Whisky Advocate

A second chance to buy the whisky you always wanted

March 31st, 2011

So, maybe you came a little late to this single malt scotch craze and missed out on some great whiskies bottled ten or twenty years ago? Well, you have another chance to to buy a bottle or two.

Yes, you will probably pay more for it. But then again, you might not.

A few days ago, I received the Bonhams Whisky Catalog for an auction they are having in New York City on April 14th (two weeks from today). I’m drooling just paging through it.

Yes, there are some heavy-hitters like the Bowmore Trilogy (Black, White and Gold) and the Springbank Millennium Set (25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 year old).  But there are also some really interesting–and high-quality–whiskies you can probably pick up for $200-300, like some older bottled Broras, Port Ellens, Bowmores, Springbanks, and Ardbegs. Oh, and some older Macallans too, like this “Private Eye” bottling (shown above). The estimated range on this one, however, is a little steep ($600-800).

I’ve never been to a whisky auction. And I can’t make it to this one either, because it conflicts with WhiskyFest Chicago. However, some of our writers have attended–and even participated–and they have really enjoyed the experience. Plus, I think you can even bid over the phone and on-line.

I’ll give you one example why I think you might actually get some of these whiskies at a bargain price. Lot #21 consists of two bottles of Dalmore: a King Alexander III and a Signatory 18 year old. The range is listed at $140-200. Binny’s is selling the King Alexander III for $200. You could score and get both bottles for less than this. (Well, maybe not, now that I’ve mentioned it…)

I think you get my point, though. You can find the link to a PDF of the auction catalog here. Have a look through it. (Also, my contact at Bonhams over the past few years has been Rik Pike, in case you have any specific questions. His email adress is

Do you see anything interesting in there?

11 Responses to “A second chance to buy the whisky you always wanted”

  1. Ely says:

    Hi John, the link to the online auction catalog isnt working properly…eager to see what’s available!

  2. miguel says:

    I will have a look but the range of 200-above is out of my range of adquisitions 😀

  3. Joe Hyman says:

    I’ll keep my interests close to the vest until AFTER the auction, thank you… and you can bid by phone, on-line, or just send them your bid range for your lots and let them bid for you…

  4. bj reed says:

    Picked up a bottle of Private Eye at the Macallan Distillery in 1998 for 35 pounds sold to us by none other then Russell Anderson (then of Macallan, now of Highland Park) – Boy do I feel both lucky and old 🙂

  5. Quentin says:

    You can bid by phone but they don’t ship. Payment and pick up is required within some set period of days. That means the travel costs may eat up any savings you reap.

  6. mongo says:

    i’m really tempted–there are a couple of lots that look really attractive and are in my budget. i can have friends in nyc pick things up and hold them for me if i actually managed to win an auction. on the other hand, one auction may lead to another….

  7. Gary says:

    What could be better than a whiskey auction? Of course, I can’t afford anything. But it was fun to look. 🙂

    • Mike Dereszynski says:

      Looking IS free but you dont get to satisfy the other senses like sound, touch and taste. But then you also save on the 19% Auction fee added on to the final bid.

  8. patrick says:

    At auctions, you can do some good bargains, but the bidders should be careful and read all the instructions and associated fees. Do not forget that there are the Buyers Premium fees, taxes as well as transporations costs (and restriction).
    So read well the instructions before placing a binding bid, so that you do not have any bad suprise later on…

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