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The 21st Century's 100 greatest bottles

Jonny McCormick looks at the top 100 single malt whisky bottles auctioned this century
By Rob Allanson
Headlines from whisky auctions focus on the most expensive bottles and helps publicise the growing popularity of buying whisky at auction. Even a casual glance at the top 100 will show the dominance of a handful of distilleries, the great sums paid out for 19th and early 20th century whisky, the importance of age statements to collectors and the growing prices of certain bottlings over time when they reappear for auction. The list has been compiled from the Whisky Magazine Index database, online sources and reference texts such as Collecting Malt Whisky (2007) by Martin Green. Where auctions have taken place outside the United Kingdom, prices were converted into £GBP on the day of the auction. If a multiple bottle lot reached an individual value worthy of inclusion, the bottles were listed individually such as the Bowmore Trilogy. Where auction prices are tied, precedence in the rankings is chronological.


100


Port Ellen

Queen’s Visit,12 Years Old
£3,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2011

99


The Macallan

52 Years Old, 1946
£3,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2009

98


Glenfiddich

50 Years Old
£3,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2007

97


Glenfiddich

50 Years Old
£3,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2003

96


Benachie

Callander & Graham 1895
£3,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

95


Stromness

Old Orkney Real Liqueur, early 20th Century
£3,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2000

94


Bowmore

GoldBowmore, 44 Years Old
£3,210
Bonham’s, New York – 2010

93


Royal Brackla

60 Years Old, 1924
£3,300
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2009

92


Lagavulin

Mackie&Co., Believed to beearly 20th Century
£3,300
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2002

91


The Macallan

52 Years Old, 1946
£3,365
Bonham’s, New York – 2011

90


Bowmore

40 Years Old, 1955
£3,400
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2008

89


The Macallan

Rare Reserve 1886
£3,400
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2000

88


The Macallan

1946
£3,500
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2010

87


Talisker

John Haig & Co.
£3,500
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

86


Ardbeg

A. McDougall & Co. 1885
£3,500
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2000

85


The Balvenie

50 Years Old, 1937
£3,600
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2010

84


Bowmore

40 Years Old, 1955
£3,600
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2009

83


Rieclachan

10 Years Old, Wylie, Mitchell&Co., Believed to be early 20th century
£3,600
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

82


Bowmore

Gold Bowmore, 44 Years Old
£3,670
Bonham’s, New York – 2011

81


Bowmore

White Bowmore, 43 Years Old
£3,670
Bonham’s, New York – 2011

80


Bowmore

Black Bowmore, 42 Years Old
£3,670
Bonham’s, New York – 2011

79


The Macallan

Late 19th Century
£3,700
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2000

78


Bowmore

Gold Bowmore, 44 Years Old
£3,725
Christies, New York – 2009

77


Bowmore

White Bowmore, 43 Years Old
£3,725
Christies, New York – 2009

76


Bowmore

Black Bowmore, 42 Years Old
£3,725
Christies, New York – 2009

75


The Balvenie

50 Years Old, 1937
£3,730
Bonham’s, New York – 2009

74


The Dalmore

50 Years Old
£3,730
Bonham’s, New York – 2009

73


The Balvenie

50 Years Old, 1937
£3,800
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2010

72


Lagavulin

Believed to be 1875
£3,800
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2002

71


Lagavulin

Mackie & Co., Believed to be early 20th Century
£3,800
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2002

70


Port Ellen

J. Murray & Sons 1882
£3,800
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2002

69


Springbank

50 Years Old, 1919
£3,800
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

68


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£3,800
Christies, London – 1999

67


Talisker

Believed 19th Century
£3,900
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

66


Bowmore

40 Years Old, 1955
£4,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2010

65


Bowmore

40 Years Old, 1955
£4,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2008

64


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£4,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

63


Jura

Charles R. Haig Season, 1882
£4,100
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2000

62


Dalaruan

Special Reserve, 1901
£4,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

61


Lagavulin

John Bisset & Co., 1909
£4,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2000

