Welcome to our August Whisky Auction Highlights! There’s some absolutely phenomenal bottles coming under the hammer this month, with amazing old Ardbeg, Brora, Port Ellen, Springbank and Glenugie from back in the golden era, so we’d best crack on.

Macallans Old & New

New and newish modern era Macallans this month include the 2019 release of Macallan 25-year-old, the 2021 Macallan 18-year-old, and Macallan Folio Archival 6, plus the replicas Macallan 1851 Inspiration and Macallan 1861, and one of the early bottlings of Macallan 21-year-old Fine Oak.

Older official Macallans in this month’s sale include 25-year-old Anniversary Malts Macallan 1965 and Macallan 1974 plus the little-seen 1990s Macallan Special Reserve, bottled at 46%, the delicious cask strength Macallan 1980-2001 Exceptional Cask and the marvellous turn of the ‘90s Macallan 10-year-old 100-Proof.

We’ll finish with some notable indie Macallans, including Douglas Laing’s Old Malt Cask Macallan 1988 15-year-old, Cadenhead’s Macallan 1976 19-year-old and the remarkable Signatory ‘inkpot’ dumpy Macallan 1966 30-year-old, part of an epic haul of wonderful old Signatory dumpies in this month’s auction, as we shall see.

As ever, this is just a small selection from the sale – check out all this month’s Macallan here.

Islay Magic

Some beautiful and very rare bottles from the magic Isle this month. Ardbegs are in abundance, with recent bottlings such as Ardbeg 1999 Galileo rubbing shoulders with some true all-time classics from the distillery, including Ardbeg 25-year-old Lord of the Isles and Gordon & MacPhail’s old Map Label Connoisseurs Choice Ardbeg 1964-1995 and Ardbeg 1974-1996, a pair of absolute stunners but the sherried 1964 is much rarer and will attract plenty of admirers.

This month’s haul of legendary Signatory bottlings has some sensational Ardbegs, including the pale Oloroso Ardbeg 1967 29-year-old and the dark Oloroso Ardbeg 1967 30-year-old Cask 1140 and Ardbeg 1967 30-year-old Cask 578, all sherry casks bottled at cask strength – and long known as some of the best sherried Ardbegs ever released. Click here for all this month’s Ardbeg.

Staying on the south coast, we have the familiar official Port Ellen 30-year-old 9th Release and the classic Port Ellen 21-year-old Maltings plus some lovely, little-seen indie Port Ellens including Scott’s Selection Port Ellen 1983-1997 at 56.9% and Port Ellen 1977-1996 at 58.9%, and another of the famous Signatory inkpot bottles, Port Ellen 1980 16-year-old – these young cask strength PEs are always a real treat.

Laphroaig fans will be chasing the lovely 1980s Laphroaig 10-year-old and yet another sensational Signatory dumpy, the Laphroaig 1966 30-year-old bottled in June 1996 at a tasty 48.7%. These 1960s Laphroaig vintages are getting rarer and rarer each year, so we expect strong competition for this one.

Remarkably, that’s not the rarest Laphroaig in this auction though – that honour goes to this amazing Laphroaig Old Liqueur Scotch Whisky, bottled in clear glass with a short screwcap in the 1960s at 80 imperial proof, which works out at 45.7% abv. Although there’s a few nicks and marks on the label this is a bottle in great shape for its age, and we’re sure that bidding will be fierce.

Bruichladdichs worth keeping an eye on include Scott’s Selection cask strength Bruichladdich 1986-1997, Blackadder’s Bruichladdich 1979-1996 and Gordon & MacPhail’s Cask Strength Bruichladdich 1969-1997, one of very few 1960s vintage Bruichladdichs bottled.

High quality miscellaneous Islays this month include the recent Bowmore 1995 26-year-old London Edition, a first fill oloroso cask bottled in 2021, plus Lagavulin 20-year-old bottled from refill and sherry-seasoned hogsheads for the 2020 Islay Festival that never was, Hunter Laing’s Old & Rare Platinum Bunnahabhain 1987 30-year-old, the superb Caol Ila 20-year-old 150th Anniversary and a pair of small batch Caol Ilas from a string of mighty sister casks, both bottled at over 62%: the Caol Ila 1981-1996 and Caol Ila 1981-1997 from Gordon & MacPhail’s Cask Strength series.

Sherried Treasure

Some lovely sherried drams to share with you in this month’s whisky auction, with official bottlings including Aberlour A’Bunadh Batch 10, a very rare early batch of this fabulous cask strength Aberlour released in 2003, plus the magnificent Flora & Fauna Cask Strength Dailuaine 1980-1997, the superb Aultmore 1981 16-year-old Centenary and the legendary Rare Malts Glenury Royal 1971 23-year-old bottled at a mighty 61.3%.

From our big stash of 1990s Signatory bottlings there’s also this dumpy Glenlivet 1973 22-year-old bottled in 1995 at a natural 56%, a very tempting Longmorn 1973 21-year-old and a ‘pale Oloroso’ Tamnavulin 1978 17-year-old at a hefty 59.6%.

Cadenhead’s, meanwhile, have a splendid cask strength Tamnavulin 1973 21-year-old and this amazing sherried grain Caledonian 1963-1984, while Gordon & MacPhail have the rich chestnut-coloured Distillery Labels bottling Longmorn 1995-1996 from back in the days when 40-year-old whiskies were still released in normal cardboard boxes.

