May’s auction featured an eclectic range of historic spirits and liqueurs and saw plenty of competitive bidding. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.
Our top lot of the auction set a new record with a hammer price of £19,500. The bottle in question was the Karuizawa 33 Year Old Sherry Cask #3579 Golden Geisha. Bottle number 62 of only 129, this rare Japanese whisky hasn’t appeared at auction in a while but made an impressive reappearance.
Two of the bottles that saw the most competitive late bidding in the auction were both from Yamazaki, namely the Suntory Yamazaki 1994 The Owner’s Cask, which eventually sold for £6,000, and this Yamazaki 1996 Single Cask that fetched a hammer price of £5,400.
The first bottling of Yoichi from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, SMWS 116.1 Coconut Peapods and Tropical Hothouses, distilled in 1986 and bottled at 16 years of age, attracted a lot of attention and sold for £3,200 after some frantic late bidding.
Also of note were a bottle of Yamazaki 18 Year Old presented in a leather bag from renowned London designer Bill Amberg (sold for £1,100), and another Karuizawa featuring a beautifully presented Geisha label, the Karuizawa 1990 Cask #679, matured in first-fill sherry casks and bottled at cask strength, this sold for £4,100.
There was strong representation from all of Scotland’s whisky regions in the auction and a particularly enticing line-up from Campbeltown. Springbank made up the bulk of this section of the sale, including this Springbank 1966 Local Barley Cask Number 486, which sold for £3,400, a Springbank 25 Year Old, bottled as part of the Millennium Series (sold for £2,200), and a particularly delicious looking Springbank 1978 Cask No. 196, a white label bottling from Cadenhead’s bottled at a cask strength of 56.4% (sold for £1,600).
An unassuming bottle of Campbeltown 1972 bottled in the early 1990s for Tesco supermarkets fetched an impressive hammer price of £1,450, a considerable jump from its original shelf price.
Because we are suckers for pretty and old bottles at Whisky.Auction, this Glen Scotia 5 Year Old, bottled in the 1960s for Italian import, deserves a mention. In immaculate condition, this fetched £190.
Chartreuse continues to attract strong interest at auction and this month’s lots were no exception with a lot of late bidding battles taking place over some of the vintage bottles on offer. This Chartreuse Yellow, bottled between 1941-1951, eventually finished on a hammer price of £1,250, while a litre of Chartreuse VEP Yellow followed closely behind ending on £1,200.
Unusually it was Yellow Chartreuse taking the categories top spots this month and this also included a couple of half bottles. This Chartreuse Yellow El Gruno sold for £675 and Chartreuse Yellow bottled between 1941-1951, fetched £575.
While the Green Chartreuse on offer wasn’t quite as old, there were bottles dating from the 1960s to 1980s including this Chartreuse Green ‘Le Cabochon’, bottled in the mid-1960s and sold for £490.
As ever, Macallan was prominent among the top Scotch whisky lots with bottles such as this Macallan 40 Year Old Red Collection (sold for £15,500), Macallan 2008 Distil Your World London Edition (sold for £9,000), and Macallan 30 Year Old Fine Oak Master of Photography (£5,600) among the upper echelons of the auction.
The Highlands category was topped by a Brora 1972 22 Year Old from Diageo’s discontinued Rare Malts Selection and a Glenury Royal 1953 50 Year Old, both fetching £5,200. Also from Brora was the SMWS 61.2, a 1978 distillate and the second release from this distillery from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, bottled at a generous 62.2%.
Top Lowlands malt went to the Rosebank 21 Year Old Roses Edition I – True Love, the first release in the Rosebank Roses series from Speciality Drinks, fetching £6,000. From the Islands a Highland Park 40 Year Old sold for £2,500 and this invitingly dark single cask Highland Park 1965 37 Year Old from John Scott’s ended on £2,400.
One of the most intense bidding scraps of the evening was over this Napoleon Cognac 1811, presented in excellent condition, that eventually settled on £2,500. Just pipping it into the top Cognac lot though was this Hardy L’Ete Grande Champagne Cognac, presented in a Lalique crystal decanter, which sold for £2,600.
There was impressive results for auction stalwart Remy Martin Louis XIII, with various editions available and prices ranging from £1,600 to £2,400. Other prestige Cognacs such as the Richard Hennessy in its Baccarat decanter, sold for £2,100, and the Chateau Paulet Louis XVI Reserve presented in a crystal Sevres decanter fetched £875.
The bottle containing the oldest Cognac of the night was a Chateau Paulet Very Old Cognac 1893, bottled for Harrod’s in 1980 and specially selected from the ‘Chai Paradis’ cellar, where exceptional Cognacs are stored in glass demi-johns. The winning bid was £1,600.
Our top Rum lot this month went to these stunningly well preserved 1950s Royal Navy Rum Flagons, presented in their original wooden crate marked with R.A.S.C. Sups (Royal Army Service Corps Supplies) and sold for £4,000. From the following decade, this gorgeous 1960s Caroni Navy Rum fetched a hammer price of £1,650.