Welcome to our Auction Highlights for August 2020! There’s a slew of fantastic bottles from the likes of Talisker, Macallan, Lagavulin, Glendronach and many more, so we’d better get cracking.
Classic Collectable Whisky
We’ll start with a bang: Classic whiskies in this auction include Ardbeg Lord of the Isles 25-Year-Old, the famous Ardbeg 21-Year-Old Committee Release, Lagavulin 25-Year-Old 200th Anniversary and Lagavulin 1976-2013 37-Year-Old, not to mention Rare Malts Clynelish 1972 24-Year-Old, Brora 38-Year-Old, a mid-’90s Springbank 21-Year-Old, 1970s Talisker 8-Year-Old and the sensational Highland Park 1967-1991, an all-time great from the distillery’s golden age. Phew!
It’s a bonanza for well-heeled Islay whisky fans this month, with the stunning Bowmore 1961 50-Year-Old, the remarkable Bowmore 1967-2008 40-Year-Old and the original Black Bowmore 1964 First Release, as well as the small matter of the epic Ardbeg 1974-1997 Double Barrel gracing the auction stage.
Macallan And More…
As ever, there’s plenty for Macallan fans with recent releases including Macallan Edition No. 2, Macallan Edition No. 3, Macallan Edition No.5, Macallan Chairman’s Release bottled for China, Macallan Folio Archival Series 4, Macallan Folio Archival Series 5, Macallan 21-Year-Old Fine Oak, Macallan Classic Cut 2018 and Macallan Rare Cask.
For the classic Macallan purists, meanwhile, there’s Macallan 25-Year-Old Anniversary Malt, Macallan 1964 25-Year-Old, Macallan 1966 25-Year-Old, Macallan 1974 25-Year-Old, Macallan 1983 18-Year-Old, Macallan 1989 18-Year-Old, Macallan 1993 18-Year-Old, a litre of 1990s Macallan 12 Year Old, Macallan 10-Year-Old Speaker Martin and a full set of the Macallan Travel Series.
Sherry fans will be also making a beeline for the early Aberlour a’bunadh Batch 6 bottled in 1999, the Glenfarclas 1975-1995 presentation set, Oban 16-Year-Old Bicentenary Managers’ Dram, Coopers Choice Glenlivet 1972 30-Year-Old, 1970s Glenfarclas-Glenlivet 8 Year Old 105 Proof and, for those with deeper pockets, one of the greatest Glendronachs: Glendronach 1968-1993 25-Year-Old.
Beautiful Old Blends
We’ve got a trio of very old bottles of blended Scotch this month. First up is this 1940s Old Angus Liqueur Scotch Whisky, which has an interesting neck label explaining “War risks necessitate bottling in any part of the UK” so we can safely date this bottle between 1939-45.
Slightly trickier is the Clan McDiarmid, which says it is “Guaranteed full pre-war strength – 25 Under Proof”. Obviously this means that it’s 75 proof (around 43%), but given that the bottle seems older than the Old Angus we reckon this is most likely from the 1920s or early 1930s.
Finally we have the Edinburgh merchant Hodder & Co.’s Extra Special Scotch Whisky bottled around the 1940s. This bottle is in great condition – we love the simplicity of this label, and of course the fact that it states ‘Matured in Sherry Wood’ will make it very highly sought-after.
Great Independent Whiskies
This month’s Gordon & MacPhail treats include the early Connoisseurs Choice Dailuaine 1963 18-Year-Old and Benrinnes 1968 14-Year-Old, plus Linkwood 1954, the chestnut-coloured sherried Glenburgie 1954 30-Year-Old Connoisseurs Choice, and Glenburgie 1966-1993 from the Cask Strength series, bottled at a hefty 57.6%. This month’s G&M highlight, though, has to be the Mortlach 1938 44-Year-Old – the modest brown-label Connoisseurs Choice version of one of G&M’s finest triumphs.
Time for a real curio, and a genuine rare treasure: Miltonhaugh (Balmenach) 1966 28-Year-Old, bottled in the mid 1990s by The Whisky Connoisseur, who were also responsible for some of the legendary Bowmore/Largiemeanoch bottlings. This extraordinary whisky, still astoundingly potent at 63.5% despite 28 years ageing, was opened and shared by a particularly generous attendee during Old & Rare Glasgow a few years back and it quietly stole the show before garnering an enormous 96 point score from Whiskyfun. A few of us on the stand were fortunate to try it and were blown away – a perfect example of how rewarding opening an obscure whisky can be.
