in collaboration with esteemed architects to reveal the structure of the whisky, drawing parallels on how brand new £140m distillery was created. It has been crafted from a combination of American & European oak casks giving it a zesty, vibrant and invigorating single malt that brings to the fore notes of rounded honey, sweet toffee and citrus fruits.
Does Dad like a decorated whisky? Look no further than Bowmore 15, which was voted Whisky of the Year 2018 by The Whisky Exchange. Matured in an incredible combination of both bourbon and sherry casks, it spends its final three years in Oloroso sherry casks, which give Bowmore 15 the rich, deep colour and warming finish.
Notes of toffee, treacle and chocolate make this delicious liquid a great gift someone looking to taste the best of the legendary Islay distillery’s millennial output
Available to buy from The Whisky Exchange
Is Dad a traditionalist? Does he like whiskies with pedigree and heritage? Well, Laphroaig 10 Year Old is what you’re looking for. It is the only single malt Scotch whisky to be awarded the Royal Warrant by HRH The Prince Of Wales, the ultimate seal of approval
Notable for its high levels of peat, Laphroaig 10 has a very distinct and unique flavour profile, with an earthy, tangy taste detailed with elements of sweetness. Unforgettable.
Wonderful neat or with a drop of water, but it’s also perfect in The Penicillin with lemon, ginger and honey.
Available to buy from Waitrose
Is Dad a Viking? Does he think he is? Because Highland Park 18 Year Old may be the gift for him. Highland Park was founded by the descendants of Vikings, whose influence can be seen on the bottle’s incredible design.
The 18 Year Old is one of the most consistently excellent malt whiskies of the past 10 years. Gentle peat, soft toffee, floral notes, and honey on the nose. It is fantastic neat or over ice, but it can also be great in an Orcadian Cooler, which includes lemon, elderflower and soda water.
But if Dad isn’t a single malt fan, fear not. One of these fabulous bottles will be perfect for him…
Maker’s Mark is a small-batch Bourbon handmade in Loretto, Kentucky using the same principles Bill Samuels Sr., first used in 1954. Made from red winter wheat it has a sweeter taste than most traditional Bourbons giving it a distinctive taste. With notes of oak, caramel, vanilla and spice it is best served on its own, or as part of an Old Fashioned, Moscow Mule or hot Apple Cider.
Maker’s is distilled for six years before being bottled and sealed with red wax to give it a distinctive look, it is a great gift for a bourbon-loving father.
Founded in 1809 by Emmanuel Courvoisier, Courvoisier is the only Cognac house to still control the entire process from grape to glass. Made from a blend of several crus it has a more delicate taste than most Cognac’s giving it a distinctive taste. With notes peach, toasted almonds and jasmine it is the ideal spirit to enjoy this winter. Best served neat, or mixed with ice and water or as part of a long drink, such as the Courvoisier Espresso Martini.
Available to buy from Sainsbury’s
During the latter half of the 19th century, Andrés Brugal Montaner — a Spanish expatriate who had emigrated to Cuba — uprooted his family moved to Dominican Republic. Today, the fourth and fifth generations of Brugal’s direct descendants honour his name as personal guardians of the entire rum-making process at Brugal & Co.
Made from fresh, raw sugar cane, which is hand-cut from plantations across the Dominican Republic’s countryside, Brugal 1888 Ron Gran Reserva Familiar Rum has a dark, amber hue, along with an aroma of milk chocolate, roasted coffee and dried apricots.
It is crafted to be a sipping rum, best enjoyed at Dominican room temperature, a delicious 26 degrees which really unlocks the complexity of this incredible drink.
Available to buy from the Whisky Exchange.
The Macallan has introduced The Macallan 72 Years Old in Lalique – The Genesis Decanter – a remarkable new limited edition whisky to celebrate the new Macallan Distillery and Visitor Experience.
An exceptionally rare Macallan 72 Years Old single malt, The Genesis Decanter is the oldest whisky ever released by the Distillery to celebrate a seminal moment in the history of The Macallan.
The Genesis Decanter is inspired by and honours a new dawn, defined by a truly magnificent architectural masterpiece. Presented in a bespoke crystal decanter handcrafted by Lalique, it is a celebration of the collaboration of masters from across the fields of whisky, crystal, architecture, construction and craftsmanship and marks a new beginning in The Macallan story.
For nearly two centuries the mastery of exceptional whisky making has been at the heart of The Macallan Estate and the new Distillery and Visitor Experience, designed by internationally acclaimed architects, Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, embodies the care, passion and superior craftsmanship that goes into every drop of The Macallan.
Distilled back in the 1940s, The Macallan 72 Years Old is a peerless spirit which began its journey to maturation during the optimistic post Second World War period and this atmosphere of reinvention inspired the new Distillery and the whisky and design of The Genesis Decanter.
For its seventy-two years of maturation, the deceptively light colour hints that this is not an ordinary single malt. Reminiscent of a time gone by, it carries an exquisite balance of strong, sweet oak with the peaty spirit shaping its refined character. The whisky delivers surprise after surprise as aromas of fruit follow distinctive hints of peat, all the way through to the back of the mouth where it is finished off with a lingering hint of rich fruit and oak.
Nick Savage, The Macallan Master Distiller, said: “The Macallan 72 Years Old is an incredibly rare single malt defined by years of dedication and craftsmanship. As the oldest whisky we have ever bottled, this is a truly momentous occasion to commemorate our remarkable new Distillery. Although delicate throughout all aspects, it provides an intense experience which acknowledges the distinguished history of The Macallan.”
Lalique has captured the character of the new architectural wonder in crystal, incorporating the clean lines and natural curves of the new Distillery. The smooth curvature of the unique roof structure defines the decanter’s design, suggestive of the building rising and falling from the ground. Marrying together modern techniques with traditional skills, each decanter is handcrafted by master craftsmen who elevate the complex crystal making process to create a stunning art piece.
Ken Grier, Creative Director for The Macallan, said: “Our wonderful new Distillery is both a tribute to the traditions of our whisky and its natural Speyside environment, and a future-facing vision, looking forward to the next chapter of The Macallan. Lalique have a deep and true understanding of The Macallan, having been our partner for over a decade. Their interpretation of this design masterpiece in crystal is beyond exceptional. Their mastery and creativity never ceases to amaze and inspire us and our extraordinary collaboration is reflective of the highly meaningful part Lalique have played in the story of The Macallan.”
Silvio Denz, Chairman of Lalique, said: “Lalique is very honoured to be associated with such an important moment in the story of The Macallan, with the creation of this commemorative decanter. Our long-term partnership with The Macallan, which started over a decade ago, is based on shared values of excellence, craftsmanship and creativity; and the truly spectacular and never-before-seen architecture of the new Distillery & Visitor Experience has been highly inspiring for the design of the decanter.”
The Genesis Decanter is housed in a bespoke presentation case, designed by Burgess Studio and inspired by the interior of the Distillery, with a curved wooden roof over the decanter, and a footprint taken directly from the circular layout of the three new stillhouses. Handcrafted from the finest materials by The Royal Warrant holding cabinet makers, NEJ Stevenson, using only sustainably sourced timbers, the exterior is waterfall bubinga, with each bowl carved from mahogany layered with light maple. All drawer linings and fitments are hand-applied in pure suede and fabric, with latches and hinges in solid brass.
The Macallan 72 Years Old single malt will be rolled out globally from August 2018 and will be limited to 600 decanters worldwide, priced at US$60,000 per 70cl decanter.
For further information visit www.themacallan.com
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