Welcome to the highlights of our last whisky auction of 2021! And we’d like to wish all our readers and auction customers a very happy festive season and best wishes for 2022!

There’s so much to get through – this is a special sale including hundreds of bottles from a remarkable collection amassed by a true connoisseur, with classic turn-of-the century Rare Malts and OB Bruichladdich, plus a treasure trove of mouthwatering indie bottlings from the likes of Port Ellen, Brora, Rosebank, Glenugie, Convalmore and many more, so we’d best get started.

Major Macallans

We have some absolute beauties from Macallan’s golden age, including Macallan 1958 25-Year-Old, Macallan 1958/59 25-Year-Old, Macallan 1967 18-Year-Old, Macallan 1968 25-Year-Old, Macallan 1969 25-Year-Old, Macallan 1971 25-Year-Old, 1980s Macallan 12-Year-Old, Macallan 10-Year-Old 100-Proof, a litre of Macallan 10-Year-Old Cask Strength and Macallan 1861 Replica

More recent releases include a Macallan 25-Year-Old Sherry Cask, a set of Macallan Edition Nos. 1-6, this year’s Macallan Harmony Rich Cacao and 2018’s Macallan Rare Cask Batch 3. There’s also some terrific indie Macallans such as Gordon & MacPhail’s licensed 1970s Macallan 15-Year-Old, G&M Macallan 1973-2006 Speymalt, Douglas Laing’s Old Malt Cask Macallan 1979 25-Year-Old and the cask strength Golden Cask Macallan 1987-2005. One to watch will be the deeply dark sherry cask full strength private bottling Macallan 1989-2010 for Peter Zacharias. 

Islay Magic

This will be a very special auction for Islay fans – we’ve got hundreds of stunning bottlings from the early years of this century, when the market was awash with incredible bargains. There are far too many to list here, but we’ll try and give you a flavour of what to expect.

Ardbeg fanciers will be watching the Ardbeg Guaranteed 30 Years Old, Ardbeg Lord of the Isles, the official Ardbeg 1975-2000 and Ardbeg 1977-2001, and the legendary Old Malt Cask Ardbeg 1975-2000 by Douglas Laing. Best of all is this glorious sherried Ardbeg 1976-2000 Cask #2392, a special bottle gifted by Ardbeg to the Scottish copywriter who came up with the concept and marketing for the Ardbeg Committee – check out the full story in the lot description.

Bunnahabhain fans will be eyeing up the classic Bunnahabhain 1968-2002 Auld Acquaintance and Bunnahabhain 1971 35-Year-Old bottled for the distillery’s 125th Anniversary. Bowmore aficionados will be chasing the new PX/Oloroso sherry-matured Bowmore 21-Year-Old Masters Selection Edition 1, a collaboration with Aston Martin, while for the purists we’ve got the canny drinker’s favourite Bowmore 17-Year-Old and another wooden box Bowmore Bicentenary edition just for good measure.

It’s a great sale for Port Ellen fans too, with the Port Ellen 1978 24-Year-Old Second Release, Parker’s ‘Pert Melon’ Port Ellen 1982-2007, Signatory’s Port Ellen 1978-2002 and a trio of the superb Bladnoch Forum PEs: Port Ellen 1982 24-Year-Old Cask 2461, Port Ellen 1982 24-Year-Old Cask 2462 and Port Ellen 25-year-Old Cask 2036

The undoubted highlight of this month’s Port Ellens, though, is the legendary Port Ellen 1982 19-Year-Old by mercurial indie outfit The Bottlers. The Bottlers are justly famous because almost everything they ever released was of sensational quality, and this Port Ellen is no exception: bottled in 2001 from a single refill sherry butt, this extraordinary cask yielded 570 bottles at an enormous 61.7%, and is one of the finest ever sherried PEs.

The greatest number of Islay treasures this month, however, are from Bruichladdich, with dozens of fantastic OBs – basically, if you made a wishlist of Noughties classic Bruichladdich releases, they’re probably here.  

