Posts Tagged ‘Bonhams’

Bonhams, New York halts whisky auctions indefinitely

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Author - Johnnie McCormickWhere next for the whisky collector in America?

There will be no further Bonhams whisky auctions in New York for the foreseeable future. The auction house has canceled its planned sale for October 19th at its Madison Avenue galleries and will review the situation on scheduling further auctions next year.

Mariam Cebalo, director of business management at Bonhams confirmed to Whisky Advocate that the cessation of operations in this area was solely due to the whisky department’s profitability. In other words, the department may not have hit the targets set by the company to justify the resource required to appraise, catalog, store, display, and ultimately auction large consignments of rare whisky. Whisky auction houses must partner up with a retailer holding a liquor license, and that comes at a cost to the operation.

Therefore, this decision is not a reason to doubt the inherent value of whisky as a collectible or affect confidence in the secondary market. From the business perspective of an auction house, it is simply the commercial nature of whisky as a tradable commodity when compared with other assets in the New York saleroom. “The market is especially strong right now for Asian art, Californian and American paintings, jewelry, and motorcars,” Cebalo told me.

The Macallan M Hong Kong Auction

Whisky auctions continue overseas.

The legislation preventing whisky auctions in New York was overturned seven years ago. Christie’s held the first sale in December 2007 and Bonhams entered the fray in 2009. In recent years, Bonhams have been running biannual rare whisky and spirits auctions in Manhattan, with the last sale held on April 30th 2014.

Importantly, Bonhams have confirmed that the whisky department in Queen Street, Edinburgh and at One Pacific Place, Hong Kong are unaffected by this news and their full program of whisky sales continues as advertised. Bonhams have been expanding their operations in Asia-Pacific with the opening of a new Singapore office. This means that the highly anticipated Bonhams Hong Kong Japanese & Rare Whisky sale will take still place on August 15th 2014, and the next Edinburgh sale will occur on 1st October 2014. However, that may be little consolation for whisky collectors in the United States and Canada.

The Bonhams business is currently up for sale by its two majority owners, so would the reinstatement of whisky auctions be at the discretion of any potential new owners? Would there be any market conditions to be met first? “Bonhams’ evaluation of whisky auction scheduling for 2015 is based solely upon profitability,” said Mariam Cebalo. So if you are thinking of consigning your whisky or bourbon collection for sale, should you still approach Bonhams, New York, I wondered? Cebalo replied affirmatively, “With its international expertise, Bonhams is well equipped and happy to appraise large, valuable collections and discuss consignments with interested parties.”

Where does this leave the whisky collector in the United States? Bonhams were the only auction house running fully dedicated whisky sales in New York, so will other auction houses capitalize on this opportunity? As a collector, who else could you speak to? I took a straw poll of leading U.S. fine wine auction specialists and this is what they told me.

Acker Merrall & Condit

“We will continue to welcome and offer and sell whiskey at our auctions in New York,” said John Kapon, chief executive officer of the global company well known for its fine wine auctions. “I doubt we will conduct a ‘spirits only’ auction, as it is a niche market.”

Christies, New York

“Christie’s, NY led the way with spirits sales many years ago, in the first spirits auction since Prohibition,” remarked Charles Antin, Christie’s head of sale, associate vice president and fine wine specialist. “Since, we have always offered smaller, curated selections of scotch, bourbon, cognac, and rum in our fine wine auctions. On October 10th, in fact, we have a large selection of scotch including Black Bowmore and others.”

Hart David Hart Wine Co., Chicago

“We feel there is certainly potential to expand the fine and rare spirits segment of our business,” said Marc Smoler, their marketing manager. “Spirits categories such as bourbon, chartreuse, and Japanese whisky have drastically increased in popularity in the past few years. Hart Davis Hart has done particularly well with small production bourbons such as Pappy Van Winkle and older vintages of classic single malt scotches.

“As our business continues to grow, we would like to offer more opportunities to purchase and fine and rare spirits through both our retail and auction outlets and we welcome any collector to sell their whiskey collection with us,” he continued. “However, we don’t foresee a whiskey-only auction in our future.”

