19th November 2014
The recent Whisky-Online Auctions (W-OA) sale perfectly illustrated the polarisation of the rare whisky market right now. The hugely rare ‘centre-stage’ bottles bore witness to significant demand and in some cases equally significant increases in price.
For others the story is somewhat different…
The recent October Market-Watch highlighted Bruichladdich as experiencing a significant and protracted re-trace in values. That trend looks to be continuing and, if anything, accelerating as we start to see prices cooling rapidly. The show stopper from a % loss perspective was the single cask release ‘Wee Ruari’. At its UK auction premier, just over 12 months ago, this bottle achieved a huge £580; since then it’s seen value erosion like few others. At this months W-OA sale, Wee Ruari hit an all-time low of £165, yielding an exceptional 71.5% loss… in a little over a year.
Other significant falls were seen for Highland Park’s ‘Eunsons Legacy’ (sold for £210, down 50% from its 2010 peak of £420) and virtually everything from Knockando. Knockando have never been the most sought after of collectables, but a gradual appreciation (of values) has seen some of the older vintages become increasingly desirable. With so much supply on the open market, it was only really a matter of time until some of the second and third tier ‘collectables’ were cut loose in favour of others.
Ardbeg’s ‘bling’ press release bottle of Auriverdes sold for £2,590 at its peak in May this year. Six months later and a 59.5% drop left it languishing at £1,050. Loss aside, that’s still not a bad Christmas bonus for a free bottle.
From a positive perspective there were some exceptional results for many high end collectables and bottles from (again) silent stills.
Rare Bowmore values continued their bull-run: The second Black Bowmore release fetched £4,200. In 2008 these were selling for a little over £1,500 but a lack of current stock continues to propel prices higher. The 30 year old ceramic ‘Sea Dragon’ bottle breached the £1,000 mark for the second time ever as the hammer fell on a record £1,050.
In December 2012 Macallan’s 57 year old Lalique Decanter sold for £6,801 (again at W-OA), less than two years later and a record £15,100 was paid for a bottle. An increase in value of 122% gives clear evidence of continued strong demand for Macallan rarities.
Dalmore’s Candela sold for £10,600 showing a 51% increase in value over its June 2013 sale price of £7,000. Many lower value Dalmore bottles have shown diminishing prices recently with older vintages and high-end rarities leading what would otherwise be a stagnant auction performance.
Older Laphroaig bottles firmed up once more as one of the 1980 27 year old ‘Oloroso Cask Matured’ (972 bottles released) broke through £1,000 for the first time (£1,050). £775 was just £5 off the current record for a bottle of the 30 year old Cairdeas and £825 set a new benchmark sale price for the standard 30 year old.
Virtually all the old Cadenheads dumpies have performed exceptionally well over recent years. Older vintages from silent stills remain among the most popular. A bottle of 1959 vintage Glenugie tipped the till at £700 showing huge upside against its 2010 price of £220. A bottle of 1964 vintage St Magdalene fetched £625, significantly outstripping its 2010 price of £380. Dallas Dhu’s 1962 vintage bottle sold for £450, more than doubling its 2009 price of £200.
All told, another well balanced auction from W-OA with plenty of good value drinkers at more than fair prices – but, yet again, the higher end was where the keenly fought action was.
Until next week.
All images courtesy of Whisky-Online Auctions