Welcome back to our Whisky-Online Auction Highlights! It’s been a while, but it’s great to be back again. We hope you’re all keeping safe and well, check out these amazing auction highlights from Ardbeg, Brora, Macallan, Port Ellen and many more.
Classic Islay Whiskies
We’re back with a bang, with a ton of great Islay whiskies this month. There’s the 1980s Ardbeg 10-year-old, unicorn drams like the incredibly rare 1980s-bottled Ardbeg 1972 12-year-old Connoisseurs Choice, curios such as the Ardbeg 1980 Kildalton and the sherried Ardbeg 1991-2011 for Hotel Bero and a great selection of all-time classics: Ardbeg 21-year-old Committee Release, Ardbeg 25-year-old Lord of the Isles from 2001, Signatory’s Ardbeg 1967 30-year-old from a dark Oloroso sherry butt and the stunning Ardbeg 1976-2000 Cask 2394 Committee Release.
Moving on from Ardbeg, there’s a trio of special Bunnahabhains, with Bunnahabhain 1965-2001 35-year-old, Bunnahabhain 1966-2002 35-year-old and what many people consider to be the greatest OB Bunna ever, Bunnahabhain 1968-2002 Auld Acquaintance.
Bowmore highlights include the small matter of the Bowmore 1957 38-year-old, Bowmore 10-year-old for Glasgow Garden Festival 1988, the brilliant Bowmore 30-year-old Sea Dragon and the stupendous Bowmore Bicentenary.
Finishing with Port Ellen, there’s several historically significant bottlings including the Port Ellen Rare Malts 1978 20-year-old that helped kickstart the PE craze, the Port Ellen 1979-2001 22-year-old Special Releases First Edition (just £100 back in 2001!), the Port Ellen 1979-2012 32-year-old 12th Release (perhaps the last of the truly great PE Special Releases) and the Connoisseurs Choice Port Ellen 1970 16-year-old.
Unicorn Single Malts
Time for one of the stars of the auction – this remarkable Rosebank 1938 bottled by Edinburgh merchant Robert Stewart sometime in the 1960s. This beautiful bottle of pre-war whisky is a bona fide treasure, and would make a great pair alongside the famous 1970s George Strachan Rosebank 34-year-old that wowed the crowds at the Old & Rare Show back in February, as did its sister bottling Glen Grant 25-year-old.
Another top highlight – we’ve got not one but two bottles of the highly desirable 1950s Glenfiddich Special, a very rare distillery bottling with a beautiful old label from back in the days when OBs were almost unheard of. We’re already jealous of whoever ends up with these.
Finally, check out this stone-cold classic Ainslie & Heilbron Clynelish 12-year-old bottled in the 1970s, meaning that the whisky is from ‘old’ Clynelish, aka Brora. This one has even got its original (slightly torn) box, but the liquid is the important thing, and it’s incredible. Other significant Brora bottlings this month include the Rare Malts Brora 1972 22-year-old, Brora 30-year-old First Release and the Brora 35-year-old & Brora 37-year-old from the Special Releases in 2014 and 2015.
Gordon & MacPhail’s Treasures
There are some truly fantastic bottles – some well-known, others rather rare – from Scotland’s most important early independent bottler, Gordon & MacPhail. Let’s start with this 1980s Old Pulteney 8-year-old, unusual for its distillery picture on the label, almost like an unofficial OB.
There’s also the legendary Talisker 1967 100 Proof and the (pre-refit) Caol Ila 1969 17-year-old, both very highly rated by the cognoscenti. Lost distilleries include the Lochside 1981-2000 Rare Old, Glenugie 1966-1991, Brora 1982-2015 Rare Old and the alluringly dark Connoisseurs Choice Caperdonich 1968 17-year-old.
Other highlights from G&M include the early 1980s Linkwood 15-year-old, the almost frighteningly dark Glenlossie 1975-2019 Private Collection, the ancient Glen Grant 1948-2006 48-year-old, the even older Glen Grant 1952-2012 and Glen Grant 1963-2014 50-year-old and the even older still Glen Grant 1957-2011 53-year-old and Glen Grant 1950-2010 60-year-old.
