Want the lowdown on what’s moving up what’s coming down and what to watch? Register here to make sure you never miss out on any old and rare spirits. This month all eyes were on Macallan, Cognac and Caroni. Here’s what we’ve been watching:
It’s been a rollercoaster ride for The Macallan Red Collection released on to the market just last year. The Macallan has become so sought after that each new release attracts a flurry of activity, the UN should really recognise Macallan as a legal currency. It was third time’s a charm for this bottle of The Macallan 71 Year Old from The Red Collection bottled 2020 which sold for £52000. Even more spectacular was The Macallan 2008 Distil Your World London Edition bottled in 2020 from a single cask, an extremely limited edition released only for a handful of top London restaurants and bars. The Macallan being what it is (i.e. tremendously collectable) and the situation for bars and restaurants being so precarious (i.e. due to Covid restrictions) it’s no wonder these bottles have quickly appeared at auction and get snapped up at a much higher price by eager and canny collectors. This one sold for £8600.
Following February’s historic auction of pre-revolutionary Hardy 1777 Cognac, this month we were delighted that the super rare Martell Extra Cognac Bottled in the 1950s into a Baccarat Michelangelo Decanter surpassed our expectations and hammered out at £42500. Cognac is only just beginning to attract the attention it deserves and there are still plenty of extremely affordable Cognacs to be found by auction hunters. Look out for grande marques bottled in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s for something profoundly different to the modern day releases. Do also experiment with more recent releases from lesser known Cognac houses that are every bit as good as the famous names. Bargain Cognacs crop up every month so it pays to cast your net widely in this category.
Elsewhere, the seasoned rum enthusiasts were all watching Caroni. There’s a lot to commend Caroni for investors and collectors but there’s even more to love for traditional whisky enthusiasts looking for an alternative direction. The Caroni distillery was founded in Trinidad in 1923 but eventually closed in 2002 so cask stocks are gradually depleting. Caroni rums are known for their heavy, robust, phenolic, oily character, but the distillery had column stills so was able to make a wide variety of styles. For a lighter Caroni look for casks matured in Europe, for greater wood extraction and more oxidative notes opt for rums aged in the Caribbean.
If any one person can be credited with bringing Caroni to the attention of an appreciative audience, it’s Luca Gargano of Velier, and while top bottlings from Velier exchange hands for four figure sums, new bottlings do appear regularly. Keen bidders can still be confident in picking up a bottle of Caroni at close to release prices.