Miscellaneous indie treats this month include the Mackillop’s Choice Longmorn 1972-2002 from sherry wood, an SMWS Glenfarclas 1965-2005, Signatory’s Macallan-Glenlivet 1968-1995 and several excellent First Cask bottlings including Macallan-Glenlivet 1975 20-Year-Old, Glendronach 1975 23-Year-Old, Benriach 1976 27-Year-Old, Glenlivet 1976 24-Year-Old, Highland Park 1976 25-Year-Old and Tomatin 1976 18-Year-Old.
Lost Distillery Gems
A lot of great stuff from silent stills this month, including Rare Malts North Port 1979-1999, Gordon & MacPhail’s Glen Mhor 1965-2007, plus Connoisseurs Choice Glenlochy 1968 14-Year-Old, Glenlochy 1968-2006, Convalmore 1981-1998 and a very unusual single cask refill sherry St. Magdalene 1975-2006 bottled at 46% for RMW.
Elsewhere there’s the Private Cellar’s North of Scotland 1973-2005 and Millburn 1983, a privately-bottled Glen Mhor 1967-1986, Signatory’s Glenglassaugh 1976-2006 and a sherried single cask Inverleven 1967-2003, bottled at 46% and Duncan Taylor’s Mosstowie 1975-2006, made on Lomond stills at Miltonduff distillery once upon a time.
Rarer still is one of the original ‘unicorn’ malts – Dunglas, which was produced for just a couple of years at the (now also lost) Littlemill distillery. This Signatory Vintage Littlemill 1967-Dunglass 1967 set was bottled in 2003 and comes up very rarely.
Bourbon & Irish Whiskeys
We’ve got some great whiskey this month, with Midleton Very Rare 1985 (the second ever release of this whiskey) and later releases from 1990, 1998 and 2003. Rarer still is the exceptional Coleraine 1959-1993 34-Year-Old, a full strength single cask single malt from the Coleraine distillery, which ceased malt production in 1964.
Bourbon fans, meanwhile, will be eyeing the Wild Turkey 15-Year-Old American Spirit, this old dumpy bottle Eagle Rare 10 Year Old 101 Proof and the more familiar Eagle Rare 17-Year-Old from 2001, while for Stizel-Weller fanciers there’s the Old Weller 7-Year-Old 107 Proof, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye, Pappy Van Winkle 20-Year-Old and Pappy Van Winkle 23-Year-Old.
My favourite bourbon in this month’s auction, though, has to be the Waterfill and Frazier 1916 18-Year-Old 100-Proof, an extraordinary bottle containing bourbon whiskey distilled before Prohibition and bottled in 1934 immediately after the Volstead Act had been voided, so the label still has a heavy ‘medicinal’ emphasis. We make no apologies for saying that the ‘liquid history’ cliche applies here, quite literally.
Favourites And Curios
One of our favourite favourites and one of the most curious of curios: Lochside 1964-2006 Single Blend, one of a handful of bottlings that contains both single malt and grain whisky made at this wonderful lost distillery. These tropical fruitbombs are hugely popular, and while we’re talking blends, let’s not forget the Compass Box Flaming Heart, a more modern blend with a cult following.
Another classic is this early Talisker 25-Year-Old bottled for the 2004 Special Releases, the same year the last of the much-beloved 1970s-distilled ‘round bottle’ Highland Park 25-Year-Old appeared. Great value whiskies include turn of the century Bowmore 17-Year-Old, a couple of bottles of the Lagavulin 16-Year-Old White Horse and Lagavulin Jazz Festival 2016.
Older bottlings include the legendary 1980s ‘cognac bottle’ Balvenie Founder’s Reserve 10-Year-Old and 1990s Balvenie 21-Year-Old Port Wood – a rare one at 43% – as well as the 1990s litre bottle of Glenmorangie 10-Year-Old 100 Proof, an unusual high strength official bottling for travel retail and the much-loved Clynelish 17-Year-Old Managers Dram from 1998. Last but not least, there’s this very unusual Linkwood 1955 23-Year-Old, a distillery bottling for Italy in the late 1970s.
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