Weekly Auction Watch – 10th Feb 2015

Weekly Whisky Auction Watch

10th Feb 2015

One of the more recently established whisky auction houses has been generating a high level of interest bringing some exciting bottles to the open market. Perth based Whiskyauctioneer has been trading for just over 12 months and appears to be a firm fixture in the monthly auction calendar. Their recent sale included a number of exceptional high end bottles with a balance of attractive prices for both buyers and sellers.

The star of the show was a bottle of the more recently released Black Bowmore along with siblings White and Gold Bowmore. Previous prices for the trilogy have been static at £12,500 for some time. £16,000 took the prize on this occasion showing demand is still high for these top end rarities. This also follows Bowmore’s general increasing trend for older bottles.

Top end Bowmores showcase high demand for old rarities
Top end Bowmore showcases high demand for old rarities

Staying with the aforementioned Bowmore, a bottle of 1968 vintage, 37 year old, sold for £1,455. As recently as December 2013 a bottle slipped through the net, achieving just £450. The previous record was £1,060 in December 2014.

Balvenie had another good auction with constantly increasing demand pushing values higher. A bottle of Sherry Oak 17 year old sold for a record £200, way past its lowest sale vale of £62 in 2012. ‘The Cooper’ performed well again; a bottle lacking the paper surround for the card tube sold for £440.

25.6% loss for the 2014 Brora Special Release
25.6% loss for the 2014 Brora Special Release

Diageo’s 2014 Brora Special release had its first UK auction outing and sold for £950. Not disastrous by any stretch, however, this shows the market value perception for the Special Releases has changed dramatically over recent years. Take off 5% sellers premium plus VAT and that leaves net proceeds of £893, a 25.6% loss over the £1,200 RRP. The question is, will the market catch up in future years or have the Special Releases had their day (from a collectors/investors perspective)? To some degree I do suspect the market will catch up, however, when you take account for sellers premium etc it could be a good three years plus to see any sort of break-even at current retail prices (I’m purely talking Brora here, not the rest of the pack, many of which are solid drinkers and nothing more).

Bruichladdich looked a little more buoyant than of late, especially at the top end (relatively standard limited releases continued to languish). The 40 year old sold for a record £1,400, edging past its previous best of £1,250… In 2009 a bottle sold for £360. This bottle also becomes the single most expensive Bruichladdich ever sold at auction in the UK.

Bruichladdich's most expensive bottle at auction in the UK
Bruichladdich’s most expensive bottle at auction in the UK

Matching Bruichladdich in age, a bottle of 1966 distilled 40 year old Dalmore sold for £1,800. Not an outright record but a record for a bottle which is unsigned by Richard Paterson. At the other end of the trading range, the Dalmore 25 year old was back down to £400, a significant loss against its £600 retail price.

Broad based Macallan values shifted very slightly north which was pleasing to see. The 15 year old Easter Elchies Seasonal Selection hit a new high of £375 and the 1841 Replica achieved £260, its best price yet. In common with other recent auctions, contemporary high value Macallan NAS bottles failed to sell. Two ‘M’ Decanters and one of the two ‘Reflexion’ bottles remained unsold. Does high value NAS actually mean Not Actually Sold (at auction anyway)?!

New record prices for Macallan bottles
New record prices for Macallan bottles

Port Ellen values look stable at current levels with the 4th release achieving a new record £1,650.

Pre Flora & Fauna Aberfeldy yields 53.6% loss
Pre Flora & Fauna Aberfeldy yields 53.6% loss

At the other end of the scale, the old ‘pre-Flora & Fauna’ bottle of Aberfeldy 15 year old sold for £130, its lowest recorded sale yet. With a high-point of £280 in 2012, recent times have seen a gradual slip in value yielding a 53.6% loss from peak to current trough.

The final interesting observation from this particular auction was the general lack of bottles from silent stills. There were the usual Port Ellen culprits and, a couple of Brora’s and a light dusting of Rosebanks but other than that, consignments from closed distilleries were pretty thin on the ground. A sign of things to come? Get them while you can…?

Until next time.

Slainte,

Andy

Photos courtesy of Whiskyauctioneer.com

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