Talisker whisky online auction highlights

Time for another Whisky-Online Auction, at last! And as ever there’s loads of great stuff from the likes of Macallan, Talisker, Springbank and Caol Ila, so let’s crack on.

We’ll start as usual with Macallan, but with a twist – this is no ordinary Macallan! Between 1996-2000 Signatory bottled several famous Macallan 1966 sister casks and we’re delighted to have got our hands on one of the early ones: Macallan 1966-1997 30-Year-Old

This particular Macallan 1966 was bottled from Cask 4174, an ‘oak cask’ which doesn’t tell us much, but looking at the colour you’d have to say it was likely refill sherry or bourbon, and indeed these particular Signatory Macallans are famously more fresh and fruity than a typical OB Macallan from the same era with their full-on sherry dried fruit character that we all know and love.

If it’s that sort of sherry character you’re after, check out this Glenfarclas 1974 Family Casks 5786 – this is from the very first batch of Family Casks and it’s an absolute humdinger bursting with nutty, chocolatey notes from an exceptionally pure sherry cask. Astonishingly this Glenfarclas 1974 was bottled at 60.8% even after 32 years of ageing, so you can imagine the intensity of flavour you get here, this is one for the true connoisseurs.

You might think that was a done deal for people born in 1974 (or their unfortunate spouses or children) but no – they’re going to have some decisions to make this month, because there’s also the Dalmore 1974 Matusalem Sherry Finish! This excellent Dalmore was ‘finessed’, to use Mr. Paterson’s term, in a single sherry butt from the Gonzalez-Byass sherry house (arguably the greatest in Jerez), that had previously held Matusalem, their glorious 30-year-old sweet Oloroso sherry. Like Maestro Paterson himself, this whisky is outrageously smooth.

Sherry fans are really going to be spoiled for choice in this month’s auction, as we’ll see – and they’re not all from Speyside either! For starters, there’s the outstanding Highland Park 1977-2003 Scottish Field Merchants – a legendary single cask bottling chosen by a panel of luminaries including Regis Lemaitre, Duncan Elphick and Richard Joynson. This is exquisite stuff, rich and profound with more than a hint of smoke – one of the distillery’s high points since the turn of the century.

For those who like smoke and sherry, meanwhile, there’s also the Caol Ila 1969-2004 Private Collection, bottled at 45% by Gordon & MacPhail from a pair of sister refill sherry hogsheads distilled on 17th June 1969. Those must have been some epic hogsheads judging by the colour!

As it turns out, legendary indie-bottled sherry monsters are ten-a-penny this month (Auctioneer’s note: actual prices may exceed ten-a-penny) as the majestic Cadenhead’s Cask Strength Springbank 1979 makes a welcome return. Cask 470 was bottled at 56.1% and is one of around half a dozen of these sumptuous ‘distillery label’ Springbank single cask bottlings released by Cadenhead in the early 1990s. This is amazing juice, and all the more incredible for being so young.

Talisker 1956 Gordon Macphail auction highlightsRemarkably, that’s still not the end of this month’s smoke’n’sherry bonanza – we just can’t move on without pointing out the stunning Gordon & MacPhail Talisker 1956 Original Cask. Bottled in the 1980s at a natural cask strength of 54.4%, this Talisker – like the 1955 and 1957 vintage bottlings from the same bottler – is an extraordinary symphony of classic sherry packed with Talisker’s muscular phenols and fiery spices on a bed of remarkably potent oak. 

Talisker 1953 whisky online auction highlightsCompare and contrast that amazing Talisker with another slightly earlier G&M bottling: the early 1980s Talisker 1953, widely assumed to be a 30-Year-Old, bottled at 40% under the classic black ‘Eagle’ label. At 40% it lacks the brutal raw power of the Cask bottlings but somehow still retains a remarkable intensity of beautiful sweet and savoury sherry flavour.

We’ll never get tired of saying it: These golden era 1950s Taliskers, distilled on the original stills before the 1960 stillhouse fire, are really a class apart and the G&M Cask bottlings are some of the best of the best.

It’s not all sherried treasure this month, though – we’ve got some equally classy long-aged ex-bourbon casks, like this single cask Balvenie 1972 35-Year-Old. Cask 14832 was one of five sublime 1972 vintage sister cask Balvenies bottled in 2006 and was the last official 1972 Balvenie until 2016’s famous DCS Compendium edition. Just 150 bottles were yielded from the cask, so these are getting seriously rare now.

For old school Islay fans, meanwhile, this 1970s Bruichladdich is one to watch. An early NAS bottling from before the name existed and when no-one really cared as long as the whisky tasted good, which obviously this one does.

We’ve got plenty more than just single malts, of course – there’s some tremendous blends once again this month, such as this gorgeous spring-capped Black & White 1949 and the even older Dewar’s White Label 1939. Both of these beautiful bottles are in pretty amazing nick for their age and would grace any collection.

Finally, and staying with the very old bottles, we’ve unearthed this fantastic Walsh 1936 Bourbon, a straight bourbon bottled in bond in 1940. This is a fascinating bourbon, distilled not in Kentucky but in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, where James Walsh had established a distillery in 1933 immediately after the end of Prohibition. The level on this one is low, but thankfully it was bottled in bond at 100 US proof (50%) so there should still be plenty of gorgeous pre-war bourbon flavour still intact.

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


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