Drams Under the Hammer: October 2022

Drams Under the Hammer: October 2022

What to watch in the auction world this month

Auction News | 14 Oct 2022 | By Bradley Weir

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This month’s Drams Under the Hammer puts a spotlight on The Macallan, with much of the month's biggest auction headlines featuring the beloved Scottish distillery. An expression dating back over 80 years is perhaps the most substantial of all, with the liquid first laid down in the Second World War. Among this week’s other news is the exciting announcement of the next Distillers One of One Auction, following on from last year’s huge success.

What you missed...

One-of-a-kind 32-year-old Macallan sold

Prestige Whisky Auction, a family-owned auction house specialising in rare single malts, has completed the sale of a one-of-a-kind 32 year old Macallan.

Accompanied by a signed limited edition ‘Explorer’ print, The Intrepid sold for £7,280 including buyers premium.

The whisky was first distilled on 3 May 1989 as a vatting of two refill American oak hogsheads, which remained untouched at the distillery for 32 years until bottling in September 2021.

The lot from Prestige also included the wooden display case and a box of miniatures of the malt complemented by framed digital prints and autographs. The limited-edition prints on the label features explorers and adventurers such as Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston and Felicity Aston MBE, with the objective of raising awareness for upcoming expeditions.

The expression previously made headlines (including a spot on that month’s Drams Under the Hammer) as a super-sized bottling which sold for an impressive £1.1m. Dubbed the “World’s Largest Bottle of Whisky,” the 180cm tall Intrepid raised the bar for unique bottling. Even at 'normal' size, demand for the expression was great throughout the auction.

81 Year Old Macallan oldest ever at auction

The oldest whisky to ever come to auction has sold at Sotheby’s in London, for an impressive £300,000. Almost tripling its low-end estimate of £110,000, The Reach single malt from The Macallan, aged 81 years, has smashed the previous auction record as the world's oldest whisky established at Sotheby’s, which was an 80 year old Gordon & MacPhail which sold for £142,000.

Created in a single, sherry seasoned oak cask, The Reach is encased in a decanter from hot glass, cradled on a bronze sculpture. The liquid was first laid down during the Second World War, just before The Macallan was forced to close its doors for the first time in its history. The expression previously had an RRP of £92,000, making its auction increase even more impressive considering the significantly high price to begin with.

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Head of Whisky & Spirits, North America and EMEA, said: "This extraordinary result for the oldest whisky ever to come to auction is thoroughly deserved. One of one versions of special Single Malts are highly coveted, and we saw competitive bids playing out as the sale began to close, pushing the final price ever higher, to nearly three times over estimate. Age, rarity and provenance - once again, the holy trinity for collectors."

The winning bidder not only has the privilege of owning this history-making bottle but will also now enjoy a distillery experience at The Macallan Estate, which includes a tasting of this old whisky.

Coming up...

Distillers One of One announces second auction date

Hopetoun House

The second event for The Distillers One of One auction has been announced.

The next auction will take place 5 October 2023 at Hopetoun House near Edinburgh, following on from the success of its inaugural sale in December 2021.

The sale brings together collections of one-off Scotch whiskies from distilleries across the country. The first event raised £2.4 million for charity, of which £2.2 million was donated to the newly created Youth Action Fund, formed to support disadvantaged young people across Scotland.

Managing director of Distillers Ventures, Beanie Geraedts-Espey, commented: "It’s an extraordinary opportunity for passionate whisky collectors and the entire Scotch whisky industry – among them family-owned enterprises and global brands – to come together and celebrate our craft, in the service of the young people in our communities. We hope that the results of this philanthropic endeavour will have far-reaching benefits for decades to come.”

Further information about the contents and participating brands of The Distillers One of One will be announced in spring 2023.

31-year-old Macallan Sherry Butt on auction at Sotheby's

Launched last week and closing on 21 October, Sotheby’s in London is currently hosting a sale featuring a number of acclaimed and iconic bottlings from Italian bottlers Silvano Samaroli and Moon Import.

The lot is headlined by a very rare 31-year-old Macallan Sherry Butt, with its estimate sale predicted to be somewhere in the region of £400,000 and £800,000.

Distilled on 30 September 1991, the estimated bottle yield for the cask is 528 bottles, at a Navy Strength 0f 51.3% ABV. Currently no bids have been made on the auction.

A handful of other Macallan expressions are also part of the lot at Sotheby’s, including a 65-year-old with a starting bid of £30,000, and a 35-year-old with a starting bid of £10,000.

This article is sponsored by Whisky Auctioneer and is created in partnership with the team at Whisky Magazine. This sponsorship does not influence Whisky Magazine's coverage of auctions and Whisky Auctioneer do not have input on editorial decisions.

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