Sotheby’s ‘The Ultimate Whisky Collection’ Achieves £7.6m / $10m – Scotch Whisky News

Sotheby’s First Single-Owner Whisky Collection

Smashes High Estimate – 100% Sold

 

‘The Ultimate Whisky Collection’ Achieves £7.6m / $10m

Highest Total for any Whisky Collection Offered at Auction

 

Highest Value Wine or Spirits Sale Ever Staged by Sotheby’s London

 

The Macallan Fine & Rare 60-Year-Old 1926

sets new auction record for any bottle of wine or spirit

Selling for £1.5 million / $1.9 million 

“There was an electric atmosphere in the room today for our first-ever single-owner spirits auction. This sale marks an historic moment for the spirits market, with new benchmark prices and a fresh approach to selling whisky. We are delighted that our Spirits specialist Jonny Fowle, can celebrate such a ground-breaking first sale and we look forward to growing our spirits business.”

Jamie Ritchie, Chairman, Sotheby’s Wine 

London, 24 October 2019 – A new auction record for a bottle of whisky was set at Sotheby’s today when The Macallan 60-Year-Old 1926 soared to £1,452,000 / $1,873,951, far surpassing its pre-sale estimate of £350,000-450,000. This “holy grail” of whiskies was the star of a sale of more than 460 bottles of Scotch whisky from the collection of a private American Connoisseur, put together over some 20 years. Buyers from across the world drove prices well above estimate, leaving not a single lot unsold. 

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s Spirits Specialist, added: “This fantastic result is testament to the quality of the collection. It was remarkable to see so many iconic bottles break records – homage to the importance of distilleries such as Bowmore, Brora, Springbank and, of course, The Macallan. The electricity in the auction room was palpable. There were cheers when the hammer fell on the Macallan Fine and Rare 1926, in one has to be one of the most exciting moments in the history of whisky sales. The final hammer dropped just in time for our friends at RM Sotheby’s to start their sale of collectible motor cars. Our clients were delighted to share their enjoyment and passion for both cars and whisky in the same space.”

KEY STATISTICS AT A GLANCE:

  • The Ultimate Whisky Collection totals £7,635,619 / $9,854,530 (pre-sale estimate: £3.3-4.6m / $4.3-5.9m)
  • Sale is 100% sold
  • 87% of lots achieve prices above pre-sale estimates
  • Bidders from around the world, with pronounced interest from Asia
  • The most comprehensive catalogue of whisky ever to be offered by a single owner in a single auction, spanning whiskies from each of Scotland’s key whisky-producing regions: Speyside, Highland, Lowland, Islay and Campbeltown (more details here)
  • Full results available here

THE MACALLAN REIGNS SUPREME:

  • The record-breaking Macallan mentioned above was part of a 178 bottle-strong collection of the Fine and Rare series, spanning seven decades from 1926 through to 1991, which sold for a combined total of £5.1m / $6.6m – this is the most extensive collection of Macallan Fine and Rare ever to be seen at auction.
  • Two complete Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection, offered in specially designed cabinets by James Laycock, doubled their low estimate to achieve £665,500 / $858,984 and £629,200 / $812,046 respectively.
  • A bespoke, hand-crafted wooden display case containing 46 bottles from the Macallan Fine and Rare miniature collection, ranging from 1937 to 1991 sparked a flurry of bids, pushing the final price over six times above the high estimate to £338,800 / $437,255. These 46 bottles represent the complete collection of miniatures in the Fine and Rare series, as the series existed when the Ultimate Whisky Collector stopped collecting them in 2018.
  • The four top lots of The Macallan sell for a combined total of £3m / $4m.

NEW AUCTION RECORD FOR SPRINGBANK 50 YEAR OLD 1919:

  • Distilled in 1919, bottled in 1970, this Springbank is undoubtedly one of the rarest whiskies ever to be released, with only 24 bottles produced and once listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold.
  • The appearance on the market of one of these bottles caused a great deal of excitement, driving the final sale price to £266,200 / $343,558, almost double the pre-sale high estimate.
  • Distilled a year after the end of the First World War, at a time when distilleries throughout Scotland had ceased operations, the bottle contains a snapshot of history. 

NEW AUCTION RECORD FOR BRORA LIMITED EDITION 40 YEAR OLD:

  • Brora’s first release to exceed 40 years, one of only 160 bottles to have been produced reached new heights, selling for a record £54,450 / $70,273, in the year of the distillery’s 200th anniversary, and just ahead of its reopening next year.
  • The full set of Brora Annual Releases, sold as individual bottles, achieved for a combined total of £30,129 / $38,884. 

BOWMORE BECKONS BIDDERS:

  • Bottle number 1 of Bowmore’s “Crashing Waves”, the oldest whisky to be released from the legendary distiller after 54 long years of maturation, swelled to £363,000 / $468,488. One of only 12 ever released in a hand-blown sculpted bottle depicting the crashing waves of the Atlantic against Islay’s shores, this is arguably the finest bottle of Islay whisky ever produced.
  • Bottles from each of the Bowmore Black releases (First, Second, Final and Bowmore Black 50 Year Old) met with significant demand to sell for a combined total of £119,790 / $154,601.
  • The Bowmore Trilogy series, all of which were distilled in 1964, achieved an overall total of £62,920 / $81,205. 

OUTSTANDING REPRESENTATION OF DALMORE BOTTLINGS

  • Headlined by The Dalmore Eos 59 year old, which achieved £99,220 / $128,053. With a tiny release of just 20 bottles, this single malt was created from casks 1781 and 1782. 

FURTHER NOTABLE RESULTS:

  • Nine casks of single malts were pursued by multiple bidders, selling for a combined total of £399,300 / $515,337. The Highland Park First Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask commanded the highest price, selling for £72,600 / $93,698.
  • An entire vertical of Port Ellen’s Annual Releases (1st to 17th), sold as individual bottles, achieved a combined double-estimate total of £63,404 / $81,829. These bottlings are amongst the most sought after of all Scotland’s closed distilleries, with annual releases a must-own for collectors. In 2017 Diageo announced they would cease further Annual Releases, but that they planned to revive the distillery – which closed in 1983 – back to its former glory, with production due to recommence in the near future.
  • A range of legendary Silvano Samaroli bottlings was led by Bowmore Bouquet Samaroli 18 Year Old, which sold for a record £72,600 / $93,698.

About Sotheby’s Wine

Sotheby’s Wine’s annual worldwide sales reached an important new milestone in 2018, with sales significantly exceeding US$100 million in a single year – for further details, please click here.

Sotheby’s Wine auctions reached $65 million worldwide in the first half of 2019, up 23% over the same period in 2018 and the highest spring season total since Sotheby’s Wine auctions began in 1970.

In Spring 2019, Sotheby’s set a world record for any series of wine sales when a four-day series of auctions in Hong Kong brought a combined total of HK$273.1 million / US$34.8 million. A record for a private wine collection sold at auction was also set when the three-day sale of Tran-scend-ent Wines realised a total of HK$233.6 million / US$29.8 million. 

About Sotheby’s

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s has a global network of 80 offices in 40 countries and presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris.  Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as the collection, artist, estate & foundation advisory services of its subsidiary, Art Agency, Partners. Sotheby’s also presents private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby’s Global Fine Art Division, and three retail businesses: Sotheby’s Wine, Sotheby’s Diamonds, and Sotheby’s Home, the online marketplace for interior design.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Prices achieved include the hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are net of any fees paid to the purchaser where the purchaser provided an irrevocable bid.

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