Early November and you can tell it’s the lead up to Christmas. Scotch Whisky Auctions, Whisky Auctioneer, Whisky-Online Auctions and McTears all had significant whisky auctions last week. That’s over 5,000 lots of your finest Whisky to choose from.
With their biggest selection yet, Scotch Whisky Auctions led the weeks bidding with their vast sale finishing on the second of November. Has this huge glut of supply taken its toll on values or is demand keeping up?
Values for some bottles from certain distilleries were lower than they have been over the past six months. While there were exceptions as we’ll see, an umbrella of price stability overlaid the auction.
Ardbeg values didn’t advance much; however, they maintained their recent gains exceptionally well. Current trends continue with recent voluminous limited releases sitting at, or close to, retail prices. Ardbog in Particular is still trading at £80, while rarer single cask releases moved up.
Silent stills hit the home run again and outperformed the general market. Unrelenting pressure on increasingly sought after bottles saw some impressive results from many closed distilleries. Bottles from Banff are now experiencing serious upwards pressure. That was seen when a bottle of Duncan Taylor’s 1975 vintage sold for £310; its previous best was £180 in 2012. Port Ellen’s twelfth release achieved £1,200 and £1,300. With an original retail price of £600, a 100% gain in two years is admirable. Another Duncan Taylor bottling of 1969 vintage Kinclaith sold for £920, more than doubling its previous £450 sale in 2012. North Port (Brechin) bottles were in high demand with a Connoisseurs Choice 1968 hitting £270 (£95 low-point in 2008) and Duncan Taylors 1981 23 year old achieving £280.
Dalmore had an interesting auction with a bottle of the (relatively) recently released 25 year old making an appearance. Carrying a retail price of £600, it was no surprise to see the market reacting as it did with a final winning bid of just 68% of the RRP, or £410. With these bottles still being widely available on a retail basis the result is wholly understandable. Conversely, Dalmore’s vintage releases performed towards the top end of the market.
Karuizawa continued to show exceptional results. There were, however, some signs certain bottles may have been previously over-priced. A bottle from cask 6177, a 1970 vintage, achieved £1,750, some £550 down from its previous sale in September. Putting aside the small number of bottles which declined, the general trend is still very much up.
Broadly speaking Balvenie’s performance was impressive with some standouts. Balvenie Rose second release spiked at £1,250. Recent values have been around £400 so I’m expecting prices to soften if we see more on the market. In the absence of a bottle of Tun 1401 batch #1 the action moved to batch #3. Heated bidding took the hammer to £880 and a significant new record.
Despite continued buoyancy in certain areas of the market others did not fare quite so well.
Before a fall? Glenmorangie’s first release of Pride achieved its lowest auction sale to date at £1,500. With an original retail price of £2,500 that’s a significant and widening loss. Twelve months ago Pride was selling for £1,800 at auction so a protracted decline is being seen. Diageo’s oldest Lagavulin, the 2013 special release 37 year old, sold for £1,600; again, well down on its retail price. Conversely the 2006 30 year old Lagavulin hit a new record of £1,550.
Glenlivet’s current poor form continued with a bottle of the 40 year old Atlantic falling below £900 for the first time. £860 took the bottle on this occasion slicing over 50% off its previous £1,750 best. Prices in general for Glenlivet single cask bottles were lower than of late.
The 2011 release of Loch Lomond 1966 stepped back from £425 in February to a more realistic £135. This is one for the collectors rather than the drinkers; a bottle I’d much rather keep on the shelf than open! it’s nowhere near Loch Dhu levels of badness but equally it’s not worth paying a premium to drink…. In my opinion of course.
To summarise, a mixed set of results with silent stills and real collectors items continuing to lead the way.
Until next week.
Images courtesy of Scotch Whisky Auctions.