Tag Archives: Talisker

Weekly Auction Watch – 2nd Nov 2015

October departed quicker than a bottle of Loch Dhu down a drain. An immensely busy month for RW101 saw our weekly updates turn monthly. There are huge levels of activity in many areas of the market right now, which in itself is exceptionally exciting… Volatility and extended losses for some and immense upwards pressure on values for others.

November’s first dedicated whisky sale saw a bumper 2,800 lots go under the e-hammer at Scotch Whisky Auctions. In last months SWA sale, fifteen out of the top twenty most expensive bottles were from Karuizawa; Scotch took just five. This month, Scotland gained a little ground holding onto seven out of the top twenty. That said, the price difference between the most expensive bottle of Karuizawa and the most expensive bottle of Scotch was vast: £9,000 took the first bottle (of just 50 released) on the open market from Karuizawa’s cask number 3557. Laphroaig’s 1960 vintage 40 year old was capable of just £4,000 – Incidentally, that’s the first time this bottle’s hit £4,000, having a previous record of £3,800.

Over £16,000 right here... Just these three!
Over £16,000 right here… Just these three!

The second most expensive bottle of Scotch was also a record breaker. One of the ultra-rare 1973 28 year old Talisker’s shot to a record £3,200, comfortably exceeding its previous best of £2,500.

Ardbeg demonstrated the ongoing trend of market polarisation as a bottle of the highly desirable Lord of the Isles took an all-time second best price of £820. Languishing at the other end of the spectrum, the Kildalton Project bottle struggled to fetch its original retail price of £120… After fees and taxes the result is clearly a steep net loss.

Clynelish 12
Just £120 in 2009

Featured in our previous auction update, “buyer beware at these heady prices” was our closing remark about Bowmore’s Mizunara cask finish when the first bottle to hit the market achieved £1,200. One short month later and we’re looking at a 25% auction-to-auction loss following a £900 sale. Still more than its original retail price but classic new-release-curve at play.

Further highlighting bottles released years/decades ago containing legacy-liquid are still hugely sought after, a bottle of early 1980’s bottled Clynelish 12 year old sold for a record £560. Way back in 2009, a paltry £120 would have secured one of these.

From a collector/investor perspective, Dalmore values continue to harden. As much as Dalmore has become famous (infamous) for their recent seemingly excessive pricing, their long extinct bottles and older vintages keep stepping up in value. A bottle of exceptionally rare 12-year-old from the 1970’s at 75 degrees proof achieved £640, way ahead of its £260 Low in 2010. Along with that, a wonderful old bottle of 20-year-old hit £740 – not an outright record (£785) but way ahead of the £450 paid in 2010.

Long extinct releases and older vintages underpin Dalmore as a collectable
Long extinct releases and older vintages underpin Dalmore as a collectable

While we didn’t run the numbers, anecdotally, there appeared to be a continuation in the trend for declining stock from silent distilleries. There just isn’t much floating around the auction-ether anymore.

Be it the above mentioned stress on supply or a renewed level of demand, following an extended period of volatility, Brora OB values seem to be settling towards the higher end of their trading range. No outright records were set but there was evident pressure on the prices paid.

Mirroring the above apparent stress in supply, one of just two bottles from silent lowlander, St Magdalene, (a 1965/1993 Connoisseurs Choice) fetched an almost inevitable new record £320. The other, a bottle of the 19-year-old Rare Malts Selection, fetched £520. Not a record but towards the top end of its trading range, especially noting the borderline fill level. In 2008 you’d have picked this bottle up for £100.

St Mag - Just two bottles out of over 2,800 at this auction
St Mag represented by Just two bottles at this auction

All-told, a buoyant start to what it traditionally the highest volume month of the year. Whether that trend continues is anybody’s guess…

Until next time.



All images courtesy of Scotch Whisky Auctions

Weekly Auction Watch – 9th August 2015

“Where do I start?… How do I begin to build a whisky collection with one eye on it being an investment?” This is the single most frequent question we get asked. One day, maybe we’ll get the time to publish something a little more comprehensive for those new to the wonderful, delicious, often daunting world of the whisky collector.

Until then, taking a detailed look at one of the most buoyant auctions we’ve seen this year gives some clear direction of where target acquisitions should be focussed in the current market. Scotch Whisky Auctions September sale showed values for the right bottles are climbing… in some cases, rather rapidly.

