The April whisky auction proved that appetite for the top end Macallan shows no signs of slowing down, in fact, if anything, it seems to be increasing. The top four bottles in this month’s sale were all Macallans and all of them finished up right at the upper end of their market value – with the 1938 hitting a new high of £5700. It seems demand for these legendary bottlings remains undimmed by plentiful supply.
Interestingly enough the Ardbeg 1972 Ping No 1 single cask matched the more emblematic Ardbeg 1976 Manager’s Choice for the first time with both settling on £2800 – an interesting sign of just how sought after they both are, and just how scarce the Ping bottling is. The rest of the upper end of the auction was populated largely by Port Ellens, a Caol Ila Manager’s Dram and a clutch of the Johnnie Walker Director’s Blend series. All of these finished up at consistent, upper-end prices. The only result at the upper end which was perhaps a little bit of a surprise was the Port Ellen SMWS 43.2, a very rare Port Ellen which – given the current voracious appetite for old and early SMWS releases – is odd not to see it go a little higher. Having said that £1100 is still a remarkable price for what was once a very cheap bottling.
Another interesting result was the Springbank 30 year old from around 1990 which finished at £925, that the 12yo 100 proof from the 1990s was not far behind on £850 says a lot about the high regard with which this bottling is held. Every time one turn up at auction it seems to climb to new heights. Despite all the bluster around modern NAS releases, occasionally one strikes a chord with buyers and collectors, the Bowmore Mizunara is such a bottling, already trading at auction above its original retail price, last night’s bottle finished at an impressive £925.
Other strong results that all showed marked award movement over previous results were the Talisker 1970 100 proof at £850, the Springbank 1967 SMWS 27.11 at £825 and the Bowmore 1972 27yo at £750. The one thing in common with all these bottlings is that they are all examples of spectacular quality liquid. It’s the one thing we can’t stress enough here at Whisky-Online Auctions – if you are going to invest in whisky, buy stuff that lots of people are really going to want to drink. Hard these days of course, ahh the benefit of hindsight!
Old Ben Nevis is another one that is increasingly popular at auction, despite the distillery’s somewhat clunky image, the older expressions are now extremely sought after. A fact well illustrated by the 1966 25 year old which finished at £700. Closed distilleries are still on the march with independent expressions from numerous bottlers soaring to new heights all over the place at the moment. The Banff 1966 by Blackadder hit £625, the Dallas Dhu 1975 SMWS 45.18 leapt up to £600 and the St Magdalene 1979 SMWS 49.6 also hit £600.
Old blends are still capable of some pretty impressive results these days, the 1940s White Horse proved once again that outward condition pales in significance to filling level with this particular example finishing at £500.
All in all it was another good sale for SMWS bottlings and independent bottlings in general with many examples hitting new highs and generally proving that a lot of attention is turning towards the old indy bottlings now. It was a strong sale of Manager’s Drams as well, after years of the Glen Elgin 15yo and the Ord 16yo being terrific value for the liquid at auction they are finally beginning to show a significant rise in price. It’s nice to see them being given the recognition they deserve.
As for bargains, an Ord 40yo for £205 seemed like a no-brainer, old Ardmore bottlings remain thoroughly under appreciated by the market for some reason and you can occasionally still buy Ardbeg 1974 for £200 it seems. Which just goes to show it is always worth watching these auctions, you just never know when you’ll get a bargain amongst all the crazy prices.
Until next time…
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