Auction Update March 17, 2023: Rare Yamazaki Sets the Pace in Paris
March 17, 2023 –––––– Jonny McCormick
Sotheby’s, Paris set a new highest price of the year this week with the online sale of a Yamazaki 55 year old for $343,129. This is the first bottle of this limited-edition whisky to sell in 2023, but it’s always worth watching as it set the highest hammer price bottle for Sotheby’s, Zachys, and Bonhams in 2022. All three bottles of Yamazaki 55 year old sold by Sotheby’s in 2022 were sold in New York, with prices peaking at $480,000 in June.
Sotheby’s, Hong Kong
Auction ended March 7th
- Scotch: Brora 40 year old $35,669. This was the first Brora 40 year old released in 2014, distilled in 1972, with a release of 160 bottles
- Japanese: Yamazaki 25 year old Bill Amberg $16,561. Limited edition packaging with only 100 sets made.
- American: Old Rip van Winkle 15 year old $4,076. Van Winkle whiskeys are becoming a more regular sight at auctions in Hong Kong.
Celtic Whiskey Auctions
Auction ended March 8th
- Scotch: Macallan 18 year old (1981 Release), $2,294. A classic collectible age statement bottle from Speyside.
- American: Pappy van Winkle Family Reserve 20 year old (2017 Release), $2,136. A fair price for a sought-after classic.
- Irish: Coleraine 34 year old $2,004. A real Irish whiskey collector’s gem, this hard-to-find whiskey was distilled in 1959 and bottled in 1993.
Auction ended March 12th
- American: WhistlePig The Boss Hog 1st Edition, $13,500. This winning bid set a new house record for WhistlePig.
- Scotch: Macallan 30 year old Sherry Oak (2022 release), $4,450. A recent release, but the sale price hovered just below the retail price of $4,750.
- Canadian: Crown Royal XR Waterloo, $900. A rare blend of the last whiskies from the Waterloo Distillery.
- Japanese: Hakushu 18 year old, $510. Far from a record price, so a good buy for this scarce age statement Hakushu.
Scotch Whisky Auctions
Auction Ended March 12th
- Scotch: Macallan Genesis in Lalique 72 year old, $81,837. This bottling was Scotch Whisky Auction’s highest hammer price of 2022, but while this week’s result is still a huge sum, it’s fallen in value by 15.7% from November.
- Japanese: Karuizawa Sapphire Geisha 36 year old Cask No. 5077, $20,459. An Elixir Distillers single cask bottling originally sold by ballot through The Whisky Exchange, London.
- Irish: Cadenhead’s Bond Reserve Daly’s Tullamore Distillery 42 year old, $2,648. A rare independent bottling of whiskey distilled at Old Tullamore Distillery which closed in the 1950s.
- American: Pappy van Winkle Family Reserve 15 year old, $1,685. Unusually, this was the oldest age statement Pappy in this sale.
Lot of the Week
Only 100 bottles of Yamazaki 55 year old were released in 2020, and they have the capacity to outclass anything else in the auction catalog to the extent that they are sometimes sold in special one-of-one auctions. The first-ever sale is now regarded as one of the most audacious acts of flipping in whisky auction history. Sotheby’s has now handled five sales of Yamazaki 55 year old, more than any other auction house.
Lot: Yamazaki 55 year old
Sold at: March 14th at Sotheby’s, Paris
Hammer Price: $343,129
Bottles to watch in auctions ending in the next week:
March 18th, Unicorn Auctions: W.L. Weller 19 year old. The 2002 release from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection.
March 19th, Irish Whisky Auctions: Midleton Very Rare Vintage 1988. One of the hardest vintages to find in the Midleton Very Rare collection.
March 20th, Just Whisky: Midleton Very Rare Vintage 2023. Whereas this is one of the first auction appearances of the latest vintage.
March 22nd, Whisky Online Auctions: Macallan Millennium 1949 50 year old. Incredibly, this auction has two of these decanters on sale.
March 23rd, Christies, Hong Kong: Ocean Whisky Karuizawa 1965 21 year old. Bottled by Ocean Whisky long before Karuizawa became collectible, this is a rare age statement bottling from from the 1980s.