Welcome to our September 2022 Whisky Auction Highlights! It’s another sensational auction this month with rare and precious gems from the likes of Port Ellen, Glenmorangie, Glendronach and unicorn distilleries including Kinclaith, Glenugie and Killyloch, so we’d best crack on.
Old & New Macallan
There’s over 80 superb Macallans in this month’s auction – check the full list here if you’re in a hurry, or read on for curated highlights.
Recent bottlings from the Speyside colossus include this year’s Macallan Harmony Fine Cacao, Macallan Easter Elchies Black 2020, Macallan Folio Archival 6, and 2016’s Masters of Photography Macallan Steven Klein, plus Macallan Coronation from 2013 and the more recent Concept 1 Surreal Art and Concept 3 David Carson. They’re pretty much all concepts at this point though, aren’t they…
Classic Macallans from the golden age this month include Macallan Private Eye, an early 1980s duty free litre bottling of Macallan 12-year-old, the later but much rarer Macallan 12-year-old British Aerospace Culzean Castle, Gordon & MacPhail’s Macallan 1948 35-year-old Pinerolo import for the Italian market, the fantastic Macallan 1963 Special Selection and all manner of Macallan 18-year-olds and Macallan Anniversary Malts.
Indie Port Ellens this month include Gordon & MacPhail’s CASK edition Port Ellen 1979-1998 (a 61.1% monster) and a pair of sensational Douglas Laing Platinum Editions: Port Ellen 1982 25-Year-Old and the sherried Port Ellen 1978 28-Year-Old – it’s worth noting that Douglas Laing bottled dozens of superb Port Ellens from 2000 onwards, but only a handful of the very best were deemed worthy for the Platinum Selection series.
There’s several Signatory Port Ellens in this month’s sale as well, with highlights including rare 1970s vintages such as the cask strength ‘inkpot’ dumpy Port Ellen 1976 22-Year-Old and Port Ellen 1977 18-Year-Old. Check out all this month’s Port Ellen here.
Staying on the south coast we’ve got several superb Ardbegs, with classics including Ardbeg 1975-1998, Ardbeg Very Young – For Discussion and the marvellous 1990s Ardbeg 30-year-old bottled in 2003 rubbing shoulders with rarities such as the 2013 edition of Ardbeg Kildalton – this one has even been signed by legendary former distillery manager Mickey Heads – and notable indie bottlings like the G&M Connoisseurs Choice Ardbeg 1974-2003.
Elsewhere, there’s some real treats for Bowmore fans, with the 1980s official dumpy Bowmore 12-Year-Old joined by almost impossible to find gems like Signatory’s Rare Reserve Bowmore 1972 30-year-old, and there’s several classic Bruichladdich bottlings this month too including Bruichladdich 1970 35-year-old, Bruichladdich 1986 Blacker Still from 2006 and the following year’s Bruichladdich 1984 Redder Still.
Miscellaneous Islay treasures this month include the Rare Malts Caol Ila 1977 21-Year-Old at an eye-watering 63.1%, the first cask strength edition of Laphroaig 25-Year-Old bottled at 50.9% in 2008, The Syndicate’s Laphroaig 1988 32-year-old and some cracking old favourites like the Lagavulin 16-Year-Old White Horse, The Syndicate’s legendary 59.2% Lagavulin 15-year-old and the Lagavulin 1986 Distillers Edition bottled in 2002.
There are some all-time great sherried drams in the auction this month. Historic bottles include the Glenfarclas 1969 20-Year-Old – this outstanding full strength Glenfarclas was bottled in 1989, the year after Signatory was founded, and was a vatting of three sherry casks that yielded 900 bottles at the impressive cask strength of 58.2%. More recent ‘Farcli include the classic Probably Speyside’s Finest 1968 40 year old from Douglas Laing
Returning sherried classics include the splendid Glenmorangie 1971 Culloden, the superlative, award-winning Glendronach 33-year-old Oloroso Sherry bottled in 2004, and the magnificent Strathisla 35-year-old Bicentenary. More recent heavily-sherried drams include Gordon & MacPhail’s first fill sherry butt Glen Grant 1963-2014, Signatory’s Allt-A-Bhainne 2000 20-year-old and this private cask of Bruichladdich 13-year-old for Murieston Malt Whisky Circle bottled in 2019 at its phenomenal cask strength of 64.9%.
Perhaps the standout sherried dram in this month’s auction, however, is this incredible Glen Garioch 1968 29-year-old. This sumptuous sherry hogshead, stuffed with intense fruit and rich, spicy, leathery tobacco flavours, was one of a series of almost 20 astonishing single cask full strength Glen Gariochs from the 1968 vintage released by owners Suntory at 29 years old in 1997, the year the distillery was reopened after a brief hiatus that began in 1995.
1968, meanwhile, was the year that Glen Garioch’s then-owners Distillers Company Limited decommissioned the distillery, before selling it to Stanley P. Morrison in 1970. The head-shaking fact that Glen Garioch was mothballed during a period when it was making whisky of this quality is a tragic shame – although it did lead to the revival of the Clynelish distillery as Brora, so swings and roundabouts, eh?
Lots of highly desirable old Diageo/United Distillers whiskies this month, with Special Release highlights including Dalwhinnie 1966 36-Year-Old from the 2002 release, Linlithgow 1973 30-year-old from 2003, and 2005’s classic Convalmore 1977 28-year-old and (North Port) Brechin 1977 28-Year-Old. There’s also over 40 amazing Rare Malt editions this month, with highlights including St. Magdalene, Brora, Rosebank, Hillside and Glenury Royal – check out all this month’s Rare Malt Editions here.
