Whisky Auction Update March 24, 2023: Multi-Buy Deals Prove Popular
March 24, 2023 –––––– Jonny McCormick
Multi-bottle lots have had a resurgence, drawing the highest bids in several recent auctions. Irish Whiskey Auctions sold a 32-bottle collection of Midleton Very Rare vintages for $45,982 this month, and Scotch Whisky Auctions attracted $27,680 for a 6-bottle set of Macallan The Archival Series. There are pros and cons to selling bottles as a set as opposed to individually. Sets offer the convenience for bidders to buy a ready-made collection, but for sellers, the pool of buyers may shrink as the price goes up, and collectors might not bid if they have a partial set already. In Just Whisky’s March sale, a trio of Macallan The Red Collection aged 71, 74, and 78 years failed to reach its reserve price, despite attracting a substantial bid of $196,096. In November 2022, Whisky Auctioneer sold the Macallan James Bond Collection in the Globe Trotter travel case with archival prints for $52,154; there are more sets on sale at Whisky Hammer and The Grand Whisky Auction this week. When it works, the whole can be greater than the sum of its parts.
Auction ended March 14th
- Scotch: Macallan The Red Collection 40 year old, $24,901. The Red Collection is the new home for Macallan’s 40 year old releases.
- American: Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 year old (2013 release), $4,494. A decade-old release of the 23 year old.
- Irish: Dungourney 1964 Special Reserve, $1,518. This pure pot still whiskey was distilled at the Old Midleton Distillery and bottled in 1994.
- Japanese: Chichibu Virgin Oak 2013 Cask No. 2933, $1,215. This single cask edition was bottled in 2020 for La Maison du Whisky store in Paris.
Sotheby’s, New York
Auction ended March 17th
- Scotch: Macallan The Red Collection 40 year old, $30,000. The highest hammer price for this bottling in March.
- American: O.F.C. Old Fashioned Copper Vintage 1982, $26,000. This is bottle No. 6 of the 50 bottles released by Buffalo Trace in 2016.
- Japanese: Yamazaki 25 year old, $11,000. This auction had four bottles of this Japanese classic for sale.
Irish Whiskey Auctions
Auction ended March 19th
- Irish: Midleton Very Rare Vintage 1988, $23,210. This is the second-highest sum ever paid for this bottling, one of the rarest bottles in the series.
- American: Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 year old, $2,930. While Irish whiskey usually dominates this auction, it’s worth checking the other categories for good finds like this bottle of Pappy.
- Scotch: Daftmill Inaugural Release 2005, $1,926. The first release from Francis Cuthbert’s farm distillery in Fife reached a higher sum than many of the leading names in scotch whisky.
- Japanese: Hibiki 21 year old, $877. This blend is always popular with bidders as it has been hard to find on the shelves in recent years.
Auction Ended March 20th
- Scotch: Macallan The Archival Series – Folio 1, $10,908. The first edition was released in 2015 at the Macallan distillery only, and contains archive materials relating to the first Macallan newspaper advert published in 1980.
- English: The Lakes Genesis Inaugural Release, $5,699. This is bottle no. 99 of the inaugural release that was launched via Whisky Auctioneer in 2018. This exact bottle originally sold for $1,359.
- Japanese: Hakushu 25 year old, $3,395. Always attracts a serious price, but never as much as Yamazaki at the same age, as Sotheby’s showed this week.
- American: Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 year old, $1,716. This bottling of the 15 year old was released in 2021.
Lot of the Week
Published 50 years ago this year, this rare Irish whiskey book is increasingly difficult to find. Written by a customs and exciseman and published in 1973, it was the first comprehensive account of the Irish whiskey industry to be written in the 20th century. Attracting 26 bids, this is the highest price paid for this book at Irish Whiskey Auctions, and the hammer price was 50% higher than last year.
Lot: Irish Whiskey – A History of Distilling in Ireland by E.B. McGuire
Sold: March 19th at Irish Whiskey Auctions
Hammer Price: $374
Lots to watch next week:
March 26th, Whisky Hammer: Macallan 1990 Hogshead No. 4069. Held in bond, this cask is expected to yield approximately 116 bottles of 32 year old Macallan at 45.4%.
March 26th, Unicorn Auctions: Double Eagle Very Rare 20 year old. One of the 499 bottles from the 2020 release, Unicorn Auctions has attracted bids of up to $14,700 for this edition in previous auctions.
March 26th, European Whisky Auction: George & J.G. Smith’s Glenlivet 1950. Simply packaged, this long-aged expression bottled by Gordon & MacPhail makes a great buy.
March 27th, The Grand Whisky Auction: Macallan The Red Collection 50 year old. Scotch Whisky Auctions sold a bottle for $50,547 earlier in March – will that price be beaten before the end of the month?