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Sotheby’s Hong Kong spring sale ends on a high note

Auction house Sotheby’s concluded its three-day wines and spirit sales series in Hong Kong on 17 April with total sales reaching HK$119.5M.

With almost 100% of the 1153 lots on offer sold, highlights of the sale event include The Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet, sold for HK$4,375,000 to an Asian Private Collector, in the inaugural spirits live sale in Asia.

The record is a new landmark price for Bowmore at auction. The complete Black Bowmore single malt whisky collection, containing each of the five fabled Black Bowmore releases, was offer direct from the Bowmore distillery, housed in a bespoke cabinet created by renowned craftsman John Galvin. All proceeds raised from its sale will go directly to the Islay Development Initiative (IDI).

In the same sale, a bottle of The Macallan The Red Collection 50 Year Old, released as part of the 6-bottle Red Collection in 2020, was sold for HK$687,500. Rare Japanese whiskies from Karuizawa and Hanyu distilleries, highlighted by Karuizawa MMA Gold Winners 10 Bottle Set which made an above estimate HK$937,500.

Opening the series of sale events was the Wines from the Cellar of Joseph Lau Part II. All 147 lots (533 bottles in total) of the finest Burgundy and Bordeaux were 100% sold – mirroring the ‘white-glove’ success of Sotheby’s sale of Part I last year – with a total of HK$52.6 million.

Topping the sale were 9 bottles of Romanée Conti 1990 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti sold for HK$3,500,000. A 6-bottle offering of Vosne-Romanée Cros Parantoux 1985 Henri Jayer more than doubled its estimate to bring HK$2,000,000.

The Finest & Rarest Wines sale brought a combined total of HK$54.2 million. Reigning supreme were 12 bottles of Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Assortment 1978 in original wooden case sold for HK$875,000.

Large formats were another highlight of the sale, commanding top prices, such as a methuselah (6 litres) of La Tâche 1985 Domaine de la Romanée-Conti sold for HK$812,500. A collection of Henri Jayer from the 1970s to 1990s was also on offer, led by 12 bottles of Echézeaux 1989 Henri Jayer for Georges Jayer, achieving HK$562,500.

Adam Bilbey, head of Sotheby’s Wine & Spirits, Asia and Europe, said, “phenomenal results across the board this season not only further cements our market leadership in Asia, but is also a clear affirmation of the loyalty of our clients across the region and the world. No doubt the star of the show was the Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet, a truly exceptional one-of-a-kind work marrying whisky and design which stopped visitors in their tracks during our sales preview.

“From wine to spirits, we are seeing an increasing number of passionate younger collectors with sophisticated tastes entering the fray, willing to go up against more established collectors in their pursuit of the very best the market has to offer. We look forward to an exciting single-owner sale in May with details to be announced soon.”

Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist, added, “The exceptional result for The Black Bowmore Archive Cabinet is a fitting testament not only to the concept and attention to detail of what is an extraordinary work of art, but also to the esteem with which collectors revere Black Bowmore.

“Steeped in history, these five whiskies transcend the concept of collectible whisky, their richly nuanced character and undeniable quality having attained legendary status over the years since their first release. I have been lucky enough to try several of these whiskies and their reputation as icons of the spirits world is truly deserved.

“The winning bidder can now lay claim to owning the ultimate celebration of Black Bowmore – and the Bowmore Distillery – in the knowledge that its sale has raised funds for the community on Islay.”

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