Where to begin this month for our December auction results roundup? There was no shortage of early Christmas crackers in our December auction for the discerning whisky collector so read on to see a handful of the highlights.
Topping the auction was a Karuizawa 35 Year Old Cask #8518, one half of Elixir Distiller’s Emerald Geisha releases, which sold for a winning bid of £18,000. Also among the top lots from Japan were a pair of Yamazaki 25 Year Old Limited Editions fetching £5,400 and £5,600 a piece.
Some gorgeous Scotch was up for grabs including a Caol Ila 15 Year Old Manager’s Dram, part of a series specially selected for Diageo by Distillery Managers and bottled at a chunky 63%. This sold to the lucky winning bidder for £4,300. Other Islay highlights included an Ardbeg Provenance 1974, sold for £2,700 and a pair of Lagavulin 12 Year Olds bottled by White Horse Distillers, one in the 1970s and one the 1980s, selling for £1050-£1,100 each.
There were mature whiskies such as this Auchentoshan 1957 50 Year Old, one of only 144 bottles from a single cask, sold for £3,400. Also from the lowlands and bottled in relatively small numbers was this St Magdalene 20 Year Old, distilled in 1978 and bottled to celebrate 100 years of the United Distillers engineering department at Waterloo Street in Glasgow. Originally released exclusively to staff and VIPs, this is a rare addition for the collection of the winning bidder who won with a bid of £2,900. This Longmorn Centenary 25 Year Old with it’s striking gold label, was another rare bottle originally only presented to staff and dignitaries available to bid on in the auction and sold for £1,250.
Featured in the auction were a selection of beautiful bottles from the much revered Silvano Samaroli. Bottled in very limited numbers, mostly at cask strength and packaged in often simple but gorgeous labels, Samaroli’s bottles tick many of the boxes for what makes a whisky collectable and these bottles typically attract plenty of attention whenever they appear at auction.
For lovers of sherried Speyside malts, this enticingly dark Longmorn Glenlivet 1974, matured in sherry wood and bottled at a cask strength of 60.8%, fetched £5,400, while this equally dark Glenrothes 1969 sold for £3,100. A bottle of the Macallan 1971 from the Curved Distillery Labels series fetched £3,100.
This bottle of Glen Garioch Coilltean 15 Year Old, featuring Silvano Samaroli’s exquisite calligraphy on the front label as well as on the tasting notes on the rear label, a common feature of Samaroli bottlings, sold for £2,800. A Glen Keith Glenlivet 1969 12 Year Old from the wonderfully named ‘The Never Bottled Top Quality Whisky Series’, sold for £1,800. For fans of something a little peatier, this Port Ellen 1975 23 Year Old was also sold for £1,800.
Italy has had a long association with single malt scotch whiskies and in addition to the Samaroli bottles there were some stunning independent bottlings from Moon Import including a number of their ‘Sails in the Wind’ collection such as this Port Ellen 1981 and Linkwood 1979, both in pristine condition and sold for £1,550 and £1,300 respectively. From the ‘Half Moon’ series, there was a Glenlivet 19 Year Old Sherry Wood (sold for £1,550) and a Glen Moray Glenlivet 22 Year Old Sherry Wood (£1,100).
Bowmore’s 200th anniversary was celebrated with the release of the iconic hand blown decanters containing a vatting of 10 vintages such as this Bowmore Bicentenary imported to the Italian Market (sold for £1,950). The importer, Fecchio & Frassa, also imported another, less commonly seen Bowmore Bicentenary 1779-1979 (sold for £2,700) bottled at a higher strength of 56.2%.
A unique lot that caught the eye of a good number of bidders was this Springbank 10 Year Old Ceramic Set, imported to Italy by Consorzio Vinicolo. Still contained in the original wooden case was a ceramic decanter of Springbank 10 year old with a matching ceramic ashtray and water jug that sold for £310.
It’s the time of year for goodwill and we had a special lot in the shape of this Worshipful Company of Distillers 350th Anniversary Master’s Case containing twelve assorted bottles of whisky and gin collected by Chris Porter during his 12 month tenure as Master of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, sold for £750 which will be donated to the Distillers Charity.
Our Cognac category was led by this rarely seen Hennessy Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cognac. Beautifully presented in a wooden case with wax seals, this is one of only 60 bottles created by Hennessy from a single vintage of Grande Champagne La Sauzade and sold for £2,700.
For those stocking up on Christmas cocktail ingredients there were plenty bargains to be had on vintage spirits and liqueurs. Popular choices for recreating authentic vintage cocktails included Campari, with bottles from the 1970s fetching up to £140, Cynar and Aperol dating back to the 1950s, and Fernet Branca from the 1960s and 70s.