Finally, two of our very favourite sherried drams this month are the mind-bendingly fruity Glenugie 1966 30-year-old by The Bottlers at 62.4%, and the utterly monstrous Adelphi Springbank 1964 32-year-old, an almost black whisky bottled in 1996 at its cask strength of 50.8%. You don’t need a crystal ball to predict a mighty tussle for these two.

Sensational Signatory Vintages

You’ll have gathered by now that this month’s auction is a special one for Signatory fans. It’s a testament to the collector’s taste that having mentioned so many extraordinary bottlings already, there’s still plenty more to tell you about. 

Highlights from the ‘inkpot’ bottlings include this 60.1% cask strength Millburn 1979 16-year-old, a very rare young malt whisky from the tiny Millburn distillery in Inverness that closed in 1985, plus Isle of Jura 1966 30-year-old, Glenury Royal 1975 23-year-old and another very rarely bottled distillery, Glenflagler 1972 23-year-old.

There’s some great Signatory Silent Stills bottlings as well, including Millburn 1974 22-year-old, Mosstowie 1976 21-year-old and Glenugie 1966 31-year-old and, last but not least, there’s the vanishingly scarce Signatory Rare Reserve Kinclaith 1969 35-year-old from one of Scotland’s most elusive unicorn distilleries. 

We’ve really only scratched the surface with these brief highlights – click here to see all the Signatory releases in this month’s auction.

Amazing Indies

It’s not just all about Signatory this month – there’s some wonderful 1990s and ‘00s bottlings from the other major players too. 

Gordon & MacPhail are particularly well-represented, as we’ve already seen above, but further highlights include Glenrothes 1961-1996 and 1960s vintages from lost distilleries including Glen Mhor 1963-1994 and Connoisseurs Choice editions of Caperdonich 1968-2007, St. Magdalene 1966-1994 and St. Magdalene 1966-1996, not to mention the return of the iconic Brora 1972-1995. Check out all this month’s Connoisseurs Choice whiskies and other Gordon & MacPhail bottlings.

Elsewhere, there’s dozens of superb Cadenhead’s bottlings up for grabs, with highlights including these amazing young cask strength Rosebank 1989 8-year-old and Brora 1982 14-year-old, plus Talisker 1979 16-year-old and the rarely seen Glenugie 1978 18-year-old and Convalmore 1977 20-year-old. See all this month’s Cadenhead bottlings here.

There’s some really classy old miscellaneous indies this month too, including The Bottlers’ incredibly rare Glenugie 1966 30-year-old half-litre, Douglas Laing’s Old Malt Cask Banff 1966 31-year-old, The Whisky Connoisseurs’ Highland Park 1977 19-year-old and Glenlivet 1973 25-year-old and Adelphi’s magnificent Longmorn 1969 30-year-old, a refill cask bottled at its impressive 56.7% cask strength.

Favourites and Curios

Some terrific stuff from Springbank this month, with choice curios including the limited edition Rundlets & Kilderkins Hazelburn 2003 10-year-old and Longrow 2001-2013, matured in tiny 68 litre casks. There’s also the much-loved 1990s Springbank 12-year-old 100-Proof and early 2000s Springbank 21-year-old and the small matter of the Springbank 1966-1997 Local Barley Cask 481, just one more all time classic dram to add to the list in this month’s superb whisky auction.

Returning favourites of note this month include a slew of SMD/Diageo Manager’s Dram bottlings, including the legendary Glen Elgin, Caol Ila, Oban and Clynelish sherried editions, plus this 1970s cream label Cardhu 12-year-old in a rare US Quart size (946ml) and Campbell & Clark’s Glen Mhor 1969 and Glen Mhor 1970, while this month’s rarities and curios include the Gordon & MacPhail mystery malt Glen Avon 1953 and the unicorn Ladyburn 1973 27-year-old

Half bottles of single malt were much more common twenty or thirty years ago, but you rarely see them nowadays – this month we’ve got lots of great half bottles including an official Springbank 12-year-old 100-Proof, Cadenhead’s Macallan 1976 19-year-old and some top class Cask Strength editions from Gordon & MacPhail including Port Ellen, Highland Park, Caol Ila and Benromach.

Grain-fanciers are very generously provided for this month, with ancient old drams including Scott’s Selection North of Scotland 1963-1998 and North of Scotland 1964-2007 alongside James Macarthur’s fantastic Lochside 1972 27-year-old.

Irish whiskey fans will be keeping tabs on the Bushmills 1975-2000 Millennium, American whiskey fans will be chasing the very rare old George Dickel Reopening 1964 and Japanese whisky fans will be rubbing their hands with glee over the Yamazaki 18-year-old, Yamazaki 25-year-old Sherry Cask and a miniature of one of the rarest and greatest Japanese whiskies ever made – the Karuizawa 1964 48-year-old, released in 2012 for the Polish investment company Wealth Solutions. 

This 48-year-old Karuizawa 1964 was bottled at cask strength from a single sherry cask #3603, yielding 143 70cl bottles and 200 of these miniatures. At the time of release Karuizawa 1964 48-year-old #3603 was the oldest ever bottling from the legendary Japanese distillery, and received universal acclaim.

That’s it for this month – Good Luck and Happy Bidding!


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