The March whisky auction results further demonstrated the current market appetite for the right bottles.
The Macallan 1946 editions both returned healthy and consistent results while the Black Bowmore 1st edition was up against recent results for this bottling. Even with a slightly lower fill level this bottle can still command a hammer price of £5500 – another signifier of just how highly regarded this great whisky actually is.
The Springbank 1966 Local Barley cask 443 seems to just fetch a new record price every time one comes to auction. This rare US import version – even without a box – still topped a new record price of £2800. It won’t be long before these are nudging past the £3000 mark quite comfortably. And once again: proof that incredible liquid is pretty much still the hold grail at whisky auctions.
Throughout the top end of the sale the rest of the old vintage Macallans all performed solidly with many trading towards their upper market values. It seems when we have a strong selection of these old Macallans in one sale then they all help each other perform well. Something worth bearing in mind if you have a stash of them yourself which you are considering how best to bring to market.
Another perfect example of how incredible liquid is skyrocketing these days is in the 1967 Signatory Laphroaig. This extremely scarce bottling finished up at a whopping £2200. Impressive considering the late 1960s Laphroaig single casks by Signatory have fetched around the £1200 mark over the past year. Given their increasing scarcity and the fact these are considered amongst some of the greatest whiskies ever bottled, this upward trend in price looks like it is here to stay.
Other healthy results at the upper end of the sale were the Glenlochy 1969 Rare Malts 62.2% version which fetched £1400, these are becoming increasingly scarce at auction and, as one of the earliest releases in this great series, it’s a must for collectors and an incredible dram to boot. Speaking of collectors and rarities, it’s unsurprising that the Boutiquey Whisky Co Brora – of which only 24 bottles were produced – finally settled on £1350. This is a good example of an instance where sheer rarity and collectors completist instincts take hold and deliver quite remarkable results.
Two other interesting but not altogether surprising results were the 6 year old Old Fitzgerald, an old bottling distilled at the Stitzel Weller distillery and the Black Bottle circa 1930s which finished at £1100 and £950 respectively. These were both in excellent condition and showed just what a great appetite there is today for beautiful and historic bottles from great brands or lost distilleries at auction today. The fact they are probably both incredible to drink as well was also probably a big factor. But it goes to show, well preserved and historic examples of big names make big prices.
The continued march of Macallan 18 year olds was evidenced yet again by the 1967 and 1974 which hit £775 and £800 respectively. Neither of these bottlings was in terrific condition or had tubes, but it goes to show the potency of this series and its reputation. On a totally different note a collection of SMWS newsletters and old outturns hit a remarkable £750. This says a lot about the power of information and historical artefacts to modern day collectors. This is a fascinating treasure trove of materials to anyone interested in the history of one of the greatest and most important independent bottlers, something keenly reflected in the price it fetched.
At the lower end of the sale the fact that the newly released Ardbeg Dark Cove bottles in this sale didn’t go as high as previous releases in past auctions may be an indicator that the market – and buyers in particular – have cottoned on to some extent about the predictable patterns these bottles follow. Why pay several hundred for a bottle you can pick up in a couple of months for near its original retail price. Maybe this is a sign of a market maturing and finding its feet? Time will tell…
As ever much of the rest of the lower end of the sale was quite typical of today’s secondary market, although interestingly in this auction there were few real bargains, almost everything seemed to hit its proven market value. What’s for certain is that the secondary market shows no sign of strain at the moment with buoyant prices and ample opportunity for buyers. Perhaps it really is destined to inherit a large chunk of retail’s crown…
The Whisky-Online Auctions Team