Bowmore Bonanza

Bowmore Bonanza

A round up from the auction world

Whisky Magazine Index | 25 Oct 2013 | Issue 115 | By Jonny McCormick

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Nicola Young is relishing the task ahead following her appointment as Whisky Specialist at Mulberry Bank Auctions. On the eve of her first sale at Whisky Magazine’s Auction House of the Year, she set out her intentions, “I want to include desirable, exclusive whiskies that collectors go weak at the knees for. I am also interested in fantastic blends from the 50s and 60s. It’s not always about having the most expensive bottles, it’s about having whiskies that are unusual, collectable, oddball and possibly forgotten and lost.” Nicola is a champion of the live whisky auction arena: “The sale day has to be exciting, intense and sometimes jaw dropping. \r\n\r\nRemember, we host a live auction. The buzz of the sale room needs to be felt and heard online. It’s exciting!” Maintaining the quality of the whisky catalogue and tastings cannot be taken for granted, “Ensuring the auction is stocked full of rare and collectable whiskies is no mean feat. Sourcing bottles requires awareness, information and accurate valuations. Valuation days have played a huge part in putting together a successful, diverse sale. It’s amazing what bottles have turned up.  To find the best bottles in the land, I need to increase exposure of the whisky sales leaving no stone unturned. I’m looking forward to it.”\r\n\r\n

\r\nAuction Watch

\r\n\r\nChristies have increased their prices for the second time this year, up to 17.5%. Bonhams had a few dozen bottles in their Scottish sale including £1,200 for each bottle from the Lomond still installed by Hiram Walker at Inverleven (distillery 98). Taylor’s began their new six sales a year programme assertively with a sale packed with Manager’s Drams and attractive single malts from the independent bottlers. Sepia labelled Connoisseur’s Choice bottlings on offer included Dallas Dhu 16 Years Old distilled 1972 (£160), Edradour 14 Years Old distilled 1973 (£130) and Cragganmore 15 Years Old distilled 1972 (£120-£140). This is a good place to look for recent Ardbeg releases: Very Young (£180), Still Young (£95), Almost There (£95), Rollercoaster (£100), Alligator (£100), Ardbeg Day (£150), and Ardbog (£180). Macallan Easter Elchies Selections were well matched: 2010 (£440), 2011 (£460), 2012 (£440). Finally, I loved the green labelled James McArthur grain whiskies bottled in the 1980s included a Ben Nevis 27 Years Old (£120) produced in their Coffey stills and a Carsebridge 28 Years Old (£120).\r\n\r\nThe spectacular prices bid for the jewels of the Bowmore back catalogue left McTear’s auctioneer Natasha Rashkin almost speechless. The catalogue not only boasted each of the three 1990s editions of Black Bowmore (£3,000, £2,600 and £3,000 respectively) but Black and White Bowmore bottlings from the modern trilogy (both £2,600). The solid boxed presence of Bowmore Bourbon Cask 1964 (£2,800), Oloroso Cask 1964 (£2,400) and two bottles of Fino Cask 1964 (both £3,200) kept the momentum going, not forgetting the Bowmore 40 Years Old 1955 (£3,800) and 38 Years Old 1957 (£2,200) rounding off the Islay single malt’s greatest ever day at auction. Although a prosperous day for their vendors, their new owners can now savour their fresh acquisitions indefinitely; it’s as much about class as it is about coin.\r\n\r\nIt was wonderful to see that glint of polished copper on the tube of the Benromach 55 Years Old distilled in 1949 when one of only 83 bottles sold for £3,000. Last year’s Glenfarclas 58 Years Old Wealth Solutions bottling came back from Poland to make its first appearance in Scotland and achieved £2,800, one bid short of its low estimate. The final glory of the afternoon was lot 1000; the Yamazaki 50 Years Old bottled at an imposing 57% which quickly attracted a winning bid of £6,500. McTear’s drew a remarkable international audience in July with European bidders competing with bids placed from Japan, Hong Kong, USA and Australia. This competition kept prices keen and bidding was hard. As they say in the North East of England, shy bairns get nowt.
\r\n \r\n\r\n

Investment drams

\r\n\r\nEwan McIlwraith new owner - Robertsons of Pitlochry\r\n\r\nWhat whisky have you bought to keep?
\r\nThere were bottles of The Family Silver Bunnahabhain 1968 in the stock when I bought the shop. It’s my birth year, so they’re pretty special.\r\n\r\nWhat whisky will you sell or open soon?
\r\nMortlach 16 Years Old Flora & Fauna.\r\n
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