We take a look at some of the highlights from our March 2022 whisky and spirits sale.
Closed distilleries were a prominent feature of this month’s sale with malts from sadly defunct distilleries in Scotland and Japan. Our top lot, the Hanyu 1985 Ichiro’s Malt Queen of Diamonds (sold for £22000), is a part of the Card series curated from remaining stock after the distillery ceased production in 2000.
Arguably Japan’s most famous lost distillery, Karuizawa was represented by a couple of 1980s vintage single cask releases in the form of this Karuizawa 1983 Noh (sold for £7,400) and Karuizawa 1984 (sold for £6,800).
From UK shores was a selection of bottles from the ever popular Port Ellen including a rare appearance of a 1982 single cask bottling for the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, SMWS 43.11, sold for £1,800 and Port Ellen 1979 24 Year Old, the third release of Port Ellen in Diageo’s Special Releases series, fetched £1,750.
An impressive result of £2,200 for the Brora 30 Year Old 3rd Release, another of Diageo’s Special Releases series, shows continued interest from collectors in snapping up these increasingly rare bottles. Also up for grabs this month were these offerings from Banff, St Magdalene and Rosebank, including this Rosebank 21 Year Old, the sixth instalment in the Rosebank Roses series, which sold for £2,100.
Whisky royalty meets British royalty in two of our top Macallan lots this month. The Macallan Diamond Jubilee 2012 fetched a regal £7,800 and Macallan really pulled out the stops to link this bottle to the significance of the occasion. The whisky was drawn from the cask on 8 February, the date of the Queen’s accession, and the bottling strength of 52% ABV signifies the beginning of her reign in 1952, it was released in the 60th year of her reign in 2012 and is, of course, limited to just 2012 bottles.
Commemorating another royal occasion, this time the marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton on 29 April 2011, was the Macallan Royal Marriage. This malt is a vatting of two Macallan single malts distilled on 29 April 1996 and 29 April 1999. It sold for £4,100.
A slightly different form of matriarch was commemorated on a bottle of Macallan 1980 18 Year Old Matron’s Millennium Malt, a private bottling of The Macallan 18 year old bottled for the Nevis Estate, owned by theatre producer Cameron Mackintosh, to celebrate the millennium. This rarely seen bottle fetched a record £3,900.
If mature French spirits and liqueurs are your thing, then this month’s auction was vintage for distillates going as far back as this 1811 Napoleon Cognac (sold for £825).
Our favourite though was a Baron de Lustrac 1888 Armagnac, from grapes grown prior to the destruction caused to the region by the vine-destroying Phylloxera beetle in 1893, which fetched £1,050.
From the same vintage year, a 50cl bottle of Chartreuse Yellow – Made in 1888 created when production was at Fourvoirie, reached £2,200.
A quick look around the rest of the auction saw strong results for Springbank continue: Springbank 21 Year Old broke the £1000 barrier. Interest in Kweichow Moutai continues to grow and we saw high prices for aged Baijiu with two Kweichow Moutai 50 Year Old fetching £2,400 and £2,500 respectively, and a Kweichow Moutai 30 Year Old selling for £1,500. For whisky extremists who like their drams to be punchy and peaty this Octomore 5 Year Old Orpheus 02.2 fetched £775, showing a dramatic increase in interest. Finally, this rather delicious Glenfarclas 1964 30 Year Old from Signatory Vintage fetched an impressive £2,500 following a late flurry of bids.