So what are the themes and trends?


Forget ‘flavour led propositions’, ‘blank canvass allowing creativity’ and the rest of the NAS sales/marketing messages around old being UN-important. At the non-collectable end of the market, we get all that, the industry needs to continue and it can’t throw big ages around willy-nilly anymore. Elsewhere, age matters and it matters more than ever; so does vintage (date distilled) with older being better… From a collector/investor perspective these two dynamics are crucial. Some NAS bottles have been proved popular, and profitable, for collectors but their numbers are small.

Taking a look at some of the bottles from last weeks SWA, specifically from Gordon & MacPhail, and the results are impressive.

1950's vintages see increased pressure from buyers
1950’s vintages see increased pressure from buyers

Bottles distilled in 1954, 1955 and 1956 flew to new heights with a 1954/2003 Strathisla achieving £640 (£220 in 2010), the 1955/2005 Secret Stills Talisker topped £1,000 for the first time at £1,150 (again, just £220 in 2010) and the 1956/2006 Glen Grant nailed £600 up from an all-time low of £190 in 2013. At these prices for bottles at c48-50 years old, we still see legs in buying.

Older indie Springbanks also had a good auction with two notable bottles – The 1965 34 year old by Murray McDavid sold for £1,250, making its 2011 price of £300 look tiny. A Signatory bottled 1969, again 34 years old, made £620… With a 2011 price of £120, that’s some up-shift.

1960's vintage indie bottles of Springbank make impressive gains
1960’s vintage indie bottles of Springbank make impressive gains

For balance and showing every coin has a flip side, the big-fail with a big-age was the Glenfarclas 60-year-old which didn’t hit reserve. Expectations can sometimes become a little too stretching…


Not necessarily with vast old ages, or vintages stretching back to the 1950’s, iconic limited releases from the most iconic of distilleries offer serious targets for collectors and drinkers with deep pockets. Current less valuable releases from Ardbeg, while almost traded to death, show nothing like the gains of older discontinued bottles –

A bottle of single cask Ardbeg Feis 2010, 1995 vintage (cask 2761) sold for £490 up from its previous £430 sale. Moving the vintage further back, a bottle of 1976 Ardbeg (cask 2392) achieved £1,750 up from £1,400 in May. The now almost legendary Ardbeg 1974 Provenance (4th release) hit £1,650 up from £1,300. Showing the increasing importance and value placed on indie bottles, a Douglas Laing bottled 1973 29-year-old Ardbeg fetched a massive £1,700 up from £540 in April 2014.

Ardbeg single casks. Becoming very hard to find in a world of volume NAS releases
Ardbeg single casks/icons. Becoming very hard to find in a world of volume NAS releases


Following August’s 2.17% increase in the Port Ellen Index, the OB’s appear to be on the move again in September. The third release was the only OB to fetch a new record price when it burst through the £1,000 barrier and settled on £1,100. The rest of the pack performed towards the top end of their trading range further recouping losses after tumbling from 2014 highs.

Combining a massive age statement and a silent still was more than enough to propel the Glenury Royal 50-year-old through a previous best of £3,000 to settle on £3,300. £820 took this bottle at its lowest in 2012.

50 yeas old AND from a silent distillery... it's not going to do badly then!
50 yeas old AND from a silent distillery… it’s not going to do badly then!

Staying silent but changing continents, Karuizawa does look to be softening as previously reported, particularly for more frequently traded bottles. A bottle  of the 1983 30-year-old (cask 8606) sold for £1,750 down from £2,400, a Geisha label 1983 vintage (cask 2656) managed £2,400, easing down from £2,800 and a bottle of cask strength 3rd release came down from £450 to £410… Let’s be fair though, taken in perspective, it’s still no disaster!

Aside from the above softening, prices still remain generally high for Karuizawa. Certain rarer bottles did experience gains with some of the infrequently seen NOH and Samurai bottles leading any significant increases.

The whole secondary market remains exceptionally active. 2014 saw the last three months of the year flatten out. September doesn’t look like the beginning of an early year-end re-trace for 2015, far from it, values appear to be firming up. But as Q4 approaches should we be bracing for a dip?

