Our May Whisky Auction Is Now Live

Welcome to our May Auction Preview! As ever, we’ve got hundreds of great bottles in this month’s auction, so without further ado here’s a quick rundown of some of the most interesting lots.

We’ve another cask this month – a Tobermory hogshead, which has been maturing in bond at Deanston since being distilled in December 1995. The cask was regauged last month and contained approximately 196 bulk litres at 54.2%. If you would like to imagine what this whisky tastes like, we’ve produced some bespoke tasting notes from the cask sample. Read more »

Islay Fans

With the Islay Festival in full swing as the auction kicks off, smoky peaty drams are at the forefront of everyone’s minds, and we’ve got some beauties in this month’s sale, including several real treasures from many people’s favourite Islay dram: Lagavulin.

Lagavulin 1979 Syndicate 35yo

You’d be hard pushed to find a bad Lagavulin, but of course some are greater than others – in particular, the Lagavulin 1991 21yo from 2012’s Special Releases, whose value has been climbing rapidly; one of the best Feis Ile bottles, the sherried Lagavulin 1995 for the 2014 festival; the first ever Lagavulin Distillers Edition (1979) and The Syndicate’s Lagavulin 35-year-old 1979/2014, which is only going to continue its rapid price increase.  

We’re particular fans of The Syndicate’s bottlings, and they’ve got a few other great bottles in this month’s auction, including this very tempting Laphroaig 1988 30-year-old.  There’s a couple of famous Bowmore ceramics: the rarely-seen Bowmore 22-year-old ‘Seagulls’ and the fruit bomb Bowmore 15-year-old Garden Festival 1988; there’s also a very early SMWS bottling of Bowmore 1976 (SMWS 3.4) – with an impressive colour and at a hefty 64.2%, this will be very popular.

Old & Rare Whisky

This brings us to another of the standouts from this month’s auction: an amazing Bunnahabhain 1947 27-year-old  bottled in 1975 by Matthew Gloag and Sons.  Gloag’s was bought by Bunnahabhain’s owner Highland Distilleries in 1970, making this essentially an OB.  

Bunnahabhain 1947 Gloag

There’s also a 28yo, 75-proof version of this bottle that garnered a lot of praise at Whisky Show Old & Rare, but this 27yo is 90.5 proof – equating to around 51.7% – so all the post-war peat and oiliness should be even more prominent and well-preserved. This a really fascinating and highly desirable bottle, and we can’t wait to see how it does.

Moving reluctantly away from Islay, there are plenty of other rare and/or underestimated bottlings to get excited about. Let’s look at some 1960s distillates quickly. This Signatory Benriach 1966 35-year-old caught our eye, as did Auchentoshan 1965 31-year-old, Convalmore 1960/1996 and Aberlour 1964 25-year-old. Whiskies distilled in the 1960s are becoming thinner on the ground, so get ‘em while they’re still in reach.

Stellar Whisky From Macallan

Blue chip distilleries now, and besides the small matter of Springbank 1966-1997 Local Barley, we’ve got some stellar Macallan: the Macallan 1946 52-year-old from 1998 as well as the follow-up Macallan 52-year-old from 2018, the Macallan Gran Reserva 1979 and the rare Macallan 1980 ESC.  There’s also some absolutely legendary drams from Macallan’s stablemate: Highland Park 1967-1991, Highland Park 1977 Bicentenary and the two stunning sister sherry casks bottled for Oddbins in 2001: Highland Park 1973 11151 and Highland Park 1973 11167.

Macallan 1946 52yo

Now a quartet of very rare oldies – these will see some of the fiercest bidding, we reckon.  First up, this hard to find 1960s Glen Scotia 8-year-old OB in fantastic condition – it’s even got some of its original dust wrapper! The level is top shoulder but at 80-proof (46%) it should still have plenty of flavour.  Next is another very rare OB from the late 1950s or early ‘60s – Milton-Duff 13-year-old bottled at a tempting 85 proof (around 48.5%). We’ve had a couple of these before but this one is in superb condition for its age.

Also bottled at 85 proof is this marvellous 1960s Cadenhead’s bottling of Old Pulteney – we love the simplicity of the gold label and minimal text.  The pale colour of the contents suggests that this is a young whisky and/or from refill or second refill casks, allowing the gutsy, fruity distillate character to shine through. Before the one we sold in October, we had never come across this bottling before.

The last of these four rare oldies is this marvellous Rosebank 34-year-old bottled by George Strachan in the 1970s (so distilled no later than the mid-1940s.) This is among the most sought-after of these famous Strachan Rosebanks, being 88-proof (50%) and having an unfortunate geographical error on the label – Highland malt?!

Elsewhere, an early Midleton Very Rare bottled in 1998 will no doubt do well, but the real Irish star this month is a magnificent Jameson 7-year-old from around the 1940s – a beautiful example in incredible condition for a bottle of its great age.

For value, the late ‘80s/early ‘90s Lochside 10-year-old and Balvenie Classic 1980s are high quality affordable drams, while the brilliant Blair Athol Bicentenary cask strength bottling is another one well worth keeping an eye on.

As ever, these are just a small selection of highlights – check out the full auction now and Happy Bidding!

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