World’s ‘most valuable’ whisky collection to be auctioned

A collection of rare malts that has been dubbed the “the most valuable collection of whisky ever to be offered at auction” will be up for sale in London later this month.

The collection of 467 bottles and nine whole casks is valued at £4 million and will be offered by Sotheby’s in an online auction which will run from 27 September and culminate with a live auction at London Olympia alongside the auctioneer’s annual car auction on 24 October.

Although Sotheby’s, like many other auction houses, have increasingly been adding rare spirits to their previously wine-dominated sales, this is the first time the auctioneer has offered a dedicated single owner collection of spirits.

Scotch whisky of all stripes are included in the collection but the original purchaser is a particular fan of Bowmore, Highland Park and The Macallan.

The consignment of Macallan alone spans 178 bottles from 1926-1991, has a pre-sale estimate of £2.2m and is, said Sotheby’s, “the most comprehensive collection of the Macallan Fine and Rare series ever offered at auction”.

Chief among the bottles being offered is a 60 year-old 1926 from cask #263, the same cask which yielded the 24 bottles labelled by Valerio Adami and Peter Blake and one hand-painted by Michael Dillon which sold for £1m at Christie’s last year.

The remaining 14 bottles from the cask were labelled as part of the Fine and Rare series. It is the first time a bottle of the 1926 from the series has been seen at auction in over a decade and it has a pre-sale estimate of £350,000 – £450,000.

Other highlights from the sale include:

  • Two complete Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collections presented in bespoke, hand-made cabinets commissioned by Sotheby’s and designed by British craftsman James Laycock.
  • A rare collection of Macallan Fine and Rare Miniature bottles in an exclusively commissioned lockable wall-mounted cabinet, also designed by James Laycock.
  • Glenfiddich and Balvenie’s oldest bottlings, including Balvenie 50 year old 1937, Glenfiddich 50 year old (1st and 2nd releases), and Glenfiddich 64 year old 1937.
  • Legendary releases from Gordon & Macphail under the G&M label, including the Mortlach and Glenlivet 70 year old Generations series, The Macallan Queen’s Mother’s 80th Birthday, and a range of Glen Grant, Linkwood and Macallan Speymalt vintages.
  • Silvano Samaroli’s iconic releases, including Bowmore 18 year Bouquet, Laphroaig 15 year old Sherry Cask 1967, Laphroaig 1970, Springbank 12 year old and Ardbeg Sherry Wood 1974.
  • Bowmore Black releases (First, Second, Final and Bowmore Black 50 year old Last Cask); Bowmore Black, Bowmore White and Bowmore Gold from the Bowmore Trilogy series; the 1957 54 year old “Crashing Waves”.
  • An entire vertical of Port Ellen’s Annual Releases (1st -17th) to be sold as individual bottles, the Limited Edition 40 year old Bunnahabhain, and the 40 year old Ardbeg 1965.
  • An outstanding representation of Dalmore bottlings headlined by the 59 year old Dalmore Eos 1951 and three further 50 year old expressions.
  • Highland Park’s 50 year old designed by Edinburgh-born jeweler, Maeve Gillies, alongside other notable Highland Park lots such as the Orcadian Vintage Series releases from 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971 and 1976.
  • A selection of some of the finest casks available for sale, including such peated rarities as both Bowmore and Laphroaig casks from 1995, and Bruichladdich’s Octomore, distilled in 2012; barrels and Hogsheads from legendary distilleries such as Dalmore, Bunnahabhain and Clynelish; the Highland Park First Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask and Springbank First Fill Oloroso Sherry Cask.

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