Our April auction featured collectors favourites, rare finds and stunning vintage spirits and liqueurs so here we take a look through some of the highlights.
In anticipation of coming events in the UK, our top lots of the month went to bottles celebrating a large Royal occasion in the shape of two bottles of Macallan Diamond Jubilee 2012, fetching £5,600 and £5,400. Not to be outdone, this Bowmore Bicentenary bottled in 1979 in a hand-blown decanter in celebration of 200 years of distilling at Bowmore sold for a hammer price of £3,000.
Among other highlights were a single cask bottling of Glenugie 1966 30 Year Old from The Bottlers, bottled at cask strength of 62.4% sold for £2,500 and a half bottle of Talisker Pure Malt from the 1960s, with a slightly damaged label but a perfect closure and healthy looking fill level sold for £1,550. Bottled slightly earlier in the 1950s but impeccably preserved, this blended Dewar’s White Label Spring Cap fetched an impressive £350.
There were superb pre-millennium releases such as these 1990s bottlings of Macallan 10 Year Old 100 Proof (sold for £1,550), Lagavulin 16 Year Old White Horse (£380), Bowmore Cask Strength (£280) and Talisker 10 Year Old Map Label (£310). For fans of Campbeltown like myself, these 1990s Springbank 21 Year Old (£825), Springbank 15 Year Old Green Thistle (£430) and Springbank 12 Year Old 100 Proof (£1,700) definitely got my mouth watering.
Amazing vintage rums in the auction included a pair of Royal Navy Rum Flagons, dated 1953 and 1960 respectively. Both were in excellent condition and sold for £1,650 and £1,600. A 1960s bottling of one of the world’s most recognisable rums, a Bacardi Carta Blanca, saw plenty of late bids and eventually settled on a hammer price of £575. Bottled even earlier in the 1940s but still in nearly immaculate condition was this Lemon Hart Rum, featuring a note on the label stating ‘agreed maximum retail price 27/- per bottle’. What was once no more than 27 Shillings sold for £625.
Top Cognac lot this month went to Richard Hennessy in its beautiful Baccarat crystal decanter, selling for £2,500 after a late flurry of bids. There were strong results for a pair of Martell Silver Jubilee Cognacs, fetching £1,500 and £1,450 a piece. These were released to celebrate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977 and contain a blend of four vintages – 1815, 1906,1914 and 1918.
If you like your Cognac to have a touch of bling there were a couple of bottles from Hennessy’s Exclusive Collection, firstly the Hennessy XO Exclusive Collection I Magnificence decorated with no less than 82 Swarovski crystals and the Hennessy XO Exclusive Collection V, presented in a gold bottle. Both sold for £825.
For fans of more traditional vintage Cognacs, there were early 20th century eaux de vies including this Hine & Co 1934 Cognac (sold for £490) and this Berry Brothers & Co St James Choicest Cognac 1904 (£700) as well as a pair of Croizet Bonaparte Vintage 1914, fetching £360 each.
Continuing its popularity at auction Remy Martin Louis XIII Baccarat Decanters ranging from the 1960s to 1990s fetched between £1,250 and £1,700.
Japan lead the way among the non-scotch whiskies this month with the likes of this Yamazaki 25 Year Old (sold for £5,600), Karuizawa 1981 Cask #152 (£5,200) and Hibiki 30 Year Old (£4,800), but there were plenty of stellar bottles among North American and Irish whiskeys as well.
Top American whiskeys were an Old Forester 1990 13 Year Old Birthday Bourbon and a Vintage Rye 23 Year Old which both fetched £1,450. From Canada there was a Crown Royal XR, a blend containing some of the final aged whiskies from the iconic Waterloo Distillery, which despite missing it’s red box, sold for £600.
As interest continues to be strong for vintage liqueurs, it’s worth mentioning a few mid 20th century bottles sold in the auction. Topping them was this Chartreuse Green bottled between 1941 and 1951 that fetched £1,250, followed closely by a bottle of Chartreuse Yellow from the same period (sold for £1,200). These litre bottles of Suze Gentiane and Tia Maria Cafe bottled in the 1940s to 1950s fetched £210 each.