Selected big hitters include the Bruichladdich 1984 Enlightenment 18-Year-Old, the historic Bruichladdich 1970-2001 ‘I Was There’ Valinch bottled at the distillery’s reopening ceremony on May 29th 2001, the Bruichladdich 1970 35-Year-Old 135th Anniversary bottling from 2006, Hart Brothers Bruichladdich 1966-2001 35-Year-Old, and the first edition Bruichladdich Octomore 1.1 but there’s also a comprehensive set of the more affordable minor gems such as Bruichladdich 3D Peat Proposal, Bruichladdich Infinity and Bruichladdich 1989 16-Year-Old Full Strength.

Other notable Islay drams this month include Douglas Laing’s rare Laphroaig 1985 15-Year-Old ‘Laudable’, Murray McDavid’s famous ‘Leapfrog’ Laphroaig 1987 12-Year-Old, the highly sought-after 1980s Lagavulin 15-Year-Old Ceramic and the return of the magnificent Syndicate’s Lagavulin 1979 40-Year-Old and their recent Laphroaig 1988 32-Year-Old.

Epic Rosebank and Brora

There’s plenty of top class United Distillers/Diageo drams from the late 1990s and early Noughties this month, with a string of tremendous Rare Malts Editions up for grabs.  Brief highlights include the Linkwood 1972 22-Year-Old, Royal Lochnagar 1972 24-Year-Old, Inchgower 1974 22-Year-Old, Clynelish 1974 23-Year-Old, Brora 1977-1998 21-Year-Old and Brora 1977-2001 24-Year-Old and Rosebank 1981 20-Year-Old.

The Rosebank and Broras above are just the tip of the iceberg for these distilleries in this month’s auction, with several more outstanding Brora and Rosebank bottlings coming under the hammer. This month’s Broras include the 2005 Special Releases Brora 30-Year-Old, plus Signatory’s sherried Brora 1981 23-Year-Old and Brora 1981 24-Year-Old, Ian Macleod’s dark sherry Brora 1982 20-Year-Old, Duncan Taylor’s Rare Auld Brora 1981 25-Year-Old, Dun Bheagan’s Brora 1980 23-Year-Old and no fewer than three standout Broras from Douglas Laing’s Platinum Selection: Brora 1970 32-Year-Old, Brora 1972 29-Year-Old and Brora 1977 26-Year-Old.

There’s some great Rosebanks too, with the Rare Malts edition above being joined by the 2007 Special Releases Rosebank 1981 25-Year-Old, the very rare Dormant Distillery Company’s Rosebank 1990 15-Year-Old, Murray McDavid’s Rosebank 1989 11-Year-Old and the late Matthew Forrest’s outstanding Rosebank 1992 for Pacific Caledonian, among others.

Amazing Indies

This month’s whisky sale is heavily-laden with simply amazing old indie bottlings, with some particularly exciting stuff from closed distilleries.  There are some superb early SMWS bottlings, for starters, with all of the following only the second ever SMWS bottlings from their respective distilleries: Imperial 1979 11-Year-Old SMWS 65.2, Aultmore 1984 12-Year-Old 73.2, Caperdonich 1980-1995 SMWS 38.2, Convalmore 1982-1992 SMWS 83.2, Glen Albyn 1978-1993 SMWS 69.2 and Tomintoul 1976-1991 SMWS 89.2

There’s not too many opportunities to try young Imperial or Convalmore nowadays, so there’ll be plenty of interest in these, and there are dozens more top class SMWS bottlings in the sale including the very rare Yoichi 1987-2006 SMWS 116.9 for the Japanese whisky fanciers.

It’s not just the SMWS, of course – all the major indie bottlers are well represented this month. Douglas Laing highlights include Glenury 1980 21-Year-Old, Clynelish 1983 23-Year-Old, and the epic sherried Coleburn 1980 20-Year-Old. Signatory, meanwhile, have a horde of fantastic drams in the sale, including Glenglassaugh 1967 38-Year-Old, Dallas Dhu 1970 30-Year-Old, Glenugie 1976 21-Year-Old, Imperial 1976 25-Year-Old (the Silent Stills version with miniature and replica bung) and for the grain-fanciers, the wonderful Cambus 1964 31-Year-Old.

