Drams under the hammer

Drams under the hammer

What to watch in March

08 March 2021

We’ve rounded up some of the rarest and most exciting whiskies going to auction in the coming days and weeks, and with many of these drams marking history in the making, you won’t want to let these pass you by. Read on to find out what’s happening in the latest auctions, and how you can keep an eye on events.

Rare Malts Selection

Whisky.auction director Isabel Graham-Yooll has marked this collection as something rather special. The whiskies form the predecessor to Diageo’s annual Special Releases, and were created in 1995. They consist of bottlings predominantly from closed distilleries, distilled in the late 60s, 70s or early 80s, and aged for at least 18 years. The auction containing these unique drams will begin to close from 7.30pm on Tuesday 9th March – so keep your eyes peeled for an exciting close over the next few days.

Jim McEwan Signature Collection

Image credit: James Robertson

Whisky Auctioneer’s next auction is set to commence on the 11th of March, and will close on the 15th. The auction will see Jim’s final personal reserves from Bruichladdich being sold, with the collection containing iconic Islay malts drawn from casks distilled under McEwan’s watch at Bruichladdich. The drams have been bottled by Scottish independent bottlers Dramfool, and are truly an Islay whisky lover’s dream; the collection is made up of nine releases, each containing a single cask Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore expression.

The first edition bottlings to go under the hammer have been entirely matured in first-fill wine casks from French Châteaux, inspired by McEwan’s use of alternative casks that would become a cornerstone of Bruichladdich’s legacy and style. The first release includes an especially exciting Octomore expression, entirely matured in a Sauternes barrique (one of Octomore’s rarest wood styles) and one of the oldest expressions ever released at 13 years old.

Longmorn BBR 1969

This is another pick from Isabel Graham-Yooll, a gorgeous old Longmorn 1969 bottled in 1991 by London's oldest wine merchant, Berry Bros & Rudd. This is a traditional Speyside malt; made with floor-malted barley distilled in coal-fired stills, it yields a weighty, complex whisky. When this was bottled the malt was mainly used for blends, so it’s a case of luck that this one was rescued by Berry Bros. & Rudd.

White Horse

Clearly there’s been a lot of luck in whisky.auction’s latest offerings, with not one but two White Horses going under auction, one bottled in 1951 and the other in 1955. White Horse is peaty, powerful and elegant, and anyone ready for a vertical tasting of blends can see some incredible changes in these over the decades. Not only have production techniques and recipes been adapted, but so too have the quality of closures and the effects of age on old bottle; these would certainly be suited to the discerning whisky taster.

What have you missed? In other whisky auction news…

‘Once in a generation’ bottle of The Glenrothes 50-year-old sells for £39,000 in exclusive auction

The last of The Glenrothes’ 50-year-old Speyside single malt has gone under the hammer at an exclusive auction.

The rare and unique bottling was sold for £39,000 in February during a virtual event delivered by auction house Bonhams, which was streamed live from the home of Royal Warrant holders Hamilton & Inches in Edinburgh.

Decanter #50 – the very last of a 50-bottle release – was handcrafted in collaboration with Royal Warrant holders Hamilton & Inches, and is decorated with 22 carat gold from Scotland’s only gold mine.

An engraved gold collar with ‘The 50th of 50’ encircles the neck, and the stopper features hand-cut letters and numerals proudly declaring the bottle number. The ‘extraordinary’ decanter also features a gold frame plaque bearing the words ‘50 years old’.

The decanter was bought by an anonymous individual, with The Glenrothes set to donate proceeds to a charity of the successful bidder’s choice.

Laura Rampling, master whisky maker at The Glenrothes, said: “Today really is an historic day for The Glenrothes and marks the culmination of 50 years of passion and skilled craftsmanship.

“We’re incredibly proud to have worked with Hamilton & Inches to create this stunning decanter and celebrate this milestone in our history.”

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