Here are some of the highlights from our February 2023 whisky and spirits sale.
This month featured delightful Islay malts going back to the 1960s. If you are a fan of the whiff of peat smoke then there was plenty to get your mouth watering starting with this gorgeous Laphroaig 10 Year Old bottled in the early 1960s by D Johnston and Co which sold for £8,000. It was in excellent condition and a wonderful example of simplicity in labelling that can’t be recreated in modern bottles due to the amount of information that is legally required to be plastered all over them.
Another of the top lots was this Laphroaig 1960 40 Year Old Vintage Reserve, one of only 300 bottles released with the vintage label, distilled by Bessie Williamson, the first female distillery manager of the 20th century.
Ardbeg was well represented with vintage bottlings from 1977 and 1978 fetching between £675 to £725 and a strong result for the iconic Lord of the Isles 25 Year Old, which sold for £1,550.
Despite a low fill level, the allure of the Bowmore 1964 Black Bowmore Final Edition still saw it fetch £6,400 while a US import bottle of Bowmore Bicentenary fetched £2,300.
There were impressive results for Lagavulin with this Lagavulin 1985 21 Year Old, released in 2007 as part of Diageo’s Special Releases, selling for £2,300, while Lagavulin 16 Year Old White Horse prices also remained strong.
Long Matured Malts
The Dalmore 40 Year Old 2022 release which sold for £6,800 contains an interesting blend of two spirits. One was matured for almost four decades in bourbon casks before a final 18 month stint in 30 year old Gonzalez Byass Matusalem sherry casks. The other was matured initially in bourbon casks, followed by a stay in Graham’s Colheita Port casks from 1970.
There were a pair of Jura 1966 40 Year Olds that sold for £2,300 and £2,400 and, from the same vintage, a Jura 1966 32 Year Old from Signatory Vintage, one of its 10th anniversary bottlings, that sold for £1,350.
The Fettercairn 40 Year Old sold for £1,650 and Glenfiddich 40 Year Old Cumulative Time in its distinctive Jesmonite case sold for £4,200. The relatively youthful Brora 30 Year Old 4th Release from the 2005 Diageo Special Releases series sold for £2,000 and a Linlithgow 1973 30 Year Old sold for £1,300.
The ever popular Diageo Rare Malts Selection attracted a lot of interest as well as late bidding. These mature single malts – often from closed distilleries – allow whisky fans to taste some truly spectacular liquid, hence the high levels of competition at auction. This month included a Rosebank 1979 20 Year Old (£1,200), St. Magdalene 1970 23 Year Old (£1,050), Clynelish 1974 23 Year Old (£1,250) and Brora 1972 22 Year Old (£4,800).
More about the Rare Malts Selection.
Vintage liqueurs and cocktail ingredients continued to see competitive bidding, particularly for bottles of Chartreuse, Campari, Fernet Branca and Amaretto.
A 50cl bottle of Chartreuse Green going back to the 1940s sold for £875 and a 37.5cl Chartreuse Yellow from the same era sold for £550. A 68cl bottle of Chartreuse Yellow, bottled between 1956 and 1964 fetched £1,250.
Also from the 1950s, was this litre bottle of Fernet Branca which sold for £200 and a bottle of Cointreau Apricot Brandy Liqueur that fetched £170.
The oldest bottle in the auction was one Carle Freres Curacao Sec, with a neck label reading ‘laid down 20th December 1879’, that sold for £210.
Campari continued its steady rise with prices between £130 and £160 for bottles from the 1970s to 1980s.
Definitely worth a mention is this impeccable pair of 1950s Royal Navy Rum Flagons in their original wooden crate that sold for an impressive £5,000.
We love a vintage bottle in great condition and were pleased to see this stunningly preserved 1940s Claymore Spring Cap blend from McDonald Greenlees sold for £625.
Breaking auction records with a hammer price of £525 was this Glamis Castle 25 Year Old blend that was bottled to celebrate the Queen Mother’s 90th birthday.
And we couldn’t go a whole article without mentioning The Macallan, this month I’ve picked out this Macallan Distil Your World New York Edition, which reached a hammer price of £9,600, for the honour of top lot.