Elsewhere, there’s the Murray McDavid Lochside 1981 18-Year-Old and the famous Springbank Cuvee 1965 & 1993 10-Year-Old, Duncan Taylor’s Glenugie 1981 25-Year-Old and Invergordon 1965 39-Year-Old, Cadenhead’s 1960s Glenlivet Pure Special and 1970s Old Vatted Malts 10-Year-Old and two more very rare whiskies from The Bottlers, Blair Athol 1976 23-Year-Old and Dalmore 1966 30-Year-Old.

Finally, as ever there are some outstanding Gordon & MacPhail bottlings this month, with brief highlights including the old map label Connoisseurs Choice St. Magdalene 1965, Glen Grant 1950-2007, the heavily-sherried Strathisla 1965-2014 – probably the perfect Christmas dram – plus the excellent Longmorn 1971-2004 and the rare Lochside 1991-2005 bottled for the 30th anniversary of the Montrose oil field. There are many more amazing G&M bottlings in this auction though, so make sure you check out the full list.

Sherried Treasure

We’ve got some epic sherried whisky this month, with the return of the splendid Mortlach 1980-1997 Flora & Fauna Cask Strength at 63.1%, one of the bottlings that earned the distillery its Beast of Dufftown moniker. Other officially-bottled sherried gems include the Oloroso sherry finished Glenmorangie 1963 22-Year-Old, an early Aberlour a’bunadh Batch 8, the Glendronach Appreciation Society’s Glendronach 1992 27-Year-Old and probably the greatest Tamnavulin ever bottled, the Matthew Forrest-selected Tamnavulin 1966 35-Year-Old from a Sandeman cream sherry butt.

The indies have chipped in with plenty of sherry monsters too, with brief highlights including Cooper’s Choice Glen Grant 1977 28-Year-Old, Gordon & MacPhail’s monstrous Cask series Longmorn 1973-2006, Murray McDavid’s fresh sherry butt Glenglassaugh 1986 20-Year-Old, Douglas Laing’s sumptuous sherry cask Tomatin 1967 33-Year-Old, Glen Grant 1976 30-Year-Old and the mahogany-coloured Probably Speyside’s Finest 1966 41-Year-Old Glenfarclas bottled in 2008.

Top-end Glenfarclas fans may find themselves torn this month – for the first time ever we’ve got the absolutely magnificent Glenfarclas 1955 Glencairn Decanter! This extraordinary Glenfarclas is exceptionally rare – only 100 decanters were produced for this gift set, bottled in the 1980s from a single sherry hogshead and presented in a gift box with six Glencairn crystal tumblers. This glorious dram was one of Glenfarclas’ first ever prestige bottlings and has an impressive reputation – sadly there can’t be too many of these left out in the wild, so bidding will probably be pretty fierce.

Favourites & Curios

There’s several welcome returnees this month, including the gorgeous 1990s dumpy Highland Park 25-Year-Old, the much-missed modern classic Springbank 2001 Rundlets & Kilderkins and an utterly stunning 1940s White Horse Blend.

We’ve also got some famous collector’s bottles, such as the cask strength Glenmorangie 1976 Concorde commemorative bottling, distilled on the day of Concorde’s first passenger flight in January 1976, the outstanding Glengoyne 1969 Vintage Reserve, Glenglassaugh 1973 Family Silver and the venerable Glenfiddich 1963, bottled exclusively for the Scottish market in 2001.

Away from Scotland, there’s the flowery-bottled Hibiki Master’s Select and Hibiki Japanese Harmony Limited Edition, plus Nikka Taketsuru 17-Year-Old and a remarkable vintage cognac from Lhéraud, the 1952 Domaine de Lasdoux Vieux Cognac.

Our favourite curio this month, though, is the remarkable Ben Nevis 1962 40-Year-Old Single Blend – bottled in 2002, this sensational dram dates from the days when Ben Nevis was one of only a handful of distilleries producing both malt and grain whiskies. For this bottling, the two spirits were blended at birth and then matured in a sherry cask for 40 years, meaning that this is a single cask single blended Scotch whisky – and there really aren’t too many of those. With the renewed surge of interest in Ben Nevis recently, this will definitely be one to watch.

That’s it for this month’s bumper Auction Highlights, and as ever we’ve only really scratched the surface – there are hundreds of absolutely fantastic bottles in this month’s epic sale – Good Luck, Merry Christmas and Happy Bidding!

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