Morrell & Company, New York

I spoke with Jeremy W. Noye, Morrell’s CEO.“We’re always willing to look and consider a collector’s selection of whiskies or spirits.” However, he doesn’t see a dedicated whisky sale on the cards quite yet. “I won’t count it out, I won’t say never, but we will continue to have whisky within our fine wine sales. There is an interest in the market in vintage spirits looking at the distillation dates of different whiskies, bourbons and cognacs. In general, we don’t seem to see as much of the older bottlings here in the U.S. as you see in the UK and Europe. I know there are major collections here in the U.S. but they tend to hold on to them for longer than they do with wine.”

Admittedly, it is harder for a business that doesn’t handle large amounts of rare whisky to appraise and value whisky bottles. “It is labor intensive from our standpoint,” says Noye. “It does take a fair amount of research. My gut tells me there is less of a breadth of knowledge, the historical look and feel [of the bottles], and data out there as there is on wine at this time.”

“I think there is interest there,” he said encouragingly. “It is spread out across the country and globally. At least in the U.S., the Pappy Van Winkle craze has really spoken to that. We’ve seen more bourbon coming up to auction now, even the general release stuff. It’s the scarcity aspect.”

Skinner, Inc., Boston

After running a dedicated online auction of fine ales last spring, Marie Keep, director of fine wines said, “We see great potential for growing the exciting and dynamic marketplace of whisky and spirits, and believe we could become the auction house of choice for collectors on both the buying and selling side.”

Sotheby’s, New York

Sotheby have been known for their occasional spectacular sales of Macallan. Their press office said, “We don’t currently hold regular dedicated sales of whisky and there are no plans to do so. We don’t rule out offering occasional rare bottles or collections in the future though.”

Wally’s Auctions, New York

“Wally’s absolutely welcomes whisky collectors to sell their collections (and buy!)” enthused Julia Gilbert, Managing Director. “We have had great success with highly curated sections of spirits in our March and June 2014 live auctions in New York, and we frequently receive inquiries about offering spirits at auction. As the whisky market continues to grow both domestically and globally, a dedicated whisky or spirits auction is certainly in the realm of possibility for Wally’s Auctions in the future.”


Bonhams continues to be a major player in the secondary market for rare whisky, but this snapshot indicates that choice abounds, and the landscape may have changed in the U.S. by the time Bonhams are ready to come back into the marketplace.

17 bottles of bourbon; $4,000 for charity

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

The Bonhams auction is over, and my donation of all 17 vintages of Evan Williams Single Barrel bottlings sold as one lot for $4,000. That’s far above the estimate of $800-$1,000. Like I mentioned in a previous post, I’m giving the entire proceeds to charity.

I want to tell you where the money is going. I cannot find the words to describe the damage that Hurricane Sandy has inflicted on all those who have homes at the Jersey Shore. I am among the victims, but at least for me it’s not my primary residence. There are, and will continue to be, people who have no place to live, no power, no water, no heat, and no food. I’m not sure exactly how I am going to distribute it yet (I want to avoid as much red tape as possible so it quickly gets into the hands of the people who need it), but that’s where the money is going.

Bid on some great whiskies for charity

Monday, October 22nd, 2012

This Sunday, Bonhams will be conducting a whisky auction in New York City. You can find the catalog of whiskies here.

You may remember that I posted I’m auctioning my entire collection of Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintages. I have a bottle from each of the 17 vintage, many of them Barrel No. 1 and signed by (Master Distillers) Parker Beam or his son Craig Beam. I’m donating 100% of the proceeds to charity. (I’m letting my wife Amy pick the charity, since she has to put up with me and my crazy passion for whisky.) It’s Lot No. 369. Estimated range is $800-$1,000.

A fine gentleman, seeing my post about donating my Evan Williams vintages, is following suit by donating four bottles of A. H. Hirsch 16 year old bourbons from the long-gone Michter’s distillery. (Lots 388-391.) Each bottle is its own lot, with a range of $400-600.

