WHISKY-ONLINE AUCTIONS OCTOBER RESULTS 2019
The latest auction saw a reasonably predictable return of Macallan to the top spot with the 2017 Macallan M Black Decanter hitting £7000. This was contrasted by the 1947 Campbell Hope & King Macallan at £3900. Two very different sides of Macallan: one driven more by brand image and the other by liquid and history. A good illustration of the multiple forces that help drive Macallan’s present value on the secondary market. Somewhere in between these two influences was the result for a box of 12 miniatures of the Macallan Private Eye bottling which achieved £3300 – not an insignificant amount for minis which were often given away at the time.
Other notable high-end results were the Glenfarclas 1956 Family Cask number 2358 which fetched £3600 and the Port Ellen Maltings bottling at £3100. It’s good to see this bottling again after a while and to see it starting to climb again after being relatively static for the past year or so. Anyway, who has ever tasted it knows the quality of whisky inside.
Macallan & Glenfarclas Dominate
Much of the rest of the top end of the sale was dominated by Macallan and Glenfarclas. Although, from the perspective of a drinker, it is interesting to note that the older single cask Glenfarclas bottlings are sitting pretty much in line with the old Macallan 18 and 25-year-old bottlings. Both represent amazing quality of whisky but from rather opposing ends of the Speyside age spectrum.
The Bowmore 1972 27-year-old official single cask hit £1750, narrowly scraping past a 1936 50-year-old Mortlach from Gordon & MacPhail at £1700. Although, admittedly this bottle did have a pretty poor filling level which almost certainly explains its lower than usual hammer price.
Low Filling Levels
Speaking of filling levels, it’s always interesting to spot of this key conditional factor can influence a bottle’s price in an auction. Two examples of the Port Ellen 1st release closed at £1850 and £1500; naturally the lower level one got the lower price. It’s always worth keeping an eye on your bottles and, if levels seem to be dropping, it’s a good indication that it will be soon time to drink or sell.
A beautiful condition example of the Clynelish 1972 23-year-old 57.1% Rare Malts hit a solid £1400, matching the next bottle along, a 1967 42-year-old Highland Park from John Scott. While other interesting older bottlings at this point in the sale were a Macallan 1950 bottled by Berry Brothers in 1974 and a Highland Park St Magnus label bottling from the 1970s at 100 proof, they finished at £1200 and £1150 respectively. The Macallan in particular contrasts with the other more ubiquitous modern official releases, many of which are hundreds of pounds higher in the auction. I know which one I’d rather drink though.
It was interesting to see the likes of the Lagavulin 1979 35-year-old Syndicate bottlings finishing up at £975 and £950. Is oversupply of these bottlings to the market starting to make itself felt in the hammer prices? Or is this the effect of recent American tariffs? This will be the most interesting factor in the secondary market in the coming months. For now, though it doesn’t seem to have had an immediate effect. It’s also further underpinned by the fact that the 1990 25-year-old Syndicate Lagavulin finished at £410, also slightly lower than usual.
Another Rare Malts Clynelish did well, this time the 1974 23-year-old 59.1% which hit £750. While the 1970 40-year-old Glenury Royal from the 2011 Special Releases also performed well at £725. It was good to see the return of the 1966 Banff bottled by Gordon & MacPhail in 2015 as part of their now discontinued Rare Old series. It fetched a comfortable £625.
There’s a lot of chatter these days about Daftmill and Rosebank and the character comparisons between the two. So it seemed rather suitably ironic that a 1990 21-year-old Rosebank Special Releases bottling ended up sitting side by side with the recent Daftmill single sherry cask for Berry Brothers at £600 respectively. Both great whiskies, although, on this occasion, both quite different in style.
Moving further down the sale it was interesting to see a Tomintoul official 1977 – 2013 single cask at £490, not a name mentioned too often in these auction results. Similarly, Tasmanian whisky, although undeniably gaining in deserved popularity, is not a regular feature in auction results. So it was quite interesting to note a 2008 – 2017 Sullivan’s Cove hitting £290. Clearly there are a number of distilleries in the ‘new world’ that are increasingly worth watching.
Bargains For The Drinker
In terms of bargains for the drinker there are a few more interesting bits and pieces this time around. Perhaps most eye-catchingly an old Ardbeg 1975 Connoisseur’s Choice bottling from Gordon & MacPhail which fetched £210. I bet there will be a few folk scratching heads wondering how they missed that. A North Port 1976 24 year old by Signatory and a 1978 19-year-old Coleburn by Cadenhead also look tasty at £185 apiece. As ever there’s always some interesting bits and pieces if you’re willing to be quick and attentive come the end of an auction. While on the flip side older official bottlings like the White Horse Lagavulin 16-year-old and the Glendronach 15-year-old litre were showing signs of an upward shift in price. Once again the month tide of results rises for some and retreats for others.
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