Island Odyssey

Island Odyssey

Jonny McCormickreports on Isly's growing dominance
Jonny McCormick

29 April 2011

Publication: Issue 95

Auction houses set guide prices for bidders and vendors. The high and low estimates can bookend much of the bidding but the thrill of the sale for spectators comes when the bids climb. A low estimate attracts more bidders but can foster reluctance for higher bids. Ultimately, there should be some consistency.
Price is elastic so where you bid and where you sell always requires careful consideration.
McTear’s concept of themed auctions could bolster selective brands on the WMI, and this time it was Island and Islay malts’ turn to be trumps. Ardbeg and Port Ellen had strong showings despite a sale beset by audio-visual difficulties for online bidders, with an Ardbeg 2002 Single Cask reaching £550 and a Port Ellen 12 Years Old bottled in 1980 for a visit by the Queen hitting £3,200. Laphroaig 1960 realised £1,100, PC5 £150 and a rare stoneware jug of Bowmore 1955 bottled for its launch in 1973 as a single malt attained £950.
Bonham’s full sale showcased a selection of early 1980s bottlings from Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseur’s Choice (CC) range and early Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) bottlings. The lot with CC Ardbeg 16 Years Old distilled 1967 and a CC Caol Ila 14 Years Old distilled 1969 drew £600, and a SMWS 97.1 (Littlemill) snatched £320. An old bottle of The Glendronach doubled its high estimate amassing £1,200, the same figure as a bottle of Cardow bottled by John Walker & Sons, Kilmarnock, while an ancient bottling of Laphroaig 10 Years Old peaked at £1,400. The Macallan Royal Marriage bottled in 1981 contains malt distilled in 1948 and 1961 and achieved a celebrated £600, both bottles of The Macallan 1938 took £2,100 and a specially selected Lagavulin more than tripled its estimate to make £1,900. Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Caol Ila and Port Ellen made WMI gains and The Glenlivet moved ahead of Glenfiddich. There was no change in the top six, Bowmore’s grip on 2nd was by slender margin, one more bottle of Glenmorangie would have clinched it. Keep your eye on these two.

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