Finally, for those with a little more pocket change than I have, you can also bid on Lot No. 84: the Bowmore 1957 Vintage, 54 year old. All the proceeds are going to charity. It’s range is set at $160,000-$190,000. Seriously, if you have a lot of disposable income, why don’t you buy this great bottle of scotch instead of the new yacht? A yacht costs a lot of money to maintain, and you need someplace big to story it. This Bowmore requires no maintenance other than a little dusting and drinking and can be stored in a liquor cabinet or display case. And it’s for charity.


WhiskyFest New York 2012: A whisky enthusiast’s dream weekend!

Monday, May 7th, 2012

The agenda for the saturday seminar program has been finalized. It’s going to be a great day: rare whiskies, debut whiskies, award winning whiskies, master distillers and blenders, and leading whisky writers all in one place.

A summary of the day’s events is below. If you follow the link to the WhiskyFest website (click on the logo), you’ll find the details in outline form and also be able to purchase tickets to this exciting event.

WhiskyFest New York: imagine a weekend of the world’s best whiskies, two nights of grand tastings and a day of seminars presented by the world’s top whisky distillers and blenders, bringing their best, their oldest,and their newest. The seminars on Saturday, October 27th, 2012, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. will be an unprecedented whisky event for those fortunate enough to attend. This educational experience takes the hands-on approach to learning, engaging every sense as we nose and taste our way through a line-up that is not to be missed. Legendary master distillers, blenders, and whisky makers will be pouring their finest—and newest—whiskies!   

The Whisky Advocate writers—the best in the business—will moderate the five 45-minute seminar sessions, and a special whisky-themed lunch, along with several whiskies making their U.S. and world debuts. A brief summary of this very special day follows.

Debut Scotch Whisky

The first debuting whisky of the day will be presented by John Glaser of Compass Box Whisky, featuring mixologist and Whisky Advocate contributor David Wondrich.  In addition to treating us with a world-debut Compass Box whisky, they’ll also be serving it up in a breakfast cocktail. A great way to start a day!

Whisky Collecting and Auctions
Jonny McCormick, Whisky Advocate contributor and Martin Green of Bonhams will enlighten us on the auction and collecting scene that has exploded lately. They will offer tips on collecting and participating in whisky auctions. Attendees will taste some of the very rare whiskies that have been seen on the auction block. The whiskies speak for themselves, as do the personalities presenting them:

Gold Bowmore – Iain McCallum,
Balvenie Islay Cask 17 year old – Nicholas Pollacchi,
Glemorangie 1963 Vintage – Dr. Bill Lumsden,
Brora 30 year old – Dr. Nick Morgan,
The Glenlivet Cellar Collection (1983 Vintage).

Debut Irish Whiskey
Then, legendary Barry Crockett from the Midleton distillery will present the U.S. debut of his very own Midleton Barry Crockett Legacy bottling.

Trending Scotch
Keeping the momentum going, Dave Broom, Whisky Advocate contributor, examines the trends in Scotch whisky. Join Dave to explore smoky blends, designer whiskies, single malt extremes, and brand premiumization. Dave will be joined by the A-list of master distillers and blenders from Scotland who are making some of these special whiskies. Here they are, with the whiskies they will be pouring:

Dr. Bill Lumsden – Glenmorangie Malaga Wood Finish 30 year
Jim McEwan – Bruichladdich Octomore 4.2
Matthew Crow – Johnnie Walker Double Black
Richard Paterson – Dalmore Castle Leod

Debut Bourbon
Here we will feature the world debut of a very special bourbon presented by Truman Cox,  master distiller from  the A. Smith Bowman distillery.  He knows what the whiskey will be, but for now he’s keeping it a surprise.

