After an epic bidding battle that lasted over four hours past the scheduled finish, a cask of Macallan single malt whisky distilled in 1989 sold for an astounding £242,200 ($336,512) in our February auction. We reckon this is a world record for a cask of 1989 whisky!
As you’ll know if you’ve been following our previous blogposts, Cask 1248 is a refill sherry hogshead that has been maturing in one of the distillery’s official bonded warehouses since being filled in January 1989. It’s the ninth Macallan cask we’ve auctioned and the oldest one we’ve had so far.
The regauging done in December on this cask showed that it now holds approximately 257 standard 70cl bottles of whisky at a strength of 52.75% abv, with the hammer price equating to over £942 per bottle before commission, duty and bottling costs are added. The incredible price comfortably beats our previous records from last month when a 1990 Macallan of the same cask type fetched £135,100 at an equivalent bottle price of around £560. A larger cask of Macallan 1996 sold in the same auction for £168,300 (around £320 per bottle).
The price achieved by the Macallan 1989 represents a remarkable surge in value for casks from the distillery. A similar hogshead cask from the 1995 vintage sold for £52,100 only three months ago in November 2017. The sale is an astonishing return on investment for the previous owner of Cask 1248, who paid £2,700 for the cask in 1994 when the whisky was just five years old.
Our own Wayne Ormerod, founder of Whisky-Online Auctions, commented: “This was a superb sale. Macallan is a blue chip distillery known for its sherry casks, so it’s ideal for auctions like ours that specialise in the best quality older whiskies. It is great to see this level of demand for bonded casks of single malt from serious auction buyers. There were multiple bidders who were determined to secure Cask 1248, which is why the auction kept extending and the cask ended up going for such a fantastic price.
“We’ve been auctioning rare bottles of whisky for several years, so when the opportunity to start auctioning casks came along it seemed like a natural progression. It’s fair to say we’ve been very pleasantly surprised by just how successful it’s been.”
It’s amazing how quickly the prices of these casks has escalated – we only began selling bonded casks last July but the opportunity to own and bottle a ‘private’ cask has clearly been a big hit with our buyers. As well as the high-profile Macallan casks, we’ve also seen plenty of interest in casks of maturing whisky from distilleries including Isle of Jura, Tullibardine, Arran and even a 1990 vintage cask from Littlemill, a distillery which was closed and dismantled over twenty years ago.
“A cask of aged Macallan is an increasingly historic and valuable asset and will always fetch high prices, particularly as the old Macallan distillery will be closing later this year after production is switched to the new facility. That makes these casks representing the distillery’s golden era even more special,” said Wayne.
“The whisky is a great example of 1980s Macallan and the good news is that although it’s drinking very well now, it’ll definitely keep until its thirtieth birthday next year – if the buyer can wait that long to bottle it.
“This is a new and rapidly-growing part of our business and we expect these extraordinary prices will attract many other cask-owners keen to find out how much their own liquid gold could achieve at auction.”
An exceptionally rare wartime cask from 1943 has been unveiled as one of the oldest and most exclusive single malt whiskies in the world.
The Elgin-based malt whisky specialists today (2nd October 2017) announced the release of Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail , the latest offering in its ‘ Private Collection’ range. Only forty decanters will be available for sale globally, with a UK RRP of £30,000.
A small number of decanters will be available from Gordon & MacPhail’s historic retail shop in Elgin. Those purchasing a decanter at the South Street ‘spiritual home’ will also enjoy an exclusive tasting experience included in their purchase. Distilled on 14 January 1943, a crucial date in the history of World War Two, the new-make spirit was filled into a carefully selected Sherry hogshead at the renowned Speyside distillery. The release of Cask 121 also represents the last 1943 vintage from the Gordon & MacPhail stock inventory.
As the bung was being hammered into place in Cask 121, a world away in North Africa, Prime Minister Winston Churchill met President Franklin D. Roosevelt, General Charles de Gaulle, and General Dwight D. Eisenhower at the Casablanca Conference. The meeting discussed Allied strategy for the war in Europe. Historians came to view this meeting as critically important to the fate of the world for generations to come.
By the winter of 1943, the war had severely curtailed production of whisky in Scotland. Prices and duty were on the rise and rationing meant raw ingredients were in increasingly short supply. In fact, many Scottish distilleries were closed after October 1942; The Glenlivet Distillery itself halted production in the Spring of 1943. Mature whiskies from this period were in great demand so, by the late 1940s and early 1950s, available casks were extremely limited.
Rich chestnut brown in colour, Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail is a whisky of great balance and approachability. A full, fresh flavour of dark chocolate, oranges, and oakiness intermingles with treacle and liquorice and culminates with a subtle, ashy smokiness and an incredibly long finish.
Founded in 1895 in Elgin, Scotland, Gordon & MacPhail is the custodian of many of the oldest and rarest single malts in the world with an unrivalled stock inventory. The fourth generation of the Urquhart family uphold the same traditions and dedication to whisky maturation as the generations that came before them.
In 1943, Cask 121 was selected by John and George Urquhart, first and second generation of the Urquhart family, for filling at the Glenlivet Distillery. Stephen Rankin, a director of the company and John Urquhart’s great-grandson, made the decision to bottle it.
Stephen Rankin said: “This beautiful whisky has been nurtured and cared for by four generations of our family and it gives us enormous pleasure to release this unique and incredibly rare single malt.
“Gordon & MacPhail has been in the whisky business for over 122 years, with each generation building and handing on a lifetime’s expertise to the next. We believe Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail is a malt without comparison from a defining date in the history of a world in conflict.
“Today, whisky is a wonderfully unifying drink and this rare example gives people from across the world the chance to own and savour a defining piece of Scotland’s liquid history.”
Whisky writer and rare whisky specialist Jonny McCormick said: “Gordon & MacPhail is a singular whisky company emphasised by their incomparable capacity to draw on stocks from the 1940s. This is an unparalleled opportunity to acquire an exquisite whisky that embodies the concept of rarity. The remarkable complexity and vivid flavours that have developed over a lifetime in wood ensure this single malt Scotch whisky will make a handsome addition to the world’s finest whisky collections.”
Every detail of Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail alludes to the decades of experience and patience poured into nurturing the whisky to maturation.
The meandering River Spey provides a unique closure to the handcrafted wooden box. Hand blown and bespoke, the decanter itself is adorned with gold engravings of the contours of the land surrounding the Glenlivet Distillery.
Accompanied by a visually atmospheric commemorative book, written by whisky author Jonny McCormick, each decanter is individually numbered with a certificate of authenticity signed by Stephen Rankin, director and member of the Urquhart family.
Private Collection Glenlivet 1943 by Gordon & MacPhail was matured in a first-fill Sherry hogshead for seventy years. Only forty decanters, bottled at cask strength (49.1 ABV), have been released for sale worldwide. A limited number are available for purchase directly from the company’s ‘spiritual home’, the South Street Retail Shop, at an RRP of £30,000. Prices may differ in international markets due to local taxes and duty.
For more information, please visit www.gordonandmacphail.com.
Are you of legal drinking age in the country where you reside?
© Copyright Malt Marketing