Top whiskies headline Sotheby’s March sale

Top Scotch and Japanese whiskies from Macallan and Karuizawa and rare wines including 1947 Cheval Blanc will headline Sotheby’s next sale on 18 March.

The sale includes a strong consignment of top whiskies including the oldest Macallan and Karuizawa malts ever bottled as well as extremely old and famed vintages of fine wines from the collections of antiquities collector George Ortiz and Earl Spencer.

In total there are 87 spirits lots worth an estimated £842,420 to £1.6 million. Among the top lots on offer will be a bottle of Karuizawa 52 Year-Old Cask #5627 Zodiac Rate 1960 (£160,000-£220,000) and a bottle of the 51 Year-Old Old Cask #1917 1964 (£50,000-£90,000).

Among the Scotches on offer, the 21 lots of Macallan alone are expected to realise £522,000 with the leading lot being The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection (£320,000-£480,000).

A ‘trunk’ holding 50 vintages of Glenfarclas from 1954-2003 will also be offered at £55,000-£70,000 – the first time the case has been offered at auction.

Johnny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, said: “We are delighted to present such a strong selection of bottles consigned directly from producers as well as from private collections to begin our 2020 sales in London. Among the most exciting bottles in this sale are the Gordon & MacPhail Private Decanters, all of which are numbered 1 of their respective outturn.

“This is the first time that any number 1 decanter from G&M has been offered for sale rather than kept within the Urquhart Family archives. Offering these alongside such iconic bottles as Karuizawa 52 Year old from Cask #5627 and so many Macallan in Lalique decanters showcases the strength of current demand for the very best in the world of whisky.”

There are three fine wine consignments at the auction, comprising 752 lots with a pre-sale estimate of £1.8m to £2.3m.

One of the main consignments comes from the cellar of the late George Ortiz, a prominent collector of antiquities who died in 2013.

Among the highlights of his collection going under the hammer are 11 bottles of 1947 Cheval Blanc (£140,000-£190,000), as well as bottles of 1947 Latour and Margaux and 1921 Yquem.

From the private collection of Earl Spencer are 12 bottles of 1989 Haut-Brion (£12,000-£16,000), six bottles of 1931 Quinta do Noval Nacional (£6,000-£10,000) and three bottles of 1955 Taylor’s (£600-£800).

Finally, there is a consignment of “exceptional French classics” spanning top claret from the 1950s to early 2000s with cases of 1982 Lafite, Latour, Margaux, Haut-Brion, Mouton Rothschild, Lafleur and Petrus, double magnums of 1955 Latour and 1959 Lafite and various bottles of 1989 La Conseillante and Vieux Château Certan.

Serena Sutcliffe, MW, honorary chairman of Sotheby’s Wine, commented: “It always gives us special pleasure when we are asked to evaluate a family collection of wine and then entrusted with bringing a part of it to auction.

“This is a collection that combines truly gasp-making, historic wines with other bottles (or cases) that we can all enjoy on a regular basis. The choice veers between First Growth 1947s to Super Seconds from the Nineties and the best of Médocain properties from this century at very accessible prices, with really exciting stops along the way, such as full cases of Margaux 1982.”

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