All images courtesy of Scotch Whisky Auctions

Weekly Whisky Auction Watch – 17th Feb 2015

Weekly Whisky Auction Watch


At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the recent Whisky-Online Auctions sale demonstrated extreme polarisation in Macallan values. On the rise, we saw a bottle of the Cask 888 decanter hit a record £4,500 and the Robert Burns decanter achieve £2,350. Highly desirable limited editions still look impressive from a performance perspective. Both the ‘M’ Decanter and the recent Reflexions decanter fell to their lowest recorded prices of £2,500 and £725 respectively.

High performing Macallan decanters. 888 hit £4,500 and the Burns decanter achieved £2,350
High performing Macallan decanters. 888 hit £4,500 and the Burns decanter achieved £2,350

Showing age absolutely matters from a collectors perspective, both the 30 and 40 year old Laphroaig’s sold for record prices. The 30 year old sold for £1,150 and the 40 year old (non-vintage variant) hit £3,100. As recently as 2012 the 40 year old was still selling for £1,500 and the 30 year old was snapped up for just £320; impressive gains for both these old aged bottles.

Top performing trio of Laphroaig.
Top performing trio of Laphroaig.

Showing rarity also yields interesting results as well as age, a bottle of 13 year old Laphroaig, Feis Ile 2005, sold for £525 having a previous all-time high of £410 in 2013.

Auchentoshan are rarely mentioned in these pages so it was pleasing to see a bottle from cask number 793, a 1973 vintage 29 year old, peak at £380. In 2008 these bottles were selling for as little as £85. Morrison Bowmore stablemate, Glen Garioch, had an exceptional result when a bottle of 1968 vintage 34 year old from cask number 17 sold for £1,000. At its previous auction outing in 2013 it achieved £500.

Auchen-Garioch brothers. Morrison Bowmore distilleries continue to show upside.
Auchen-Garioch brothers. Morrison Bowmore distilleries continue to show upside.

Another infrequently mentioned distillery, Dalwhinnie, saw a bottle of Cadenheads (dumpy green bottle) 1966 vintage 18 year old achieve £320. In 2009 prices were pegged down at £160 for this rarity.

Signatory bottled Brora 22 year old.
Signatory bottled Brora 22 year old.
SMWS Brora.
SMWS Brora.

Brora had another good auction with two independently bottled variants achieving new records. A bottle of SMWS (61.12) 1977 25 year old sold for £440, way exceeding its £280 high in 2013. With a previous best of £165, again in 2013, a bottle of Signatory 1981 vintage 22 year old advanced to sell at £310.

Managers Drams have had a somewhat lumpy ride over recent years. Current movement suggests they may be due a more holistic ‘collection-wide’ increase in value; however, Talisker’s Managers Dram seems to have stepped back significantly. Two bottles sold for £270 and £260. £260 is the joint lowest price paid at auction in the UK with the highest being £550 in late 2013. Conversely, a bottle of Talisker 8 year old bottled in the 1970’s sold for £525 setting a new record for this variant. The 1970’s bottle has yielded a 64% increase over its 2012 price of £320 whereas the Managers Dram has lost 53% of its value in less than two years.

1970's Talisker 8 year old up 64%. Talisker Managers Dram down 53%.
1970’s Talisker 8 year old up 64%. Talisker Managers Dram down 53%.

With just nine bottles of Highland Park at this auction it was encouraging to see two of them achieve new high-points. The 1973 Dragon sold for £650, some 51% ahead of its previous price of £430 in 2014. A bottle of 1986 vintage from cask number 2794 hit £320 which was 19% better than its 2014 price of £270… In June 2012 just £110 would have bought a bottle.

In terms of general values, February looks to have got off to something of an exceptional start with many bottles in the Rare Whisky Icon 100 Index (RWIcon100) moving north. Running the numbers for the RWIcon100 index at the February mid-month point shows a 6.08% increase over January. February has a way to go yet before the final numbers are published so anything could happen. It’s still the older rarer bottles from iconic distilleries or silent stills which are showing the growth. Other areas of the market are almost withering on the vine giving great opportunities to snap up quality drinkers at minimal cost.

If the aforementioned increases can be sustained throughout 2015 we could be looking at a particularly good year for whisky as an investment.

Until next time.



Images courtesy of Whisky-Online Auctions