Understanding Irish
Dominic Roskrow, Whisky Advocate contributor, follows by taking us on a tour of Ireland, explaining the difference between the single pot still, single malt, grain, and blended whiskeys of Ireland. And, of course, we will taste some very special examples of each, and we will be joined by the master distillers who make them:

Barry Crockett of Midleton distillery will pour Powers John’s Lane (Single Pot Still) and Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve (Blend)
Noel Sweeney from the Cooley distillery will be pouring a very special grain whiskey – Greenore 8 year old
Colum Egan of Bushmills distillery treats us to a very special Bushmills 21 year old single malt.

Lagavulin Lunch

The whisky fun continues at lunch. Diageo’s Dr. Nick Morgan, Head of Whisky Outreach, along with Whisky Advocate writer Gavin Smith, will lead us through a tasting and comparison of three special Lagavulin whiskies: Lagavulin 16, Lagavulin Distillers Edition, and the very limited 2012 Lagavulin 21 year old Special Release.

Bourbon and Rye Innovations
Immediately after lunch, we focus on American whiskey. Whisky Advocate contributor and managing editor Lew Bryson will lead a session focused on innovations in bourbon and rye. Joining him will be three legendary master distillers and one whiskey pioneer, and they will be pouring some very special new releases:

Chris Morris – Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection new 2012 release
Harlen Wheatley  – Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project, comparing two Single Oak bottlings
Parker Beam – Parker’s Heritage Collection new 2012 release
David Perkins – High West’s “Campfire” (a blend of bourbon, rye and scotch!)

Award Winning Whiskies
Finishing up our special day, attendees will taste a sampling of the 18th Annual Whisky Advocate Awards winners published in the spring issue of Whisky Advocate magazine. Here they are, along with the Whisky Advocate contributors who will be presenting them:

Gavin Smith: Lowland/Campbeltown Single Malt of the Year: Springbank 18 year old (2nd edition)
Dave Broom: Islay Single Malt of the Year:Bruichladdich 10 year old
Lew Bryson: Canadian Whisky of the Year:Wiser’s 18 year old
John Hansell: American Whiskey of the Year:Elijah Craig 20 year old
Dominic Roskrow: Blended/Blended Malt Whisky of the Year: Compass Box Great King Street

Tickets for this special day of seminars can only be purchased through a combination package with one of the evening grand tastings.  Tickets are available at  or by clicking here. We hope to see you at this very special event.

A second chance to buy the whisky you always wanted

Thursday, 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?

Bonhams has another New York whisky auction slated

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

If you missed out on these whiskies the first time around, you get a second chance. (Okay, so maybe they will cost you a little more.) The press release is below, and the link to the actual list of whiskies on their website is here.

New York- Bonhams New York first sale of Whisky in 2010 will take place at 5pm on Tuesday June 22 at the company’s 580 Madison Avenue saleroom.

The auction features 554 lots, and marks the first various-owner auction devoted to Whisky to take place in the city since a 2007 law change allowed spirits auctions to take place in the state of New York.

The auction also marks the beginning of regular sales schedule for Whisky and Spirits at Bonhams in New York, with plans for at least two sale selections each year.

“Bonhams is committed to the sale of whisky and spirits across the globe. Along with our regular whisky sales in Edinburgh, we are now delighted to see the beginning of a regular auction schedule here in New York – and continue to develop our spirits offerings in Hong Kong,” says Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Group Managing Director.

The vast majority of the sale features single-malt Scotch whisky, along with a handful of blended Scotch and Irish whiskey lots. Estimates go to $9,000 a bottle, and the auction in its entirety is expected to fetch over $200,000.

Highlights include a 190-lot collection that features substantial quantities of Silent Stills, Rare Malts and Gordon & Macphail bottlings. Within this collection notable lots include a 37 year old Bowmore matured in Bourbon wood (estimate: $1,800-2,500), and The Springbank Double, bottled in 1994 (estimate: $800-1,000).

A significant selection of The Macallan features prominently in the auction, including a bottle of The Macallan 50 Year Old Anniversary Malt accompanied by a letter by Chairman Allan Shiach dated July 1983 (estimate: $9,000-11,000); an example of the 35thPrivate Eye Anniversary bottling (estimate: $550-700); and The Macallan 52 year old distilled in 1946 (estimate: $3,750-4,500).

