Whisky Auction Update February 17, 2023

Whisky Auction Update February 17, 2023

February 17, 2023 –––––– Jonny McCormick, , , ,

Sotheby’s New York’s first whisky auction of 2023 was a smash hit, with a combined hammer price of $1,063,600. All 272 lots were sold, which consisted of 72% American whiskey, 18% scotch, 7% Japanese, 2% other spirits (cognac and tequila), and 1% Irish whiskey.

Lot-142-Pappy-Van-Winkle_s-23-Year-Old-Family-Reserve-Single-Barrel_600.jpgTwo brands in particular dominated the February 10th sale with Van Winkle accounting for one in four lots sold, and Macallan responsible for one in eight. Collectors bid $450,600 on Macallan across 47 lots, with $342,250 bid on 94 Van Winkle lots consisting of Pappy Van Winkle and Old Rip Van Winkle labels. Median hammer prices for Macallan and Van Winkle lots were $2,800 and $2,600 respectively. Macallan delivered the three highest sales of the day: aside from the $200,000 bid on Macallan Distil Your World New York Single Cask Edition, Macallan 50 year old (2018 release) made a hammer price of $55,000, and Macallan 52 year old (2018 release) attracted a $50,000 bid. Two bottles of Pappy Van Winkle 23 year old Family Reserve single barrel distilled in 1984 and bottled in 2007 garnered $30,000 apiece; one bottled for the Kentucky Barrel Society, the other for members. In addition, Sotheby’s sold a bottle of LeNell’s Red Hook Rye 23 year old (Barrel No. 3) for a hammer price of $30,000, though prices may have plateaued as Sotheby’s achieved exactly the same hammer price in July and March last year.

At Scotch Whisky Auction’s 140th sale, a bottle of Glendronach 50 year old came through from the pack to sell for $24,127, the highest hammer price in the sale, just shy of this 95 point single malt’s $25,000 suggested retail price. Bidding on single cask distillery exclusive bottles of Laphroaig distilled in 1996 peaked at $1,448.

Unicorn Auctions sold a bottle of Old Rip Van Winkle 23 year old Family Selection for $27,600. On the same night, Irish Whiskey Auctions delivered the highest price paid for a bottle of Irish whiskey so far in 2023 with a $45,334 winning bid for Midleton Very Rare Silent Distillery Chapter 2 46 year old. With many of these bottles in contention for this month’s 20 highest hammer prices, it will be interesting to see which auction house will come out on top when we award the points in round two of our International Auction House League on March 3rd.

Despite all those high-priced bottles, a quirky pick stands out as the lot of the week. Irish Whiskey Auctions sold a Bushmills Jerrycan set of Bushmills Original and Bushmills Red Bush for $245 last Sunday. The jerrycan set is an oddball item in the whisky world: originally designed as a fuel and/or water container for military use, it has been reinvented as a portable bar, carrying two bottles and a set of whisky glasses. Something you never knew you needed until now, this sale highlights the thriving online world of the jerrycan mini bar conversion and now everyone will want one for the summer.

Live Sales

Karuizawa-1985-30-year-old--(1000-Be@rBrick)_600.jpgMark your calendar for the conclusion of the Just Whisky sale next Monday and Grand Whisky Auction on Tuesday, before Bonhams, Hong Kong holds its Fine and Rare Wine & Whisky online sale on Thursday. The 225 lots include a 13-bottle set of Macallan Exceptional Single Cask (2017 Release) estimated at $51,000–$76,500 and a Macallan Fine & Rare 1940 35 year old (est. $28,000–$38,000). Additionally, there are 17 lots comprising a bottle of spirits and a collectible Be@rbrick figurine, like Karuizawa 1985 30 year old (Cask No. 6432) and the 1000% (27 1/2 inch tall) Be@rbrick (est. $8,300–$12,100). There are also a number of novelty Japanese whisky bottlings available such as a seven-decanter set consisting of Suntory whiskies (Est. $900–$1,150) made for its Open golf tournaments dating back to 1986. Or you could just stick with the jerrycan.

Lot of the Week


Bushmills Jerrycan setSold at Auction: February 12th at Irish Whiskey AuctionsHammer Price: $245

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