February Whisky Auction Results
Our latest auction featured some particularly impressive prices for old and rare bottlings showing the increasing demand for these kinds of bottles. One of the most striking was the Brora 1972 22 year old Rare Malts, a bottling which seems to be setting a new record event time it comes to auction. It finished up at a whopping £4400, that’s way over and above its previous best of £3200 in our auction last year. It seems demand for the Rare Malts Broras is pretty much unquenchable right now.
The showpiece of the auction was undoubtedly the Port Ellen 12 year old Queen’s Visit. Its previous best at auction was £7600 back in 2013, it was also available for just over £9000 at retail until last year when one was opened on Islay and fetched 99/100 on Whiskyfun. That the first bottle to appear on the secondary market since that occasion should fetch £12,100 – a record not only for this bottle but also the highest price for any Port Ellen at auction – says a lot about the power of Serge Valentin’s scores and the desire for truly incredible liquid.
On the subject of truly incredible liquid other notable results were the Ardbeg 1972 Signatory cask 3444, even with a thoroughly damaged and re-attached label this incredible dram still fetched a mighty £1850. Once again hammering home the point that these incredible old examples of amazing whisky will fetch great prices – often irrespective of their outwards condition. Similarly the Ardbeg 1965 Sestante and the Ardbeg 1966 SMWS both fetched strong prices at £1500 and £1600 respectively. These are simply packaged, unassuming bottles that just happen to contain some of the most incredible drams ever made. It all goes to show that if you’re looking to ‘invest’ in whisky, you could do a lot worse than seek out and buy terrific drinking whiskies. As long as people have money they’re always going to want to possess and consume these great bottles – it’s one of the best ways of retaining value. Further evidence lies in the Laphroaig 10 year old from the late 1970s, these were around the £200 mark not so long ago, the one in our latest sale hit £675 – despite a lack of box and an imperfect filling level. It’s just incredible whisky, which is something people are increasingly willing to pay for.
Once again with legendary liquid the Springbank Local Barleys continue their ever northwards march, the 1966 cask 490 fetched a sturdy £1300, the Mortlach 1936 43 year old Connoisseur’s Choice fetched £1050 and the Longbow 1974 18 year old finished up at £875. These are all consistent, upward, strong performances for bottles that could be obtained for considerably less up until fairly recently. It was a strong sale all round for Springbank. The 21 year old from the 1980s – usually appearing on its own or with a cardboard box and selling for £300-400 – sold for an impressive £850. This bottle was one of the earliest examples in this presentation, in great condition, had its original wooden box and a perfect filling level. That combination is so rarely seen the high price is understandable.
Moving towards collectables again through there is still strong demand for the aged, fully sherry matured, official Macallans. The 1957 Anniversary Malt fetched £2050, the Gran Reserva 1979 was back up at £1000 and a 1967 18 year old and a 25 year old Anniversary Malt both fetched £925 – despite both being boxless. It seems there is an increasing polarisation between old school, ‘classic era’ Macallan and the more mundane modern releases. Again it is another example of the fact that if the whisky itself is great, it is far more likely to ignite desire and a little passion in those seeking it.
Despite some slight softening of prices for the likes of Hanyu and Karuizawa, Japanese whiskies still continue to perform extremely well. The 2013 Yamazaki sherry cask hit a remarkably daft £1800 and the rather seductive looking 1990 Yamazaki single cask made an impressive £1650. From the SMWS there was the 1979 Yamazaki 119.2 which also finished up quite healthily at £925.
Elsewhere from the SMWS there were more very impressive results. The Glenfarclas 1963 1.96 in particular went way over it’s £300-400 estimate to land on a muscular £725 hammer price. The appetite for juicy old, super dark, sherried Glenfarclas seems to be going nowhere but up at the moment. Other interesting SMWS results were the Inchgower 1966 18.19 at £400, the Ben Nevis 1984 78.16 at £230 and the Longhorn 7.36 38 Year Old at £410. It seems any older, intriguingly dark drams from the SMWS will always attract some serious curiosity.
As with all our sales there were many bargains but there was little evidence in this sale of anything really underperforming. Overall it was pretty much a story of consistency and gentle upward movement. Another sale which hits home the fact that the right bottles will soar, while speculation becomes increasingly fraught and tricky as that side of the secondary market gets ever more crowded with bottle flippers.
Until next time…
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