Elsewhere in the sale, a bottle of Gold Bowmore is on offer (estimate: $4,200-5,000); along with a 1940s bottling of ‘Pinch’ in excellent condition and in original Christmas wrapping (estimate: $250-300); and a 35-lot collection of Glenmorangie (estimate range $150 to $1,200) that includes The Culloden Bottle, The Grand Slam Dram, and a 1976 bottling that celebrates the first commercial flight of Concorde (estimate: $650-800).

Bottle of 1937 Glenfiddich to be auctioned

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

The first of eleven bottles. It seems like a lot of distilleries have squirreled away some older whisky, which are now being released. This one’s not as old as Gordon & MacPhail’s 70 year old Mortlach, but it’s not too far behind.

The official listing on the Bonhams site is here, but there’s still no information (or images of the bottle) up there yet. Details below in the press release.


An exceptionally rare bottle of Glenfiddich distilled in 1937 is for sale at Bonhams Whisky sale in Edinburgh on 16 June. 

It is one of only 11 bottles of the 1937 produced by the distillery and is the first to appear at auction.  Having matured for 64 years it is also one of the oldest whiskies ever released onto the market.  It is estimated to make between £15,000 – 20,000 and is likely to be keenly sought after. 

Bonhams Whisky consultant, Martin Green, commented, “It isn’t very often that such a rare bottle comes along and it’s a privilege to be handling it.  As soon as I recognised the significance of the bottle I got in touch with the distillery to let them know that we were including it in the auction.” 

Libby Lafferty speaking for Glenfiddich said, “We were very excited when we heard that the 1937 was going into the sale and immediately invited Martin Green from Bonhams to bring the bottle back to its home distillery to photograph for our archives.  It really is that special.” 


For further sale information please go to 

For further press information please contact Andrew Currie on 0207 468 5871  or or

Bonhams Whisky Auction, New York, December 17th

Sunday, December 13th, 2009

Bonhams’ third, final, and largest auction of the Willard S. Folsom Collection will take place this coming Thursday in New York. There’s plenty of great whiskies in the nearly 900 lots in this auction.  I went through all of them earlier today. Here’s a link to them all.

Of course, there’s plenty of trophy whiskies, like the Dalmore 50 yr. old (pictured below), several Black Bowmores, ’73 and ’74 Longrows. But if you look through the list more carefully, you’ll find some bargains.

longmorn centenaryFor example, there’s a Longmorn Centenary 25 yr. old (lot 237) listed with a range of $130-160 (pictured on the left). I’ve tasted this whisky. It’s very nice (with even a hint of smoke). I have a bottle already, but at that price range, I’ll be happy to have another one.

 And there are a few Springbank 30 yr. old lots (25-27) valued around $300. That was the going price a decade ago, and it will be a while before Springbank comes out with another standard issue 30 year old, given that the distillery was closed for most of the ’80s.

And there’s plenty of whiskies from distilleries long gone, like Ladyburn, Killyloch, Glen Flagler, Kinclaith, etc.

In addition to old whiskies, there are young whiskies bottled decades ago, which are pretty rare.

Have a look through. Maybe you will find something that catches your eye. I was sent a press release on the auction, which I have included below.




The Willard S. Folsom Collection of Old and Rare Whiskies
To Be Offered At Bonhams New York This December

Dalmore 50Aficionados of fine, rare Whiskies will be presented with an unparalleled collecting opportunity when the renowned Willard S. Folsom Collection goes to block on December 17th at Bonhams New York.

A sports fan, football handicapper, race car driver, master of finance, scuba diver, skydiver, and salsa dancer at various times in his life – Folsom began his love affair with Whisky in 1988 while reading a list of the best bars in the United States for Single Malt. Included in the list was a restaurant ten minutes from Willard’s home in Burlingame, California. After attending his first Single Malt Scotch tasting he immediately became a devotee of the Whisky arts.

