Sotheby’s unveils highest value whisky collection to come to auction
Sotheby’s NY is to offer the highest value whisky collection in a standalone auction in the US this month, comprising nearly 500 lots – includes The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection – that has a pre-sale estimate of up to $2.1 million.
The Timeless Whisky Collection has been amassed by an anonymous collector from California, and comprises 497 bottles, including 30 bottles exceeding 50 years of age and 53 Magnums. Bidding has already opened, but the sale will take place on 23 September in New York.
The highlight of the sale is the Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection (est. $400,000-580,000), whose whiskies range between fifty and sixty-five years old. The limited edition collection was released over a decade, between 2005 and 2016 and comes with a specially commissioned burr oak display platform and an exclusive experience offered directly from Lalique.
Other whiskies in the sale include Bowmore, Highland Park, Glen Grant, Tamdhu, Glenfarclas, Fettercairn, Glen Mhor, Glenglassaugh, Loch Lomond, Linkwood and The Glenlivet.
Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s head of whisky & spirits, North America and EMEA, said the collection showcased “everything that collectors look for in whisky, from high value, highly aged bottles, to limited outturn and large format independent bottlings”.
“When we first started working on this collection, we were stunned by its scale and value, so we knew we would have to do something special in bringing it to auction,” he said. “This is why we chose to commission the exquisite burr oak display platform for The Macallan Six Pillars Collection and worked directly with Lalique to offer an experience. The appearance of a collection of this magnitude sets yet another benchmark in the whisky auction market.”
Although the collector has chosen to remain anonymous, he said that collecting whisky has been a passion for many years. “Whisky has always been something that has held my attention. I will be sad to part with this collection, but it felt like the time was right for it to find a new home. I have still held back some of my favourite bottles to enjoy over the next few years.”
The sale comes as highly aged whiskies sees a surge at auction, in part because not many barrels in bonded warehouses in Scotland make it to the age of 50 due to the rate of alcohol evaporation, Fowle explained, adding that age in the world of whisky collecting “has become synonymous with rarity”.
“Behind age statement is the vintage of a whisky, and, unlike rare wines, vintage is not always declared in whisky as it would require every element of the whisky that goes into the bottle to be from the same year of distillation,” he said. “The Scotch Whisky industry’s tendency to vat whiskies from different barrels together to achieve their final assemblage means that often whiskies are built using casks from multiple vintages. This collection showcases a huge number of whiskies that proudly bear a single vintage statement.”