Welcome to this month’s Auction Highlights! We’ll start at the top: Amazingly, we’ve found another of the fabulous Glenfarclas 40-Year-Olds from the special 2018 edition of just 55 bottles! Glenfarclas fans will remember that this exclusive Glencairn decanter was never released publicly and is thus very highly sought-after. Somewhat remarkably, there’s also further examples of the cult Port Ellen 21-Year-Old Maltings Anniversary bottling and the rare Oban 1989 Private Single Cask too, so if you missed out last month, here’s another bite of the cherry.
There’s some very serious old Macallan bottles to get excited about this month: a glorious Macallan 1940 37 Year Old Pinerolo Import, this lovely 1960s Macallan 1947 and 1970s Macallan 1958, both bottled at 80 proof (46%) by Campbell, Hope & King, Macallan 1965 17-Year-Old, a 1980s Macallan 12-Year-Old litre bottle and Macallan 1970 25-Year-Old Anniversary: the classic presentation with the leather straps.
Newer collectable editions include 2017’s Macallan M Black Decanter MMXVII and the small matter of the Macallan Folio Archival Series I, Series 2 AND Series 3! These will draw plenty of attention, so bid early and strongly if you fancy your chances.
We’ve also got some pretty amazing independent Macallans such as the Macallan 1950 bottled in 1974 by Berry Bros, Macallan 1977-2010 from Douglas Laing’s Old & Rare Platinum series, this very unusual private Macallan 1991-2005 for the Moray Golf Club and some ‘probable’ Macallans from Gordon & MacPhail such as the Old Elgin 1938 46-Year-Old and the 1970s Pride of Strathspey.
We’ve got some great bottlings from Hunter Laing this month, with several of the very handsomely-presented Authors’ Series First Editions including Springbank 1997-2015, Ardbeg 1993-2015, Springbank 1996-2016, Bruichladdich 1990-2016, and Ben Nevis 1996-2015. There’s also some great recent bottlings from Hunter Laing’s Old & Rare Platinum series including Mortlach 1992-2017, Bowmore 1996-2017 and Laphroaig 1997-2018.
Another indie highlight is this amazing bottle of Bowmore 1971 14-Year-Old bottled by Sestante in the mid-1980s. With its alluring rich colour, Bowmore’s prestige and Sestante’s cachet in the market we expect a lot of action on this bottle.
Finally, we can’t talk about great independent bottlings without a mention of Signatory, who duly chip in with some lost distillery classics: Glenesk 1974-2000, Glenury Royal 1975-2000, Banff 1976-2000, North Port 1975-2000 and Glenugie 1976-2001.
Rare G&M Treasures
The ever-reliable Gordon & MacPhail are well-represented by some old Connoisseur’s Choice bottlings such as the Brown Label Benrinnes 1963 18-Year-Old, plus Map Label Lochside 1966, Imperial 1970 and Ardbeg 1975; and the Rare Old Mortlach 1969-1996, Glenlossie 1961-2007 and Banff 1966-2015.
There’s also a series of stonking Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant up for grabs with highlights including the Glen Grant Royal Marriage 1948 & 1961 for Charles & Di, Glen Grant 1951-2011 and Glen Grant 1958-2011. There’s a big colour difference between these latter two, showcasing the Glen Grant distillery’s wonderful versatility and longevity in both bourbon and sherry casks.
Some of the best of the cult bottlings appearing in this month’s auction include the classic Clynelish 17-Year-Old Managers Dram and Blair Athol 18-Year-Old Bicentenary, both bottled in 1998 – what a year to be a collector that was! There’s also the delightfully minimalist-label early Longrow 16-Year-Old, likely one of the first editions of non-vintage Longrow at this age. These were usually bottled in very small batches and sold through Cadenhead’s shop, but this is a rare edition for the Spanish market.
Blend fans, meanwhile, will be lusting after this wonderful 1952 White Horse, with its tantalising possibility of Malt Mill in the blend and the very rare and highly sought-after Johnnie Walker Directors Blend 2009 – another bottle that was never publicly available and is consequently very difficult to find.
There’s also a few overlooked gems from Diageo’s Special Releases, such as the criminally underrated Rosebank 1990-2011 21-Year-Old, Glenury Royal 1970 40-Year-Old, and the Talisker 25-Year-Old Sea Chest bottling, a special edition presentation released to the Christmas market a year after the 2007 edition of Talisker 25 year old failed to sell out its 6894 bottles – absurd really, considering that this was one of the best of the Talisker 25s. And while we’re talking about Diageo, don’t miss the Rare Malt Clynelish 1972s: Clynelish 1972 24-Year-Old at 61.3% and the rarer Clynelish 1972 23-Year-Old at 57.1%.
In terms of affordable bargains, the Lochside 1981-2011 Murray McDavid from a refill sherry cask should fit the bill, as will the full strength single cask Ben Nevis 1996 15-Year-Old and the Springbank 2001-2012 Rundlets & Kilderkins, a terrific whisky that still goes for very reasonable prices.
Curios And Ones To Watch
Miscellaneous ones to watch include this marvellous sherried cask strength Highland Park 1967-2009 bottled by Duncan Taylor for local retailer John Scott’s, a rare appearance for the highly desirable Daftmill 2006-2019 single sherry cask for Berry Bros. & Rudd and the Glen Grant 1973-2008 from the shortlived Harris Whisky Co. There’s also one of our favourite curios: the ‘single blend’ Lochside 1965-2012, one of only a handful of bottlings of 1960s Lochside blended from the distillery’s own malt and grain whiskies. We expect plenty of competition for this one.
Finally, we can’t help falling in love with the stunning Highland Park St. Magnus bottled in the early 1970s at a very rare 100 proof – it’s in great condition with a perfect fill level and one of the all-time classic old labels. Needless to say, it’s going to be exquisite whisky in the bottle… we’re expecting a scrap for this one.
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