Fabulous Distillery Bottlings
We’ve got some tremendous distillery bottlings from yesteryear this month, including the hallowed Springbank 1966-1997 Local Barley 490 and a dumpy Springbank 21-year-old from around 1990, Glenmorangie 1963 22-year-old Sherry Finish – the first vintage release from the distillery – plus the underrated Glengoyne 1969 Vintage Reserve and the more recently-bottled Pedro Ximenez single cask Glendronach 1972-2015 43-year-old and Glenglassaugh 1968 45-year-old.
Moving to Speyside, there’s the wonderful Balvenie 30-year-old and Balvenie 40-year-old, the famous Glenfarclas 40-year-old Millennium and Glenfarclas 1956-2014 Family Collector Series 2, while from Macallan we have the stunning Macallan 1949 Millennium, an early Macallan 25-year-old Anniversary Malt and more recent bottlings including the Macallan M MMXVII, Macallan Folio Archival Series 2 and Macallan Folio Archival Series 5, Macallan Oscuro and Macallan 1997-2019 Exceptional Cask 02.
Diageo are well-represented too, with the rare Dailuaine 1980 Flora & Fauna Cask Strength, a lovely old 1970s Cardhu 12-year-old and a string of excellent Rare Malts bottlings including Dallas Dhu 1970, Glenury Royal 1970-1999, Linkwood 1972 22-year-old, Clynelish 1972-1997 at a whopping 61.3%, the seriously under-rated Teaninich 1973-1997, Millburn 1975 18-year-old, Glen Albyn 1975-2002, Coleburn 1979-2000 and Hillside (aka Glenesk) 1971-1997.
There’s a slew of lovely blends this month, with the famous 1980s Johnnie Walker Oldest (later to become Blue Label) and Johnnie Walker Kilmarnock 400 bottled in 1992, and older bottles in fantastic condition including 1970s Bell’s 20-year-old, 1960s White Horse, 1960s Black & White, and a trio of wonderful Haigs: 1960s Haig Gold Label, 1950s Haig Gold Label and this remarkable 1950s Haig Gold Label 4.5L. Even older is this marvellous 1940s Buchanan’s Liqueur Scotch Whisky, a spring-capped blend in quite amazing condition.
Sensational Indie Drams
Blue chip indies this month include the enticingly dark Springbank 1964-98 34-year-old from Cadenhead’s, the 1980s Macallan As We Get It at a tempting 101 proof and the more familiar Macallan 1977-2007 from Douglas Laing, who also provide one of the standout lots of the auction: a full set (10 bottles) of the firm’s 60th Anniversary Old Malt Cask Bottlings which include a couple more Macallans, Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Caol Ila and more.
Time for another top-drawer highlight: Glen Garioch 1972 bottled for Oddbins in the 1990s. This is a stunning dram, a perfect fusion of strong peat and tropical fruits often bracketed with contemporary Brora and Ardbeg for quality. This one will be hotly-contested, as will the super-rare Benriach-Glenlivet 1966-1987 for Cadenhead’s, distilled just a year after the distillery reopened.
Favourites, Bargains and Curios
There’s a few great Japanese whiskies this month., including the famous politically incorrect Full Proof Hanyu 1988-2009 Big Butt. This cask strength SMWS Yoichi 1985-2008, although a less well-known bottling, will have plenty of admirers, but the real star of the show is the Karuizawa 1967 42-year-old bottled for La Maison du Whisky. This magnificent dram always attracts fierce bidding.
In the ones-to-watch-out-for category, we’ll be keeping an eye on the MacPhail’s 106 Gold – an unnamed full-strength single malt, but these were frequently Macallan, Glenfarclas or Glen Grant. Speaking of Glenfarclas there’s also this unusual Glenfarclas-Glenlivet 12-year-old bottled by Taplows Ltd in the 1960s and a 1980s Glenfarclas 15-year-old that was only available at the distillery. We’ll also be keeping tabs on this interesting Glenlivet 1968-2003 for Single Malts Direct, the excellent (and still underpriced) 1970s Glendronach 12-year-old, the rare 1980s OB Bladnoch 8-year-old and the Bushmills 1975-2000 Millennium, an underrated Irish whiskey that more people are discovering now.
Returning old favourites include the screenprinted 1980s Highland Park 12-year-old dumpy, the famous Glendronach 33-year-old Oloroso Cask, the cognoscenti-beloved 1990s versions of Macallan 12-year-old and Macallan 10-year-old 100 Proof, and anyone who likes those drams would be well-advised to look out for the more modest but still excellent 1990s G&M Longmorn-Glenlivet 12-year-old.
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