Our July auction was a truly international affair with bottles from Scotland, Ireland, Japan, France and USA all attracting competitive bidding. Read on for some of our highlights.
Fittingly for an auction that ended on 4 July, this month saw particularly eclectic American whiskeys in large part thanks to the collection of Richard Thomas, former owner of the legendary Crobar in Soho, London. Unfortunately, a casualty of the challenges faced by the hospitality sector in recent years, the bar is now closed and Richard decided to sell his private collection of whiskey.
The Crobar collection provides a timeline of American whiskey spanning from the early 20th Century with pre-prohibition bottles such as this Old Taylor 100 Proof, distilled in 1916 and sold for £2,600, to recent releases like this Pappy Van Winkle’s 23 Year Old Family Reserve (sold for £2,800) and every decade in between. There were fascinating bottles from the 1930s such as this Old Timbrook (sold for £2,300) and Four Roses 4 Year Old (£675), a 1940s Jack Daniel’s 6 Year Old (£4,000) and a Weller’s Antique Reserve 10 Year Old Original Barrel Proof bottled in the 1960s which fetched a hammer price of £4,100.
This ceramic decanter of Dalmore 1926 50 Year Old, bottled in the 1970s at cask strength and presented in a wooden case with leather straps, sold for a hammer price of £17,000 after some late competitive bidding.
There were too many spectacular bottles to list them all here individually, but there was a definite trend for increasingly valuable bottles from the 1950s and 1960s reaching the upper end of the Scotch category this month. From Speyside there was this Macallan 1966 25 Year Old Anniversary Malt that sold for £5,600 and a Macallan 1956 bottled in the 1970s by Campbell, Hope & King that fetched £3,600. A pair of Glenfarclas Family Casks from 1953 and 1954 fetched £5,000 and £4,100 respectively.
Islay provided this delicious sherry matured Bowmore 1965 that fetched £3,500 and from Skye there was this stunning Talisker Pure Malt which sold for £2,300. From Orkney, a Highland Park 1957 22 Year Old from legendary connoisseur Silvano Samaroli sold for £2,400.
Scotch and American whiskeys attracted considerable attention from bidders, but there was much focus on Irish whiskeys including The Devils’s Keep 1991 Inaugural Release (sold for £11,800). In keeping with the international feel of the auction, this Irish whiskey was matured in American and French oak casks before being finished in virgin Hungarian oak and the whisky stones in the spectacular presentation box are sourced from the mountains of Armenia.
The popularity of Japanese whisky shows no signs of slowing and a few highlights of the evening include Karuizawa 1984 Cask #3653 and Karuizawa 1995 23 Year Old Single Cask #5038, both sold for £6,000. A bottle of Hanyu Ichiro’s Malt The Joker fetched £3,600.
Flamboyant Cognac decanters are a staple of all our auctions and this month saw Courvoisier L’Esprit De Cognac fetch £2,500 and a Frapin Cuvee 1888 sell for £2,000 and several of the ever popular Remy Martin Louis XIII and Hennessy Paradis decanters sold from a range of decades.
Armagnac tends to be more understated in presentation and can easily be overlooked at auction at the expense of its louder neighbour. This can be a great bonus for drinkers looking for value for money. This month’s auction included this Chateau De Laubade 1900 Bas Armagnac which sold for £750 and Baron De Sigognac 1926 Bas Armagnac that fetched £525. For anywhere between £200-£300 each buyers could pick up vintages ranging between the 1930s-1950s from the likes of Baron De Sigognac and Baron De Lustrac. An absolute steal in my book.
There are few liqueurs as intriguing as Chartreuse and older bottles attract the most attention at auction. Bidding was highly competitive again this auction with late surges for Chartreuse VEP Yellow bottled in 1964 (sold for £5,400), and this Chartreuse Yellow ‘La Seisenta’ bottled in Tarragona between 1960-1965 which sold for £4,400.
Baijiu maintains its momentum for investors. A 35cl bottle of Kweichow Moutai – Sunflower bottled in the 1960s to 1970s fetched an eventual hammer price of £2,000. A Kweichow Moutai 30 Year Old sold for £1,400.
Finally, Bottle number 1 of the latest Ninefold Scottish Aged Rum Experimental Cask release was kindly donated by Ninefold and was sold for £210 with proceeds going to the charity Equal Measures UK.