For the next 18 years Willard amassed his private collection. Starting with establishing relationships within San Francisco’s Scotch community it was not long before he began travelling the world in search of rare bottles. Having toured the Highlands, the Lowlands, Speyside, Islay, and Orkney, he purchased whisky from all over Scotland and the rest of the UK- resulting in a collection of over 3,000 bottles.

Following the successful sale of a portion of the vast collection in Edinburgh and another sampling to be offered on November 27th in Hong Kong, part three of the sale will take place at the New York galleries of Bonhams and consists of nearly 900 lots of premier Single Malt Whisky. The meticulously selected collection ranges from Single Malts distilled in the 70s and 80s to a 1924 Royal Brackla 60 year old estimated at $2,400-3,300.  The New York sale is being held in conjunction with Bedford Wine Merchants.

Undoubtedly one of the most sought after lots will be the Dalmore 50 year old (pictured, top). It is beautifully presented in a crystal decanter along with a hand crafted wooden presentation case. Carrying an estimate of $6,500-7,300 it is sure to draw serious collector attention.

Also of great interest is the Dalmore 30 year old. This 150th Anniversary issue is offered in an Edinburgh Crystal decanter with sterling silver labelling. Bottle 37 out of a limited run of 50 and never for sale on the open market, the  lot is estimated at $2,400-3,300.
The Balvenie 50 year old is also highly anticipated. Distilled in 1937 and bottled 50 years later, the bottle is designed to replicate the bottling style of the 1930s when it was originally distilled. This nostalgic lot is expected to fetch $4,900-5,700.

Another lot certain to attract bidders is a group of limited edition Springbank whiskies. Bottled for the millenium at five year intervals from 25 to 50 years maturation in the cask, the lot is comprised of Springbank 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, and 50 year old. The six bottle lot carries an estimate of $3,000-5,000.

Macallan 1946Two 1940s Macallan’s will also highlight the sale. Accompanied by a miniature for sampling purposes, the 1948 Macallan Select Reseve 51 year old is estimated at $3,500-$4,500. The 1946 Macallan Select Reserve 52 year old (pictured left) is numbered 536 and is expected to bring $2,000-2,300.

Also cause for excitement is an 18 year old Bowmore. Estimated at $3,300-4,100, this rarely seen bottle was distilled and bottled by Sherriff’s Bowmore Distillery in the 1950s. 

Other notable lots to be offered are a rare, limited edition 1963 Laphroaig 40 year old (est. $1,100-1,500); a limited edition Aultmore Centenary 16 year old only available to employees of the distillery (est. $900-1,200); and a 1963 Bowmore, bottled especially for a dinner at Chateau La Grange marking the 30th Anniversary of Morrison Bowmore’s ownership of the distillery (est. $900-1,200).

“We’re extremely excited to present this collection,” states Director of Whisky, Martin Green. “Not only is it the largest collection ever to come to auction; it is also distinguished by the fact that Folsom bought multiples whenever possible, which allowed him to take pleasure in actually drinking many of these bottles- highly unusual for a collector.”

 The sale will take place on December 17th at 4PM EST. The illustrated auction catalog for the sale will be online at in the weeks preceding the auction.  For more information about the department, please visit

Two upcoming spirits auctions featuring rare whiskies

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

The first one is by Christie’s, in New York City, on November 14th. It includes the most recent Bowmore Trilogy (Black, White, and Gold), along with many rare whiskies from Park Avenue Liquor. The press release:



goldbowmoreNew York – With the winter season fast approaching, Christie’s is delighted to announce its November 14 sale of Fine Wines and Spirits, with a special selection of spirits that are sure to ward off the chill of cold days to come.  Over 40 lots of carefully-curated whisky, bourbon, cognac, armagnac, and rum will be offered from prominent sources, including the Park Avenue Liquor Shop, one of the most respected spirits retailers in the country. 

In addition, Christie’s is honored to have been selected as the first U.S. sales site to offer the exceedingly rare 1964 Bowmore® Trilogy (pictured above) direct from the Bowmore distillery in Scotland.  An exceptional selection of fine and rare wines rounds out the sale, with recent and mature vintages of Bordeaux and Burgundy in great supply, along with collector favorites from California, Italy, the Rhône Valley, and Champagne (separate press release available).  The total sale of wine and spirits includes over 800 lots and is expected to realize in excess of $2.1 million.

