We take a look through some of the highlights from our June Whisky and Spirits Auction.
In keeping with the Jubilee weekend, the auction saw appearances from some regal bottles including this commemorative limited edition Macallan Golden Jubilee Crystal Decanter (sold for £9000). Released for the previous jubilee celebrations, this decanter contains a marriage of fifty different vintage malt whiskies and was one of the final bottles to sell, providing an exciting finish to the auction with some heated late bidding. Macallan frequently release limited edition bottles to mark royal occasions and also up for auction was this Macallan Royal Marriage (sold for £6,600), released to mark the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana and containing a vatting of malts from 1948 and 1961, the birth years of the royal couple. Moving across the highlands, this elegant Glenury Royal 1970 36 Year Old, bottled at cask strength as part of Diageo’s Special Releases series in 2007 fetched £875 and there was strong interest in another Highland favourite with this Dalmore 1973 fetching £3,500 and Dalmore 1981 £2,500.
Our Japanese section also featured some royalty with the inclusion of this Hanyu 1988 Ichiro’s Malt King of Clubs, part of the Hanyu Card Series, fetching a hammer price of £14,000. The highlight of the section and our top lots in the auction were taken by a pair of gorgeously packaged Karuizawa 1981 35 Year Old Single Casks #6478 and #8223, both part of the Splendid Age series, that each fetched £24,500. There was plenty to bid on from auction stalwarts Yamazaki and Hakushu including 25 Year Olds from both distilleries, fetching £8,200 and £3,400 respectively, a Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013 Release (sold for £5,200), and a clutch of Yamazaki 18 Year Olds whose prices are continuing to steadily rise.
The star lot of this month’s American whiskeys was awarded to this Berghoff 14 Year Old , sold for £3,400. Rarely seen at auction, this whiskey was distilled by Stitzel-Weller and bottled in 1988 for the iconic Berghoff restaurant in Chicago. The upward trend for Buffalo Trace Antique Collection bottles is showing no signs of slowing, in particular with older releases such as this William Larue Weller 2014 Release (sold for £1,950) fetching impressive hammer prices. Also steadily rising are the younger age statement Van Winkle bottlings such as the Van Winkle 12 Year Old Lot ‘B’, with one fetching a hammer price of £850 this month. Finally, ever popular with bourbon connoisseurs, this A H Hirsch Reserve 16 Year Old distilled in 1974 prior to the closure of the Michter’s distillery, sold for £2,600.
In other highlights, there were strong showings for Irish whiskey with the Midleton Very Rare 1993 release seeing an extended bidding battle before eventually selling for £1,300. The Midleton Very Rare 2001 edition also fetched an auction record of £975. In other spirits categories there is continued growing interest in mature baijiu and this month’s sale featured both a Kweichow Moutai 50 Year Old (sold for £3,100) and Kweichow Moutai 30 Year Old (sold for £1,750). Ingredients for vintage cocktail lovers are proving ever popular with prices for old Campari showing no signs of slowing, particularly bottles from the 1970s or earlier such as this 1960s bottle of Campari Bitter sold for £230. Of course to get the full authentic vintage Negroni, a vintage gin is also required such as this Curtis London Dry Gin (sold for £320) featuring a Public Health and Hygiene certificate dated 1952.