In its Fine Wine & Rare Spirits sale on February 16th in Massachusetts, Bonhams Skinner sold 391 whisky lots–or 90% of its 436 lots on offer—for a total hammer price of $345,820. The sold lots totaled 628 bottles of whisky, making an average hammer price of $551 a bottle. The 45 unsold whisky lots were worth $60,800–$87,950 and a further 19 whisky lots were withdrawn from sale.
The Bonhams Skinner sale’s highest hammer price was the Berkeley Hundred 10 year old, a commemorative edition distilled and bottled by Stitzel-Weller Distillery, which fetched $12,000. American whiskey outperformed scotch with sell-through rates of 92% versus 85% respectively. At $11,000, a bottle of Glenfarclas 1955 50 year old was the highest hammer price for a scotch whisky. From Japan, the winner was Nikka Taketsuru 25 year old ($1,800), while Knappogue Castle 1949 30 year old ($1,300) topped the Irish tables, Crown Royal Cask No.16 ($600) was the Canadian winner, and Amrut Greedy Angels 8 year old ($400) was the Indian entry. The lot of the week at this auction went to the Spirit of the Underground series from London-based Bimber Distillery, an unexpected appearance from four English whiskies that were never released in the U.S.
In Scotland, a six-bottle case of Yamazaki Limited Edition 2014 topped Just Whisky’s February auction with a bid of $5,417. A distillery staff-only bottling of Springbank 30 year old Countdown Collection was back after failing to move last month, and this time it sold for $3,792. A number of collectible Gordon & MacPhail single malts made great buys for fans of well-matured single malts, including a Mortlach 1954 $2,058, Pride of Strathspey 1938 $1,926, Longmorn 1962 $1,577, and Glen Grant 1960 $1,505.
Elsewhere from Scotland, The Grand Whisky Auction delivered another strong performance this month. Single malt scotch came out on top with a Bowmore 1965 52 year old making $28,162, the first time The Grand Whisky Auction has handled a sale of this rare bottling. In addition, Bowmore 1964 35 year old Cask No. 3709 took $23,317.
But there was disappointment for Bonhams, Hong Kong this week when 63% of the whisky lots failed to sell in its Fine & Rare Wine & Whisky sale on February 23rd. While the fine wine performed well, 100 whisky lots remained unsold with an estimated value of $334,912–$463,494. Neither the full set of 13 Macallan Exceptional Single Cask 2017 releases (est. $50,974–$76,461), the Macallan Fine and Rare 1940 35 year old (est. $28,036–$38,230) nor any of the 19 lots of Be@rbrick collectibles paired with spirit bottles were sold. Of the 59 whisky lots that did sell, the combined hammer price came to $110,760 with lots selling for a median hammer price of $1,040. A bottle of Yamazaki 25 year old took the highest hammer price for whisky on the day with a bid of $9,749.
There’s a busy week of auctions coming up. On February 26th, final bids will be accepted at Whisky Hammer, Unicorn Auctions, Speyside Whisky Auctions, and Prestige Whisky Auctions, with WVA Whisky Auctions finishing on February 28th. Like The Grand Whisky Auction, Whisky Hammer also has a Bowmore 1964 35 year old Cask No. 3709 for sale, as well as a bottle of Bowmore 1969 50 year old—a rarity that appeared twice among the 20 highest sales in January. Further ahead, Whisky Auctioneer’s next sale opens for bids on February 24th, while Bonhams, Edinburgh will hold its first whisky sale of the year on March 1st with a Dalmore 1926 50 year old on offer. Glasgow-based McTear’s will hold a Liquid Masterpieces sale on March 3rd, and Whiskyauction.com will conclude its 305th auction on March 4th.
Lot of the Week
Bimber Spirit of the Underground
Sold at Auction: February 16 at Bonhams SkinnerHammer Price: $1,200
Bimber Spirit of the Underground and Berkley Hundred 10 year old photos courtesy of Bonhams