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Market Wobbles

Should we be concerned when the WMI falls? Jonny McCormick explains.
The WMI took its biggest monthly percentage fall in nearly two years. The WMI had been climbing upwards due to the growing number of whisky auctions, but there are signs that trading in lower value bottles is occurring. In July, McTear’s staged their largest sale in nine months contributing more than 800 bottles to the WMI, though the grand total added to the WMI was less than half of last November’s total. Certain lots struggled in their August sale such as the Springbank 50 Years Old which sold for £1,200 (£2,100-£2,200 last year) and the Highland Park John Goodwin 35 Years Old at £1,100 (£1,500-1,800 in 2010).Consequently, the average price of whisky at auction has fallen by more than 15 per cent since January, WMI average prices experienced double-digit percentage falls and the WMI fell to its lowest since April.AUCTION WATCHWhile there were fewer star bottles, McTear’s still pulled some magical bottles out of the hat in July. Multiple single cask Glendronachs, several bottles of the attractive Ainslie & Hebron Clynelish 12 Years Old and they conjured up a whole case of Sherriff’s Bowmore (£6,100). The Macallan 10 Years Old released to mark the 10th anniversary of Whisky Magazine fetched £180. The abracadabra moment was when the Rare Malts Brora 1972 22 Years Old 58.7% clinched £1,200 capping the massive increase in price seen for malts from this distillery.The August sale had a profundity of blended whiskies making up more than 20 per cent of the sale plus numerous lots of wine and other spirits.Amid brisk bidding for Diageo’s Manager’s Drams, a trio of premetric Laphroaig 10 Years Old impressed with £1,000, Ardbeg 1976 Single Cask for the Japanese market from a sherry butt cask no. 2395 bottled in 2002 seized £900 and a Glen Grant 1948 50 Years Old from Gordon & MacPhail took £520.Bonham’s Scottish sale achieved the fifth most expensive bottle sold in 2011 with an elegant bottling of The Dalmore Candela selling for £6,000, the Springbank Millennium collection drew £3,500 and a Black Bowmore First Edition delivered £2,300.The Glenlivet 1963 21 Years Old bottled for The Chairman in 1984 took £850, Rare Malts Glenlochy 25 Years Old 1969 62.2% peaked at £600 and the Highland Park Rebus at £1,200.Bruichladdich tumbled out of the top 10 as a cluster of Islay malts jockeyed for position. In general, the prices of rare whiskies are still rising, but fewer high value bottlings than last year will result in a slight market downturn. While the summer sales were less impressive, stay tuned for some spectacular autumn bottles.FORTHCOMING AUCTION DATES (subject to change)2nd November 2011
McTear’s, Glasgow Tel +44 (0)141 810 2880
25th November 2011
Bonham’s, Hong Kong Tel +852 2918 4321
8th December 2011
Bonham’s, New York Tel +1 917 206 1644
10th December 2011
Mulberry Bank Auctions, Glasgow Tel +44 (0)141 225 8181
10th December 2011
Clunie Bank Auctions, Buckie Tel +44 (0)1542 833318
14th December 2011
Bonham’s, Edinburgh Tel +44 (0)1292 520 000

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