View our latest wine sale catalogues online here:


The second one is by Bonhams in Edinburgh on November 18th. This one features a rare Dalmore Oculus (pictured), along with the 3,000 plus bottle collection by deceased whisky enthusiast Willard S. Folsom. Details from their press release:

Bespoke bottling created to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of whisky auction sales

The Dalmore Oculus low resAs part of Bonhams Edinburgh’s highly-anticipated November 18th Whisky Sale, whisky enthusiasts will have the unique opportunity to purchase an exceptional one-of-a kind The Dalmore Oculus, amongst other distinguished whiskies.
This rare and unique Dalmore Oculus is one of the most precious whiskies to ever appear at auction. It is both the first and last of its kind, assembled from some of the most exceptional whiskies of the past 140 years and is thus estimated to sell for a staggering £15,000-20,000.
Due to its rarity and depth of stocks The Dalmore has long been recognised as a brilliant single malt. Jim Murray, whisky guru comments it is “one of the world’s greatest and undervalued distilleries”.
This particular unique expression of the Dalmore Oculus was created by master-distiller Richard Paterson, drawing on some four decades of experience. With his intimate knowledge of the stocks, Richard Paterson fused an incomparable and brilliant assemblage, beginning with a rich spicy and orange zest core from cask 1781 (distilled in 1951), trace elements of the taste and smell of dried fruits, ripe bananas, treacle toffee and almonds from an original fifty year old are added to develop complexity. Alongside these elements, rare malts selected from vintages distilled in 1868, 1878, 1922, 1926 and 1939 add a depth of flavour. Finally, to intensify the whisky, an incredibly intense oak, spice and bitter dark chocolate long matured distillate from cask 1782 is added to the mix alongside the whisky’s ‘capstone’: a judicious amount of the revered 64 year old, proffering notes of coffee, aromatic spices and citrus zest.
Such alchemistic artistry creates a peerless whisky fusion, which is beautifully presented in a precious Baccarat crystal decanter. This exceptionally crafted bespoke decanter is decorated with an intricate solid silver iconic stag standing alongside the name of this extraordinary whisky.
Richard Paterson, master distiller at The Dalmore said: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and The Dalmore Oculus is without doubt a truly exceptional expression. This is the most exquisite expression I have personally crafted with all the loving reference it so richly deserves to seduce the most discerning and sophisticated plates imaginable. I am confident it will appeal to epicureans, investors and collectors”.
Alongside the Dalmore Oculus, Bonhams will also be selling the first section of the largest single-owner collection of whisky ever to appear at auction. The 3,000-strong Willard S Folsom Collection of Old and Rare Single Malt Whiskies has been amassed over an 18-year period and features wide ranges of Ardbeg, Bowmore, Dalmore, Glenfiddich, Laphroaig, Springbank, Kinclaith, Killyloch, Ben Wyvis, Glen Grant, Glenmorangie, The Glenlivet, Strathmill, Mortlach and The Macallan.
Martin Green, Bonhams Whisky Specialist comments: “The 18th November Whisky sale is the most interesting to take place over a 20 year period and marks the 20th Anniversary of Whisky Auctions. The inclusion of the Dalmore Oculus is an exciting addition to this high quality sale. The Folsom Collection being sold in Edinburgh, Hong Kong and finally in New York in December makes this a very interesting and progressive year for Bonhams Whisky Sales”.
For Bonhams enquiries please call 0870 0273622

There are some pretty special whiskies in both collections.

Rare whisky collection to be auctioned

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

It was amassed by whisky collector Willard Folsom, who passed away recently. It is said to includes 3,000 whiskies. The auction will be in November at Bonhams, according to this recent article in the Herald.

I looked on the Bonhams site for details, but couldn’t find any. (Maybe I just wasn’t looking in the right place.)