We take a look back at some of the highlights of our auctions in 2022.
We kicked off the year with a miniatures, memorabilia and books auction and without a doubt, the star lot was a rebound first edition of The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom by Alfred Barnard published by Harper’s Weekly Gazette in 1887, which sold for £3,000.
Perhaps the most important book ever written about whisky, this book contains is a tour around the whisky distilleries of the United Kingdom and Ireland with sketches, maps and advertisements. The information was gathered over a two year period from 1885-1887 when Barnard visited 162 distilleries; 129 in Scotland, 29 in Ireland and four in England.
Hanyu Card Series Of The Year
February’s auction had a stunning collection of the Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt Card Series. The complete Hanyu Card Series has previously sold for $1.5 million and here we had 15 bottles from this ultimate collector’s series. Each of the whiskies in the Card Series was chosen from Hanyu stock by Ichiro Akuto, grandson of the distillery’s founder, and released between 2005 and 2014.
What is it about these bottles that makes them so desirable? Well they tick several boxes: Hanyu distillery ceased production in 2000 so they were bottled from finite, unrepeatable stocks. Many of these bottles were originally released at well under £100 and were immediately snapped up and consumed. They were released over the space of almost a decade as a collectable series in various limited numbers. The genius of this series is that it plays to the collector’s desire to own a complete series and collect the full deck, a much more expensive venture in this case than my childhood Panini football sticker albums, but the same idea. Hanyu Ace of Spades alone sold for a hammer price of £28,000.
Chartreuse Of The Year
It’s not all about whisky and Whisky.Auction is the place to get all your spirits, liqueurs and vintage cocktail ingredients. One of our March auction highlights was this bottle of Yellow Chartreuse liqueur produced in Tarragona, Spain, we estimated in 1912 to 1913, that fetched a hammer price of £2,900.
Chartreuse has been produced by Carthusian monks in France since 1737. In the early 20th century, the monastery and distillery were nationalised by the French government. The monks, unwilling to give up their secret recipe, moved production to Tarragona, Spain. They later returned home and today all Chartreuse is produced in France. Chartreuse is unusual amongst liqueurs as it matures and develops in the bottle and can change quite dramatically over time. An intriguing candidate for a vertical tasting.
The Macallan Of The Year
April’s auction was a record breaker, where a single bottle of The Macallan 1957 from the Fine & Rare collection achieved an impressive £180,000. A real rarity, only 15 bottle equivalents of this whisky ever existed. The single malt was matured only in sherry wood for 15 years and first bottled in 1972, it was then re-bottled by hand for the Fine & Rare series in 2009.
DRC Of The Year
Our May Fine & Rare Wine auction included La Tache 1992 from the world’s most revered wine estate, Domaine De La Romanee-Conti with a hammer price of £3,400. The Domaine produces wines from eight different Grand Cru vineyards around the village of Vosne-Romanee and they are frequently ranked among the most expensive wines in the world.
Karuizawa Of The Year
Of all the sought after Japanese whisky over the last year, our June auction was particularly special, with a gorgeous pair of Karuizawa 35 Year Old Splendid Age. These stunningly presented whiskies were distilled in 1981 and matured in single casks before being bottled at cask strength in 2017. Bottles from this ever popular closed distillery continue to attract high prices at auction and these two sold for £24,500 each.
Springbank Of The Year
Springbank 1919 50 Year Old is a firm collectors favourite, and in our July auction it broke its own record for a miniature with a hammer price of £7,360. It had achieved £6,440 back in August 2021. This mini bottle ‘No. 2’ features a certificate of authenticity.
The Springbank Distillery in Campbeltown, where traditional hands on production results in a smaller output than most distilleries, has built a global reputation for quality whisky based on these rare early releases.
Black Bowmore Of The Year
Islay malts continued their popularity throughout 2022 and particularly sought after are whiskies distilled in what seemed to be a golden age for the island during the 1960s. This second edition of Black Bowmore 1964, bottled in 1994, sold for £12,000 in our August sale.
In late 1963 to 1964, the Bowmore distillery underwent an extensive upgrade under new owners Stanley P Morrison. This included converting the stills from direct coal firing to indirect steam firing, and this bottling comes from the first distillation following the conversion. The spirit was filled into oloroso sherry casks and matured for 30 years below sea level in the distillery vaults, before bottling at 50% ABV in 1994. Each bottle is numbered by hand and only 2000 were created.
Gordon & MacPhail Of The Year
At Whisky.Auction we regularly raise money for charity and our September auction featured this stunning decanter of Glen Grant Private Collection 1952 donated by Gordon & MacPhail to Chris Porter to raise money for the Distillers’ Charity in celebration of the 350th anniversary of The Worshipful Company Of Distillers.
Released to commemorate the Platinum Jubilee, the whisky was filled into a first fill sherry butt on 26 January 1952 and matured for 70 years before being bottled on 6 February 2022, the same date as Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne.
Rum Flagons Of The Year
In our October auction we sold this remarkably well-preserved pair of Royal Navy Rum flagons, bottled in the 1950s and still in their original wooden crate marked R.A.S.C Sups (Royal Army Service Corps Supplies). The winning bid was £4,000.
Samaroli Bouquet Of The Year
In our November auction, this rarely seen Glen Ord 1962 22 Year Old Samaroli Bouquet sold for £6,400. Distilled by Peter Dawson Ltd., in 1962 and bottled by R.W. Duthie at a cask strength of 58% ABV in 1984, this is one of two ‘Bouquet’ editions released by the legendary Italian bottler Samaroli, the other being the highly sought after Bowmore 1966.
Charity Bottle Of The Year
To close out the year, our December auction included this Foursquare ‘The Sly’ 15 Year Old Single Blended Rum. This rare rum from Foursquare Distillery in Barbados is one of only three in existence and was bottled by Master Distiller Richard Seale as a gift to Sly Augustin after his rum bar, Trailer Happiness, was devastated by the London flash floods in July 2021. This bottle was kindly donated by Trailer Happiness for The Cream Of The Crop Charity Auction in aid of Equal Measures.
The one off label was hand-written by global brand ambassador Gayle Seale and the bottle fetched an amazing £10,000 for a great cause.
What will be the outstanding bottles of 2023? Bid on star bottles in 2023 and add them to your own collection.