The special staff-only Glen Elgin 19 year old Centenary also makes a welcome return, while for blended whisky fans the splendid Johnnie Walker Directors’ Blend 2009 and the marvellous Johnnie Walker Oldest, which was only available from 1987 until being relaunched as Johnnie Walker Blue Label in 1992 – this particular bottle was a rare version for the Hong Kong duty-free market.
There are some absolutely incredible old Signatory Vintage bottlings this month, including the brilliant Rare Reserve Springbank 1969 34-Year-Old bottled from a refill sherry butt in 2003 and famous rare dumpy ‘inkpot’ cask strength bottlings such as the Dallas Dhu 1975 28-Year-Old, the sherried Longmorn 1973 21-year-old, an atypical refill cask Glendronach 1977 25-Year-Old and Glenugie 1976 27-Year-Old – many Glenugies are highly prized as epic fruit bombs, but this Signatory bottling has a more minerally, coastal profile, allowing Glenugie’s extraordinary distillate to shine through. A superb, underrated gem, just like the distillery itself.
We also have some tremendous Gordon & MacPhail stuff this month, including Rare Old editions of Convalmore 1960-1996 and Glenugie 1968-2006 and the Distillery Labels Strathisla 1964-2004. SMWS bottles this month include this Talisker 1989 15-Year-Old SMWS 14.12 bottled in 2004 at 58.4% and St. Magdalene 1975 25-year-old SMWS 49.13, while notable Cadenhead’s releases include Ben Nevis 1977 18-year-old and Teaninich 1957 26-year-old, the earliest bottled vintage from Teaninich distillery.
Douglas Laing, meanwhile, weigh in with the epic Old Malt Cask Banff 1966 31-Year-Old, an almost black Glenrothes 1979 28-year-old and the extraordinary Glenlochy 1952 49-Year-Old – the earliest vintage and the longest-aged whisky ever bottled from this particular unicorn distillery, which closed in 1983.
Miscellaneous indie treasures include Murray McDavid’s fantastic Caperdonich 1968 35-year-old from the Mission series, Ian Macleod’s epic Dun Bheagan Springbank 1968 38-year-old bottled from a sherry hogshead and Regis Whisky Mad’s elegant Springbank 1968 40-year-old, one of only 98 bottles yielded from a cask that was caught just before it went under strength.
Favourites and Curios
Some phenomenal unicorn bottlings up for grabs in this month’s auction, including the likes of Glen Flagler 1973-2003, a whisky from one of the rarest lost Lowland distilleries. Glen Flagler was a malt whisky distillery at the Moffat distillation plant, but was operational only between 1965-86 and was demolished soon afterwards, with very little surviving to be bottled as single malt whisky. This 1973 vintage 29 -Year-Old was a vatting of the last five casks owned by Inver House and was bottled in 2003 without chill filtration at its natural cask strength of 46% – a fitting farewell, as this was the last Glen Flagler ever bottled.
Another malt whisky distillery that was located inside a grain distillation plant was Ben Wyvis, which shared a site with the Invergordon grain distillery between 1965-1976 and is even rarer than Glen Flagler, with barely a dozen bottlings ever released. This Ben Wyvis 1972 27 year old was subtitled The Final Resurrection as it was a vatting of the last three casks in Invergordon’s inventory, but Signatory bottled three more casks the following year – none have appeared since.
Remarkably, we also have two further ‘complex’ malt whisky distilleries in the sale, with the Strathclyde complex malt distillery Kinclaith 1969 35-year-old another example from the amazing haul of Signatory bottlings in this month’s sale, alongside Inver House’s first and only official bottling of Killyloch, which shared a site with Glen Flagler and Garnheath at Moffat. Killyloch 1967-2003 was bottled from Inver House’s last six casks and is one of only two 70cl bottlings of Killyloch ever released (the other was from Signatory, of course).
Elsewhere, there’s loads of superb old special edition Glenmorangies this month, with seldom-seen gems such as Glenmorangie 1977 21-Year-Old, the famous Glenmorangie Claret Wood released in 1990, the Rhone-finished Glenmorangie 1975-2003 Tain L’Hermitage, and the highly sought-after Glenmorangie 1993 Burr Oak Reserve. There are many, many more highly collectable Glenmorangies this month – check them all out here.
As you’ll have seen above, there’s plenty for Springbank fans in the auction, with further classics including the legendary Springbank 1966 Local Barley Cask 480 and the rare Archibald Mitchell dumpy bottle Springbank 21-Year-Old – this was a short-lived edition bottled between the mid-to-late 1980s and the very early 1990s and was one of the first Springbanks with the dumpy bottle and ‘parchment’ label presentation. Despite being distilled in the golden era of the late 1960s or very early 1970s, these paler 21-Year-Old Springbanks are often underrated – although there is still plenty of sherry influence evident on the palate. An elegant, mesmerising old beauty.
Away from Scotland, Japanese whisky fans will be struggling over the Yamazaki Mizunara 2013, Irish whiskey nuts will be getting in a lather over the 1970s John Jameson 15-Year-Old and Midleton Very Rare 1987, bourbon aficionados will be chasing the Stitzel-Weller-distilled 1974 quarter bottle of Old Fitzgerald 1849 10-Year-Old and cognac fans will be chasing the Hennessy Paradis.
That’s it for this month – Good Luck and Happy Bidding!
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