In Brief

Rare whisky is flavour of the month for investors

Collectible bottles going under the hammer at Sotheby’s

Whisky lovers are being offered the chance to splash out on some of the world’s rarest bottles of their preferred tipple in Sotheby’s largest online spirits auction yet.

Running from 2pm today until 1 September, the Sotheby’s event comprises 267 lots with a combined pre-sale estimate in excess of £850,000. 

From The Macallan’s most sought-after releases to an array of rare Italian import Scotch, including a 1970 Samaroli Laphroaig, the auction features some of the rarest whiskies ever to go under the hammer.

Sotheby’s spirits specialist Jonny Fowle said: “The quality and variety of bottles offered in this sale are a testament both to the strength of the current whisky market and of our success in developing our online auction format throughout 2020.”

Here we look at the whiskies tipped to get the most interest from online bidders.

The Macallan Fine & Rare Collection
The Macallan Fine and Rare Collection

The sale includes 94 Macallan lots led by The Macallan Fine and Rare Collection, which features the most iconic whiskies from the Moray-based distillery. The vintages span from 1940 to 1976, with price estimates from £10,000 to £48,000 per bottle.

The Macallan Fine and Rare 56 Year Old 51.5% 1945
The Macallan Fine and Rare 56-Year-Old 51.5% 1945

The second-oldest age statement in the Fine and Rare Collection, after the 60-year-old 1926, only 152 bottles of the 1945 whisky are known to exist. Estimated price is between £35,000 and £48,000.

Prima & Ultima Collection
Prima and Ultima Collection

The sale of Set #1 of the first release of The Prima and Ultima Collection is a landmark moment in in the world of collectable whisky. With an estimated price tag of £16,000 to £28,000, the collection includes bottles from Port Ellen, Cragganmore, Mortlach, Singleton of Dufftown, Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Talisker and Clynelish, and each rare single malt Scotch whisky in the range is “the first and the last” of its kind.

1970 Samaroli Laphroaig
1970 Samaroli Laphroaig

Three bottles of Laphroaig Samaroli 16-Year-Old 1970 will be sold separately, with an estimate of between £9,000 and £13,000. This whisky received a score of 95 points from whisky expert Serge Valentin, one of the highest ratings he has ever given.

Emmanuel Dron, Sotheby’s whisky consultant and owner of The Auld Alliance whisky bar, said: “Silvano Samaroli’s bottles are among the most legendary ever produced and this 1970 Laphroaig is undoubtedly my number-one whisky of all time. It is so rare to see three bottles of this whisky in a single auction.”

Karuizawa Sapphire Geisha 36 Year Old Cask
Japanese whiskies

The sale will also feature a selection of rare Japanese whiskies, including 28 Karuizawa lots with a combined pre-sale estimate of £79,300 to £104,100. The rare bottles are hitting the market less than six months after Sotheby’s set the record for the most valuable Japanese whisky ever sold, with a Karuizawa 1960 achieving £363,000 in London.

Highlights of this week’s auction include a Karuizawa Sapphire Geisha 36-Year-Old Cask (estimated price of £11,000 to £15,000) and The Yamazaki LMDW Private Cask (estimated price of £7,000 to £9,000).

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