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It's Islay Time

Jonny McCormick examines how a clutch of Feis Ilé bottlings fared at auction.
The percentage change in average bottle prices gives an indication of the price trend for the output of that particular distillery. As auction results influence the WMI for a year, a rise or fall in value is the net result of the number of bottles sold at the most recent auction and the effect of these prices, added to the prices and bottles over the past 12 months minus the prices and bottlings of last year’s auction that have just expired. Whereas the rankings are the distilleries compared with each other, average prices equate to the distillery relative to itself. With the Dalmore, only a few appear at auction, but the sale of the Dalmore Oculus by Bonham’s last November propelled its ranking up from 41st to 9th. Unless further Dalmore bottles appear by November, expect Dalmore’s position to drop later this year.AUCTION WATCH
Business was brisk at the McTear’s early May sale, with 647 lots to savour and when the dust settled, 82 per cent of lots had been sold generating £145,000. Bidders had the seasonal opportunity to acquire a broad range of Feis Ilé bottlings ahead of this year’s Islay festival. Starting with a 27 Years Old Ardbeg Single Cask 2398 distilled in 1976 released for Feis Ilé 2004 (£440), to the Caol Ila special releases (bottled 2007; £60, bottled 2009; £60), Laphroaig (2004 & 2006; £550, 2006 & 2007; £160), Lagavulin (bottled 2007 & 2008; £320), Bowmore (2006, 2007 & 2008; £240) and last but not least, Bunnahabhain Moine (bottled 2009; £180).Bruichladdich, Glenfiddich and Glenfarclas were the big winners from a WMI perspective this month.Bruichladdich made its top 10 debut, Glenfiddich 50 Years Old distilled in 1939 fell for £9,000, the 25 Years Old Glenfiddich Stag’s Head Decanter soared to £1,300, double its estimate.Glenfarclas leapt up six places backed by a range of proprietary bottlings including the 40 Years Old (£1,100) and the 1961 Glencairn Glass Decanter (£900). At the top of the scale were The Macallan Anniversary 50 Years Old (£10,500), Ardbeg 1965 (£2,600), The Macallan 1946 Select Reserve £2,600 (Lot 49) and Royal Salute 40 Years Old Baccarat Decanter (£2,600).Lots which notably exceeded their high estimates included a Highland Park 35 Years Old John Goodwin bottling (£2,200), Ardbeg Provenance (£750), Port Ellen Annual Release 2001 (£500), Ardbeg 21 Years Old Committee release (£430), Glen Moray Years Old distilled 1959 (£360) and Lagavulin 25 Years Old 57.2% (£300). Early adopters of Octomore will be interested to know that edition 1.1 and 2.1 made £240, Port Charlotte PC5 £160 and Balvenie Rose, a distillery only bottling fetched £250. Premium bourbons are rarely offered at Scottish auctions but several bottles of George T Stagg bourbon went under the hammer (£50-60). Just outside the WMI top 25, there were good ranking gains for some well known brands, but only Mortlach clinched a listing at 25th place. FORTHCOMING AUCTION DATES 16th June 2010 at 11am.Bonhams, Edinburgh Tel +44 (0) 131 225 2266 18th August 2010 at 10.30am.McTears, Glasgow Tel +44 (0) 141 810 2880 18th August 2010 at 2pm.Bonhams, Edinburgh Tel +44 (0) 131 225 2266

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