60


Glenfarclas

John Grant Bicentenary, 50 Years Old
£4,285
Bonham’s, New York – 2011

59


Glenfiddich

50 Years Old
£4,300
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

58


The Macallan

50 Years Old, Millenium
£4,345
Christies, New York – 2010

57


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£4,400
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2008

56


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£4,400
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2004

55


Glenfiddich

Special Scotch Whisky
£4,500
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2011

54


The Dalmore

50 Years Old
£4,500
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2010

53


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£4,500
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2004

52


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£4,570
Bonham’s, New York – 2010

51


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£4,600
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2004

50


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£4,600
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2003

49


The Macallan

Vintage 1945
£4,930
Christies, New York – 2007

48


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£5,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2002

47


Kinloch

Lamb, Colville & Co., 1880
£5,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

46


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£5,200
Christies, Glasgow – 1997

45


The Macallan

50 Years Old in Lalique
£5,275
Christies, New York – 2010

44


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£5,400
Bonham’s, New York – 2010

43


The Macallan

55 Years Old in Lalique
£5,400
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2010

42


Glen Fyne

Glamis, 10 Years Old
£5,500
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2010

41


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£5,800
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2008

40


Glenfiddich

Over 50 Years Old
£5,900
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2010

39


The Dalmore

Candela
£6,000
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2011

38


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£6,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2006

37


The Macallan

50 Years Old in Lalique
£6,200
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2010

35


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£6,200
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2009

34


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£6,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2008

33


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£6,345
Bonham’s, New York – 2010

32


The Macallan

55 Years Old in Lalique
£6,830
Christies, New York – 2009

31


Longrow

Beith Ross & Co., 1864
£7,200
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

30


The Macallan

50 Years Old in Lalique
£7,500
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2011

29


Bowmore

Queen’s Cask, 21 Years Old
£8,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2003

28


The Macallan

1928
£8,000
Christies, London – 1999

27


The Macallan

60 Years Old, 1926, Adami
£8,250
Christies, London – 1999

26


Ardbeg

DoubleBarrel,1974
£8,260
Bonham’s, Hong Kong – 2010

25


The Macallan

50 Years Old, Millennium
£8,500
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2011

24


Ardbeg

Double Barrel, 1974
£8,675
Bonham’s, Hong Kong – 2010

23


Glenfiddich

50 Years Old, Released 1990
£9,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2010

22


Glenfiddich

50 Years Old
£9,200
Bonham’s, New York – 2011

21


The Macallan

55 Years Old in Lalique
£9,300
Christies, New York – 2010

20


The Macallan

57 Years Old in Lalique
£9,800
Bonham’s, New York – 2011

19


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£10,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2009

18


The Macallan

60 Years Old, 1926, Adami
£10,000
Christies, London – 1996

17


The Macallan

55 Years Old in Lalique
£10,400
Bonham’s, New York – 2011

16


The Macallan

Anniversary 50 Years Old
£10,500
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2010

15


The Macallan

60 Years Old, 1926, Adami
£10,500
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2003

14


Port Ellen

John Ramsay, Distillers 1891
£11,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

13


Bowmore

Late 19th Century, W&J Mutter
£13,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

12


The Macallan

50 Years Old, 1928
£13,500
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2011

11


The Glenlivet

1883, 48 Years Old
£15,000
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2011

10


The Glenlivet

G&M, 70 Years Old
£15,000
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2011

9


The Macallan

60 Years Old, 1926
£15,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2001

8


The Macallan

60 Years Old, 1926
£18,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2002

7


Springbank

1938
£20,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2010

6


Glenfiddich

64 Years Old, 1937
£21,000
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2010

5


The Dalmore

62 Years Old,Kildermorie
£22,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2002

4


The Macallan

Vintage 1926
£22,180
Bonham’s, New York – 2007

3


The Dalmore

Oculus
£23,000
Bonham’s, Edinburgh – 2009

2


Bowmore

Mutter
£25,000
McTear’s, Glasgow – 2007

1


The Macallan

64 Years Old Cire Perdue
£286,500
Sotheby’s, New York – 2010