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Drams Under the Hammer: December 2022

What to watch in the auction world this month
By Bradley Weir
This month's Drams Under the Hammer features an incredible sale of an Ardbeg one-of-36 bottle from its smallest official single cask, which has broken its own auction record with an impressive total sale price of of £35,000. On auction this month includes a Port Ellen 12 Year Old and the Dalmore Decades No. 5 Collection, with bottles dating back all the way to 1967.

What you missed...

Ardbeg breaks its auction record



Ardbeg has broken its own auction record for a single bottle of Ardbeg. One of the most recognisable and collectable names in the whisky world, the bottle in question is a one-of-36 bottle from cask #2742, the smallest official single cask that the distillery has ever released. The bottles were originally only available in hotel bars around the world, and the total hammer price is a mightily impressive £35,000.

Joe Wilson, Head Curator & Spirits Specialist at Whisky Auctioneer, said: “As Whisky Auctioneer continues to grow, instances of auctioning a bottle for the first time have become rarer yet all the more special. We were hugely excited to be lucky enough to encounter this near-mythical single cask from Ardbeg, notable for its important vintage as well as its tiny 36-bottle yield. Ardbeg is a distillery with a somewhat tumultuous past, but since the turn of the century has deservedly become one of the world’s most desired whiskies, as evidenced by the high international interest in both this bottle and its incredible result.”


Coming up...

Three bottles of Bowmore on auction in Paris



Three bottles of Bowmore will be in attendance at Bonham’s Cornette de Saint Cyr’s Fine Whisky et Spiritueux d’Exception sale in Paris, which takes place on Tuesday 6 December.

The highlight of the Bowmore’s is undoubtedly a 35-year-old-1964, where only 99 bottles were made available and comes from the same batch of casks as the Black Bowmore series. The bottle is estimated to sell between €16,000-20,000.

Among the other Bowmore’s include a 1956 which is estimated at €8,000-10,000 and a bottle of Bowmore-1964 which is estimated between €7,000-9,000. The bottles are presented in their original cases.

Other non-Bowmore whiskies available at the auction includes an Aberfeldy the Gold of Pitilie-28 year old-1985, estimated between €15,000-20,000, a bottle of Hanyu Ichiro's Malt-2 of Spades, estimated between €13,000-20,000 and A bottle of Karuizawa Single Cask-1975 estimated at €16,000-20,000.

Diego Lanza, Bonhams Senior Whisky Specialist, said: “We are fortunate to be offering some very special and sought-after bottles in this sale. The 35 year old 1964 is an extremely rare Bowmore – undoubtedly one of their very best. The Aberfeldy the Gold of Pitilie-28 year old-1985 is very scarce and hardly ever comes onto the open market. Only eight bottles of the ten produced were released for sale and we are offering number 1.”

Dalmore Decades The No. 5 Collection



Words by Heather Storgaard

In 2020, Dalmore released the 'Decades Collection', a series of bottlings spanning from 1967 to 2000 that illustrates the distillery's spirit, described by The Dalmore as "A Masterpiece of Time". The five bottles are presented in a beautiful fabric-lined display cabinet, alongside five display plinths, making this not just a representation of the legacy of one of Scotland's finest distilleries but also an impressive centrepiece for even the most extraordinary of private whisky collections. The auction runs until 5 December, and for more information, visit here.

Lottas Home 13 Year Old Papa's Private Reserve Rye 1998



Words by Heather Storgaard

This month, Whisky Auctioneer have a number of incredible Van Winkle bottles. A particular highlight is Lottas Home, One of just 60 bottles. This is an incredibly rare rye whiskey bottled in Lawrenceburg by the Old Commonwealth Distillery Co for Macha Weine & Feines in Germany.

The whiskey is the same used for the legendary Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye - presumed to have been distilled at Medley in Owensboro, with Cream of Kentucky rye from Bernheim blended through it.

A brilliant example of the simple, informative labelling German independent bottlings have become known for, Lottas Home is available in Whisky Auctioneer’s auction until December 5.

Port Ellen 12 Year Old James MacArthur Cask Strength / 62.7%



Words by Heather Storgaard

This Port Ellen 12 Year Old James MacArthur, available in Whisky Auctioneer’s November auction, is one of the rarest and most sought-after Port Ellen bottlings. Known as the lost jewel in the Islay crown, Port Ellen is one of a handful of Scotch whiskies to have gained a near-mythical status simply thanks to the high quality of the liquid.

Bottled a few years after the distillery's closure in 1983, this expression was released by James MacArthur at 12 years of age and at a typically high strength of 62.7%. MacArthur & Co let the whisky do the talking, with a simple and classic labelling.


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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